Double Bridging the Gap Over the Atlantic Ocean
Printful's 35,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Los Angeles houses more than 60 employees and 60 printers. While our printing and shipping magic takes place in sunny California, we also have an office and dedicated staff halfway across the world in Riga, Latvia. We use email, Skype, Reamaze and Slack to communicate across continents, but sometimes it's not enough and we enlist the help of our Double.
What is Printful?
In a nutshell, Printful is a dropshipping service for print products, like t-shirts, posters, and leggings. Online retailers connect their stores with us, submit their designs, and sync their products. When an order comes in for something from their store, it goes to us and then we print and ship it to the customer.
We were founded as part of the Draugiem Group, the largest IT company in Latvia. Our Latvian team consists of programmers, designers, customer service reps, and marketing coordinators. The team in California is responsible for fulfillment, and additional customer service.
Why Double Works for Us
It's hard communicating with an ocean and a 10-hour time difference separating both offices. Our Double is useful when the programmers in Latvia need to check up on a printer or run test prints when the LA office is already closed for the day. Rather than waiting until somebody is in the office to call them, we can activate the Double and take a closer look ourselves. This keeps time difference delays at a minimum.
"Operating the Double feels like operating a character in a video game, except you're moving it around in a real space." – Ģirts Upītis, programmer and main Double user
It's also handy when somebody in the Latvian office needs to contact someone in California about an urgent matter. Rather than playing phone tag and emailing back and forth, it's possible to zip around on the Double to find the right person.
On a slightly less practical level, it's nice for the team in Latvia to see the magnitude of our operations first-hand. Working from so far away, it's easy to forget how much Printful prints and ships on a daily basis. Staff members in Latvia can hop on the Double, “walk” around the warehouse, and see for themselves. It's inspiring to see how much we do, and it's reassuring to know that the team's efforts in Latvia really are impacting growth.
Check out Double in action at Printful's office: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yltd6nqgiju3wus/RoboCop.mp4?dl=0
The Future of Work?
The way we work is rapidly changing. Thanks to the internet, we are becoming more globally connected and it's not uncommon to have employees working remotely, or offices split up in different locations.
One of the drawbacks of a remote workforce is the lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues, but technology is slowly changing this. Using Double might not be quite the same as talking to somebody in person, but it's the closest alternative to the real thing. With more people in the workforce choosing to work remotely and more companies embracing this trend, tools like Double can help people stay connected.
Blog post and photos courtesy of Nora Inveiss, Printful