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Rocking Out Inside Fender's Office

At its new Hollywood headquarters, guitars line the walls and employees are encouraged to play any time of day.

This story appears in the March 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How's this for a midday stress release? Leave your desk, pick up a guitar and just jam. It's a workplace feature that's core to Fender, the 71-year-old company that has crafted instruments for musical icons from to Jimi Hendrix. In its new headquarters, designed by Rapt Studio, guitars line the walls -- acoustic, electric, one-of-a-kind -- and employees are encouraged to play any time of day. (Talent is not required, but we suspect it's greatly preferred.) The historic company is currently focused on investing in new technology and talent, helping Fender keep up in an increasingly competitive world. Fender's staff is looking to the future.

Adam Friedberg

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Bennett Kolasinski

Software Engineering Manager

"We've interviewed a lot of people for jobs here, and sometimes they're like, "Do I have to play guitar?' We do have some sick guitarists, but we also have people that don't know how to play, and they're maybe working on the Fender Play app. It's a product that teaches how to play guitar, so we need those nonmusical points of view."

Justin Stewart

Product Specialist in Fender Custom Shop

"The guitars we've designed for artists are the coolest part of the job, just because we have them for Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and David Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix. To be able to be part of that? Sometimes you've got to pinch yourself. This is the real deal."

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Paula Gardner

Executive Assistant

"One of the greatest perks is the accessibility to music. My life has been enhanced in amazing ways since I started working here, just getting out into the jazz circuit here in L.A. I've met some amazing musicians, and I get to experience the music more intimately."

Christina Stejskal

Head of Global PR and Communications

"In the past two years, we got a new CEO, and the board invested in creating a robust marketing department. So we're new, the creative team is new, and we have a whole new digital division. This legacy brand is in startup mode. We are able to talk to so many different audiences, from professional artists to the 10-year-old girl who loves Grace VanderWaal and wants to play ukulele."

Healey Bitan

Recruiting Coordinator

"There are no closed doors -- we're constantly popping into offices to ask people questions. There's not this hierarchy of "Oh my goodness, can I approach this person?' We're able to speak to anyone, and it's even encouraged. People want you to be open-minded and to give your opinion."

Ruben Miranda

Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing

"I spend a lot of time in the factory, and when you're there, it's 100 percent about production goals and efficiencies. But when you're here in the offices, you see what it takes to keep the company running, and you see a lot of diversity and just how inclusive the company is. It doesn't matter where you're from or what your title is, it just matters what you're working on and your results."

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Timothy Paul Hinshaw

Artist Relations Manager

"I'm a musical person, and being at Fender, at any given time you could be working on a boring deck and then one of your coworkers just starts playing the most amazing riff. Being around that energy gets the creative juices flowing all day."

Steve Zeitzoff

Design Director

"I'm lucky to work with some of the most talented people I've ever worked with in my career. Everyone has such a great knowledge of the brand. It's a very creative environment. We're selling products that make people's lives better, and everyone appreciates that opportunity."

Andy Mooney


"I met Phyllis Fender, Leo Fender's wife, last year, and she said something that really struck me. Later in his life, Leo had said to her that he believed all artists were angels and that God had put him on this planet to give them wings. That's been the mission of the company: Whether we do it by digital means in terms of encouraging people to learn guitar or whether we're physically putting guitars in their hands, we're trying to give wings to artists."

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Image Credit: Adam Friedberg

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