SCHENECTADY — Quirky is a company that cares about image.
Don’t let the employees, who don sneakers and jeans on the regular, fool you. The New York City-based invention company is working hard to ensure its new Schenectady location is just as hip as its West Chelsea headquarters, or as close to hip as can be.
Eight months after opening and after much insistence that the space didn’t look quite how they wanted it to yet, the company agreed to provide The Daily Gazette a peek at its new space in Center City on the top two floors above Johnny’s.
There was custom-made furniture still to be acquired (vintage 1950s lockers were used to make a reception desk, old industrial steel pipes to make tables), giant vinyl logos to be hung (a neon Quirky sign hung by its lonesome on one wall), stick figures to be plastered along the walls (each employee draws their own), a “Whichever” gender-neutral sign to be etched into the bathroom door and long wooden desks to be built for employees working on Macs downstairs.
The Schenectady location, which opened in May and will eventually employ 180, houses Quirky’s customer-service and tech support representatives. As of January, about 110 employees had been hired to staff the 24/7 operation. This is where customers call with questions or problems with Quirky products, or advice on how to connect a home device (air conditioner, lights, thermostats) to their smart phone or WiFi.
The entire 22,000-square-foot space has an open-office layout — two levels of bare concrete floors and floor-to-ceiling windows connected by a wide-open stairwell, where employees sit each Thursday night in front of a big screen to help the New York City crowd vote on which invention ideas to pursue. Employees sit at long, open tables, taking calls over headsets from all over the world.
The Schenectady location houses every single Quirky product ever created. This includes kitchen products like egg yolk separators and skewer sets, home supplies like folding hangers and desk organizers, and electronics like flexible power strips and wrap-around extension cords.
On a recent January day, the afternoon sun painted the space in dramatic contrasts: Employees and furniture cast long, dark shadows and the glint off stainless steel kitchen appliances caused eyes to squint. The space overlooks a revitalized State Street corridor, downtown rooftops, brick facades, church spires and the iconic General Electric sign in the distance.
Bump, Bethany. “Invention Company’s HQ Have a Decidedly Quirky Feel.” Daily Gazette, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.