At TATCHA, we love bringing new life to old traditions, and while modernizing the geisha’s skincare rituals is our main focus, it’s far from our only twist on time. The building that houses our San Francisco headquarters was the site of a popular nightclub a few decades ago. Today, the interior white walls, skylights and exposed beams are familiar sights at many start-ups, but we kept the original disco ball hanging high in the rafters as a tribute to the sentiment and free-spirited passion it symbolizes.
Another reminder of the past is the brass gong that hangs just beside a light switch on one of the walls. Though it measures only 12-inches in diameter, its presence looms large. A member of the TATCHA team carried it across Asia in her backpack and brought it in to bring good luck (the belief that being touched by a gong brings happiness and strength is popular in many cultures). When struck with the mallet, the gong resonates in a rich, beautiful tone reminiscent of the sacred sound that signals the beginning and end of meditation sessions at Buddhist temples.
More than mere décor, the gong is often brought to the center of the room to mark birthdays, honor visiting guests and other recognition-worthy developments. The honoree is handed the mallet and asked to strike in style. Some give it a strong, solid stroke, while others opt for a daintier touch. Though the techniques vary, each gong represents a shared moment uniting us in space, time and sound.
Not long ago, we started another gong-related tradition with a smaller desk-sized gong that is bestowed by one team member to another who has embodied the values that we hold so dear — dedication, passion, humility, teamwork and excellence to name just a few. (Right now it is sitting on Nathalie’s desk in honor of the extraordinary work she does on the Customer Care team).
Even our partners at our co-founder’s creative agency in Seattle have a gong ritual (although it was started quite independently of ours!).
Every day at 3 p.m. Pacific Time, the gong rings out three times. The staff of designers, writers and project managers drop to the floor and do as many push-ups as they can for the following three minutes. Besides re-energizing the room and getting heart rates up, the shared experience makes everyone a little closer.
We haven’t started that in our San Francisco office yet, but if we do, that that will definitely be worth a gong of its own.