by Hannah Levy
May 30, 2019

Squarespace’s mission is to help people with creative ideas succeed. That mission also rings true for the people behind it — the employees who make the Squarespace product a reality. The company puts a premium on autonomy, empowering employees to own their work from day one, and fosters an environment of creative collaboration. 

Here’s what three employees told us about building Squarespace’s product, life in the office, and why dog-friendly offices are better in every way.

 

squarespace offices NYC
photography by Ken Pao
squarespace's offices new york
photography by Ken Pao
squarespace nyc
photography by Ken Pao

 

FOUNDED: 2003 

EMPLOYEES: 965; 657 locally 

WHAT THEY DO: Squarespace empowers millions of people to share their stories and create a stylish and easy-to-manage online presence.

WHERE THEY DO IT: New York City, Dublin, and Portland, Oregon 

HAPPY DOG, HAPPY JOB: The Squarespace offices are dog-friendly, a great perk for the company’s many adorable pups.

 

squarespace product team

squarespace product manager

 

Samantha Kogle, Senior Product Designer

As the product design lead for Squarespace’s commerce product teams, Samantha is responsible for designing the tools that make it possible for users to build sleek, functional websites. 

BEYOND WORK: Outside of work, Samantha is a mother and a wife and likes to think that her work and private life are symbiotic — both require patience and understanding. 

 

You’ve been with Squarespace for over a year. Can you remember what was exciting about the opportunity when you chose to join the team?

When I was looking for a new opportunity, it was important to me that the company was design-driven, had a mission that I believed in, and fostered a culture of trust and autonomy. Squarespace definitely met, if not exceeded, all of those desires. 

There were only eight product designers at Squarespace when I started. It was a small team made up of driven, collaborative and diverse designers working together toward one goal. When I chose to join, I was so excited to have the opportunity to work with such talented peers and felt grateful that I could make an impact on a product that I have used for so long. 

 

What about Squarespace inspires you? 

I’ve used Squarespace for a long time. The platform helped me in many chapters of my life: creating my first portfolio, selling a print magazine with my friends, running a small business with my partner, and helping my mom launch a new venture. 

The mission of helping creative ideas, and the people behind those ideas, succeed is incredibly powerful to me. I really feel that I can relate to our users and that we are helping them achieve their goals. 

 

While the headcount at Squarespace is changing, one thing that has not changed is the desire of the team to maintain a culture of creativity, collaboration and design excellence.

 

How has Squarespace changed in the year you’ve been with the company? What about the company hasn’t changed?

In the past year, we’ve seen the company grow a lot, and during that time our product design team has doubled. Growing our team means that we have the ability to unlock a lot of potential and deepen Squarespace’s offerings. We have really ambitious goals and will need more talented, driven people to get us there.

While the headcount at Squarespace is changing, one thing that has not changed is the desire of the team to maintain a culture of creativity, collaboration and design excellence. 

 

How would you describe your team culture? How is this different from other places you’ve worked?

As a product designer at Squarespace, you are given a lot of autonomy and ownership of the work you are doing, which is balanced by strong support and collaboration with your peers and manager. I like to think of our team as family oriented — we get coffee and lunch together, share inspiration and memes in Slack, celebrate both big and small wins together, and in general, foster a positive environment.

 

squarespace patio nyc

product manager squarespace

 

Rafael Balbi, Product Manager

As a product manager at Squarespace, Rafael helps define and build Squarespace’s features for users. 

BEYOND WORK: Rafael is both a dancer and a yoga practitioner. He credits yoga with helping him to find center in his design work and clarity of thought. 

 

You joined Squarespace at an especially pivotal turning point for the company. Talk about what it’s been like working on a product that’s undergoing major changes. 

Working at Squarespace has been delightfully challenging. I come in every day with the psychological safety to perform at my best, without the mental hassles of internal politics or other things that make office environments tricky. My manager — and many others on my team — have deliberately created that kind of environment.

Squarespace is a place where you can show up, be yourself and perform. Working on a product at this size of a company, and during a rapid growth phase, requires building strong interpersonal relationships. And it’s those relationships, not the title, status or compensation, that will get the team through anything. 

 

What’s one example of a product you’ve worked on that you’re especially proud of? 

I’m especially proud of my last major release: subscriptions. It was a meaningful product for us and one that put my execution skills to the test. I was tasked with building out the path for the product’s beta and general release. 

I built great relationships with my team and engineering team lead here, and we were able to ship a great product on time, which isn’t always easy to do when unforeseen challenges pop up. It showed me the level of engineering talent we have here and just how many folks in product and other departments are willing to collaborate when it gets down to the wire. 

 

Squarespace is a place where you can show up, be yourself and perform.


What is the one item on your work to-do list right now that really excites you? 

While I can’t share the specifics yet, I’m very excited about a new feature that caters toward a completely new Squarespace user. It will open exciting opportunities for small businesses and service providers in a meaningful way. I particularly enjoy working on products like this that add new functionality to help a wider audience. 

 

squarespace loft office

software engineering squarespace

 

Mackenzie Clark, Senior Software Engineer

As a senior software engineer at Squarespace, Mackenzie and her team are the technical power behind Squarespace’s products, including those which make it possible for vendors to sell their goods online using Squarespace. 

BEYOND WORK: These days, Mackenzie spends her time outside of work traveling, hiking and exploring the city with her husband and their dog, Eddy.

 

Living in NYC, you have lots of choices when it comes to choosing a place to work. What made you decide to join the team at Squarespace?

Before I joined Squarespace, I was looking for a company that was larger than the startups I had worked at, but small enough that I could still have a real impact. My main priorities were to build a product that empowers people, work in an environment where trust and respect are non-negotiables, and be able to grow in my career and learn from my peers. A year and a half into working at Squarespace, I can confidently say that all of these have held true.

 

The engineering team culture is collaborative, respectful and values knowledge-sharing.

 

Explain what an average day at Squarespace looks like for you. 

My team uses Agile processes, so most days we have a daily standup to check in on team progress and identify any blockers. We work in two-week sprints, so over the course of two weeks we will groom our backlog to break down and estimate: upcoming work; a retrospective to discuss how our team can operate better; a sprint review to demo our work to each other and to stakeholders; and a kickoff at the start of each sprint.

On an average day, I’ll have standup, maybe one of our sprint-related meetings, I might interview a candidate, and then at least half my day is dedicated to writing code and reviewing pull requests. I pair with other engineers on an ad-hoc basis to help them out or whiteboard a challenging problem together. Weather permitting, I bring my dog to work, so a post-lunch walk around West Village is always part of my day when he’s in the office!

 

How would you describe the engineering team culture at Squarespace?

The engineering team culture is collaborative, respectful and values knowledge-sharing. We’re a large enough team that you won’t know everyone, but anyone can post a question in another team’s Slack channel and someone will always respond to help them out. This week, for example, I’ve been getting help from someone on the site reliability team who has gone above and beyond to help me configure some new alerts. 

The engineering team also values creativity; twice a year we have a Hack Week where engineers have a full week to build whatever they want. It’s always a mix of technical explorations, internal products, or new Squarespace features that haven’t made it into the road map. During my first Hack Week, two coworkers and I built a feature called “Shopping on Instagram” that we were able to launch to Squarespace users shortly after. 

 

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