Some tech companies are known for their openness or work-life balance or design-oriented products. At Avalara, the culture is defined by the color orange. Orange?
Yep, the Bainbridge Island company, which is in the rather mundane, but fast-growing business of making sales tax automation software, embraces the color orange like no other.
Fast Company has a great profile on the company’s love of the color, with CEO Scott McFarlane (a 2011 GeekWire Newsmaker of the Year) saying that as much as they tried, they just couldn’t avoid orange.
“It just became our persona. This is a crappy thing to do to comply with sales tax, and you should be somewhere else. We took people to a different place,” says McFarlane, who tries to wear at least one piece of orange clothing every day.
And it’s not just McFarlane. Men and women alike embrace the color. Company spokeswoman Sheri Pollock said she just bought a pair of orange sneakers last week, and couldn’t wait to bust them out in the office on Monday.
“I’d say virtually everyone incorporates orange into their outfits at some point during the week – men and women,” said Pollock, who regularly wears orange-accented jewelry, scarves, blouses and sweaters.
The company’s softball team? Yep, their uniforms are orange too. (The company also recently created digital baseball cards for players, including one for Brandon “Grand Slam Tax Plan Man” Houk).
Located on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry hop from downtown Seattle, Avalara has grown to nearly 500 employees. In addition to orange, it also embraces the “island life” — rolling out Tiki huts and margaritas at conferences and company parties. Last week, Avalara held a BBQ with Hulu hoops, limbo and something called a Robo surf machine. A poster promoting the party dubbed it “The Endless Summer.”
Even with the bright colors and Tiki huts, Avalara isn’t all fun and games. The company, which raised $20 million last summer from Battery Ventures and others, has made two key acquisitions this year, helping to propel its business forward.
No word yet on whether terms of the deals required newly-acquired staffers to wear the corporate color at all office functions.