Meet The Bark Behind The Box: An Insider's Tour Of NYC's Most Dog-Friendly HQ
Ruff day? It's time to visit a world of squeaker toys and snuggles: BARK, the makers of BarkBox, invited me over for a behind-the-scenes tour of their headquarters where dogs rule and humans... well, you get the picture. Check out the tour below, and don't forget to give your own pup something to bark about: sign up for your monthly BarkBox today.
It's a dog's world—and as three humans crouch on the wood floors of BARK HQ, ruffling the ears of an acrobatic pup named Pimm, it's pretty apparent that we're all just living (and working) in it. To the delight of her audience, Pimm has just leapt over her owner's arm, and now she's doing something called "breakdancing" where she swirls in circles on the floor, yipping for treats that can be found, quite literally, on every desk in the office.
High above Canal Street in downtown NYC, BARK is a dog's paradise. Most of the flat surfaces are piled high with squeaky toys and snacks—some for humans, but mostly for dogs. Sun filters in from the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the air is filled with soft music wafting from a kitchen nook where two BARK employees chat over a pair of laptops.
"We wanted to design more of a home to work in rather than a workplace that feels homey," says Henrik Werdelin, BARK's co-founder, as he leans on the oversized kitchen island. He explains that kitchens, second only to the dogs, are the centerpiece of the three-floor office. "Cool kids hang in the kitchen at parties," he adds, gesturing around him. And BARK certainly does a good job of promoting kitchen-positivity: rosé and cold brew are, to the delight of many, always on tap.
Founded in 2012, BARK is all about the playfulness and reverie found in the relationships between humans and their pups. "We want to surprise and delight our customers, and we want the same for our employees," says Henrik, pointing to a doodle on a fourth-floor wall. The doodle's inspiration? It's Henrik's dog, Molly, with a speech bubble that reads "Henrik pls bring home treats for Molly and Legos for Anton." Anton is his son who, presumably, really loves Legos. Henrik says, even to this day, he's still finding previously undiscovered doodles around the office.
From the out-of-the-box experience to navigating the open office, you're filled with an undeniable sense of mischief. All of the conference rooms are named after Domino's cheesy breads. Somewhere on the fourth floor is a bathroom with two toilets. "It's our idea of a joke," says Henrik. "The architect had to confirm we wanted it this way." The toilet's door was locked as we passed by, raising a few eyebrows along the tour.
Throughout the office are hints of Henrik's Danish design aesthetic—it's everything from the clean white walls to the fourth floor cubbies, inspired by the compartmentalized "artifact" boxes hung in the homes and workspaces of his home country.
"A lot of it is based on the concept of Hygge", he explains. "It's about architectural intimacy and creating coziness." He mentions that you're not going to find any paw prints or chewing bone motifs because, frankly, that's a bit old hat for dog aesthetics.
Much of the office is designed so that BARK employees—and their pups—can move freely around the space, promoting creativity and productivity. There's the "DJ Booth" overlooking the second floor kitchen (kind of like your own private coffee shop, Henrik explains), cubbies, lounges, and plenty of cozy hideaways. Purposefully, it's a lot like a person's home: a office-take on moving from the couch to the kitchen table to a window nook. There's even a secret doorway hidden behind a bookshelf in BARK's in-house photo studio.
BARK is a place where, unsurprisingly, many of the employees are known simply as "Frank's dad" or "Pimm's mom." Or, in other words, it's really all about the dogs. A sign on the front door reads "MAILMEN BEWARE. Deliveries from BARK may cause dogs to fall madly in love with you," but it's pretty clear that this is an office where humans continue to fall in love with their furry friends day in and day out.
After so many ear ruffles and games of fetch, I wanted to know more about these pups and pooches—what do they chew on? What makes them tick? Best snacks? How do they feel about street cats? Scroll down to get to know a few of BARK's more illustrious, long-tongued, big-eared employees.
Meet Paul, BARK's Booty Retention Manager
Human: Cynthia Yeung, Graphic Designer
What's the best thing about coming to work at BARK? Toys toys toys toys
Favorite local spot for an afternoon walk? Love any park. Anytime I see green I'll run towards it.
And what's the best thing you see on your walks? Street food!
Favorite snack? Cooked carrots
Meet Britta, BARK's Siesta Strategist
Human: Sonia Duenas, Affiliate Marketing Analyst
What's the best thing about coming to work at BARK? All of the attention and belly rubs. Mostly the attention.
Favorite local spot for an afternoon walk? Prospect Park where the geese gather.
And what's the best thing you see on your walks? Used napkins and leftovers but squirrel tails are a close second.
Favorite snack? Anything I can catch on the second try.
Meet Pimm, BARK's President of the Destroyer's Club
Human: Stacie Grissom, Chief Editor
What's the best thing about coming to work at BARK? Seeing all the dogs! There are unlimited toys to destroy, and so many treats, but the best part is definitely the dogs.
Favorite local spot for an afternoon walk? Going north on Mulberry Street because there are so many cafes and patios!
And what's the best thing you see on your walks? Other dogs! And squirrels.
Favorite snack? ICE CUBES.
Meet Andi, BARK's Manager of Lunch Larceny
Human: Lisa Bernier, Content + Social Strategy, Retail
What's the best thing about coming to work at BARK? The dogs + the opportunity to eat as many treats as possible.
Favorite local spot for an afternoon walk? Baxter Street to grab coffee (for Lisa) at a fun and dog friendly place where treats are given (for me).
And what's the best thing you see on your walks? The gutter becuz snax.
Favorite snack? I'll eat literally, anything.
Meet Jackson, BARK's Resident Model
Human: Kate Onorato, BarkShop Merchandiser
What's the best thing about coming to work at BARK? Attention, toys, treats, love, rubs, & Peggy (my office gal pal).
Favorite local spot for an afternoon walk? Astoria Park.
And what's the best thing you see on your walks? Dog girlfriends, sidewalk food, street cats that won't play with me.
Favorite snack? I love any type of cheese!
BarkBox is the gift your pup will truly crave, over and over—monthly curated boxes, always filled with $40 worth of delightful toys and tasty treats, all tailored to your dog's size and proclivity for destruction. (Is Felix a light chewer or a chompy machine? BarkBox wants to know.)
Every toy is designed using the best materials on Earth, and treats are made in the USA, always without corn, wheat, or soy. Shipping is always free to the US and Canada, and if your pup isn't totally satisfied with what arrives, no sweat—BarkBox will make it right, free of charge.