Quick notes from a visit to Swift’s Northwest Portland HQ: Clubby, low-key house music piped into the main entrance and the bathroom. Showers, bike racks, and pump rooms. A massive board game closet for employees’ kids (or just employees). And the best snacks this reporter has ever seen. We’re not just talking your basic peanut M&Ms and macadamia nuts (although there are those, too) but full packs of gum, microwave popcorn, and five different types of coffee. At this point, the yoga sessions, roving bar cart, and rosé and Ecliptic hazy on tap just seem like overkill.
But this is Swift, so of course it’s not overkill. It’s just normal.
Founded in 2006 and named for the famed migrating birds who stop every year at Chapman Elementary up the street, the digital marketing agency got on the social media train when many companies were still tinkering with their static websites. That head start gave Swift a leg up, and led to working with many big-name clients like Starbucks, Adidas, and Gatorade—their most recent campaign was the reveal of Google’s Pixel 4 during the Latin Grammys.
The easiest way to describe the digs, which Swift’s 120-ish employees moved into in 2016? A warehouse, but cozy, if such a thing is possible—a best-of-both-worlds compromise between wide-open areas for workstations and private nooks for focusing and breakouts. Every Monday the office gathers the disparate teams at an all-staff breakfast called ICYMI—recently they dined on waffles, acai bowls, and bacon—and on Fridays the company brings in lunches from places like Por Qué No and Pok Pok.
According to Marni Beardsley, Swift’s chief production officer, the real heart of Swift is the production studio: a giant, empty canvas and on-site playground that can be transformed for video and photo shoots for everything from close-up product shots to car commercials. Starting this year, Swift says it will start to open the production space as a rental studio too.