Business in Focus: Stance

A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence

When seasoned tech investor Jeff Kearl met with John Wilson for a pitch meeting over breakfast in 2009, Kearl thought Wilson would be talking up a new product in the consumer electronics space. After all, Wilson had previously been an executive of Oakley and was working at Skullcandy on the morning that they sat down. Instead of pitching a cool new consumer device, however, Wilson threw out one of the lowest tech products imaginable – socks.

The idea came to Kearl after experiencing burnout working with a long list of startups in Silicon Valley. He’d moved to the quiet beach town of San Clemente, CA, and thought about how to apply his experience with brands like Oakley and Skullcandy to look for a homogenized, utilitarian product that could be turned into a lifestyle necessity and fashion brand. After a few trips to Target, and a little market research, Kearl, Wilson and three other cofounders – Ryan Kingman, Taylor Shupe, and Aaron Hennings – launched Stance.

By 2015, the company attracted $86 million in funding and signed a deal as the NBA’s official on-court sock. The brand has a cohort of influential ambassadors dubbed Punks and Poets, some with their own Stance sock designs, which includes athletes like Allen Iverson and artists like Willow Smith.

Today, Stance has about 280 team members who are encouraged to blend work and play by taking advantage of the amenities designed into the company’s San Clemente headquarters. The building includes not only private and shared workspaces, but about 2/3 of the building is dedicated to recreational activities like an indoor skate park, a fitness center, and a basketball court.

Stance describes its culture as a place where smart, ambitious, and positive people can thrive. Applicants for open positions will find the list of job responsibilities includes things like: 

  • Recognizes that Stance is a team sport.
  • Consistently expresses gratitude to acknowledge the help and contributions of others.
  • Demonstrates personal responsibility in order to shepherd and safeguard our values and commitments.

Kudos to Stance for creating a space where responsible people thrive on freedom and are worthy of that trust. You can learn more about Stance’s culture here.



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