Describe the work environment or culture in which you are most productive and happy

I thrive working with a team of creative, ambitious people who are happy to give feedback (good and bad) and collaborate to make the visuals of the business as powerful as they can be. A sense of humor is always awesome to have, as well as a generally friendly atmosphere where everybody can feel comfortable growing and pushing boundaries.

 

The biggest trait I value is the ability to communicate well. Articulating what any new design project is for, what tone it takes, when it's due, all of that detailed information is crucial to complete projects efficiently and on time. Likewise, I appreciate teammates who can discuss any changes they'd like to see. "I don't like the typeface" is a lot less helpful than "It looks too formal, maybe change the typeface to make it a little more casual."

 

What are two positive aspects of your current job or a previous position you have held?

Love this question! My current job has me switching hats very often, usually working on a large number of different projects at once. I'm an ADHD person, so it's great to have a job where both my hyperfocus and boredom are used to my advantage. I'll rock a project and really get into the zone, and when I'm interrupted and go to a new one, I'm quick to achieve that flow state again. Likewise, if I'm feeling creatively burnt out (my creative version of "bored" I suppose) on one project, it's a huge relief to be able to switch to something else, even if just for a few minutes. My brain just enjoys flexibility and fluidity in process.

 

I also really enjoy the casual atmosphere of my current position. No business casual clothing (I respect the game of business casual but my heart will always belong to joggers and jeggings) and lots of freedom to just be ourselves. No needing to put on airs or cutthroat office politics. Just a lovely, stable daily life where everybody feels at ease while still on the clock. Granted, everybody has their bad days, and sometimes tempers flare. But there's not a huge corporate presence that gives us a formal "you must conform to this way of speaking and dressing." It's just nice.

 

What expectations do you have of senior leaders in an ideal workplace?

Circling back to the above question about what I enjoy about my current workplace, the extremely laid back atmosphere is a byproduct of business leaders simply being afraid to set up boundaries or enforce any rules. This is nice for day to day activities, but it leaves workers vulnerable to frustration and lack of direction. Passivity in business can be frustrating to see, as I'm an extremely growth oriented personality, and I thrive in conditions where I feel that I'm making meaningful contributions to grow and sustain a business. I look for ambition, empathy, and impeccable communication skills, and approachability in upper management. People that are obviously in power, but don't abuse it and don't run from it. People that can give direction! 

 

What does your ideal work day look like?

I like having a task list at hand. Right now, Microsoft Planner/Tasks is my favorite tool, although I also use bullet journaling when I'm not at my computer. Starting the day with a list of tasks and their respective deadlines feels great. I can then loosely plot out my day, what I expect to achieve by the end of the day, and get to work. Usually, a check-in with any project managers (even if it's just a quick "What's up, it's Monday!" message) is good practice so I know the rest of the team is active in case I need any feedback or run into any issues. When I was working remotely during the Summer (due to COVID-19), I loved eating lunch at my desk while working so I could use my "official" lunch time to go out and run with my dogs. It's tough to say what an ideal day would look like from there. I really enjoy both starting new projects and finishing old projects. Either way, my favorite days are the ones where I can get in a good chat with my boss or my coworker to generate new ideas and improve on old concepts. It's a massive bonus to my ego when I'm told I've done a good job with something. That's always a great way to end the day.

 

Why do you want to join the iFit team?

It's so important to work somewhere where you feel your contributions are going to help a company grow, rather than merely staying afloat. iFit is a large network of people dedicated to creating and maintaining a business that is only going to expand with the stationary lifestyle of the present. I'm also very passionate about utilizing technology in novel, life changing ways that will benefit everybody from students to retirees. Physical fitness is difficult to do without proper motivation, form, and a support system. iFit provides all these things and more, and it uses smart tech to do it. Full transparency, iFit seems like a company and culture of growth and structure, both things that I'm craving and unable to attain in my current job. The job I have now is extremely stable, but it isn't challenging, it doesn't have any power hierarchy or structure, and often it has no direction other than "just do what we always do." My ambition has outgrown this position, and I'm ready for a career that will really demand more from me. I think iFit will do a lovely job of that!

 

Some of the iFit Values include:

  • Always Improving - There is always room to improve and something to learn

  • Always Multiply - Multiply those around you. Strive to amplify the capacity, intelligence, and motivation of the people on your team

  • Each Customer Matters - Every customer experience matters. Our customer's best and worst experiences are where we make lifelong changes and relationships.

  • Be accountable - We are accountable as a team and individuals for delivering on commitments.

  • Solution Minded - Be a problem solver

  • Enjoy the Ride - Create a positive, energizing, and fun work experience as a team.

 

Tell us about a time you have embodied one of these values in your previous role(s)?

The easy one here is Enjoy the Ride... I'm a pretty fun person to be around. I can sling some pretty good puns, and I know a lot of super weird trivia that'll always leave people going "Where the heck did they learn that and WHY did they learn that?" 

For professional purposes, I'll go with Solution Minded.

 

One of the challenges in my current position is photographing products and extracting their backgrounds. It's easy to photograph a pencil or a cup, but objects like knit hats are unstructured and floppy by nature. I had to figure out how to photograph our products so they looked good, highlighted their special features (like knit details or fancy inner linings), but I didn't want to use a mannequin head. The person in this position before me used a creepy grey mannequin head for all the photos and it totally took all visual focus off of the product and into the cold, dead eyes of the mannequin. Check out how little of the product the catalog actually showed. Most of the page is grey mannequin!

The problem was that the hats need something inside of them to give them structure.

A hat photographed flat looks lifeless. There's no dimension to it.

We needed photos that make the product look GOOD.

So, how do I make the hats look like there's a head in them without putting them on a head? We didn't have the budget for models.

 

I tried popping the hats onto styrofoam balls, but they made the hats look weirdly round and were hard to keep in place.

 

Stuffing the hats with paper worked to give them dimension, but it was tedious and often didn't make the curve of the hat look smooth and organic. 

 

Finally, while rummaging through a closet of materials in my office, I stumbled upon a piece of crumpled up packaging plastic. It was a little more heavy duty than regular wrapping, and it held its shape fairly well. Since I was getting pretty desperate to forgo the mannequin heads, I shaped the plastic into a rough ovular sphere, popped it into one of the hats, and adjusted the hats to appear slightly agape at the bottom edge. Success! The photos looked SO much better. Some of the hats were particularly difficult to shape, as they were made from thinner material that was naturally floppy. If I couldn't get a photo just right, I'd take what I could and then pop it into Photoshop where I could work my magic on the hat to finish shaping it correctly. Here's how the process looks:

The original picture, stuffed with plastic wrap. You can see the lining inside, almost like it's being worn by an invisible person.

But the edges of the hat are a little sloppy, so it needs to be cleaned up with Photoshop.

There we go! Much better. The differences are very subtle, but those subtleties make a massive difference when you put this photo next to a competitor's piece. 

Bonus photo of the catalog after we removed the freaky mannequins:

Thanks very much for reading my diatribe! I'm looking forward to chatting voice-to-voice (thanks, Coronavirus) soon about this position. Take care and stay safe out there!

-Kacey

All artwork shown belongs to Kacey Shoemake and affiliated businesses. Stealing art is lame. Don't do it, dude.