Why I went from Google to reinventing work wear.

For the last decade, I have been extremely lucky to have a dream job at Google in San Francisco. While I’ve always loved fashion — I used to sew my own clothes as a way to beat stress in college — I wouldn’t say I was the most likely candidate to start a clothing line. An athlete and tennis player, I was most comfortable in sneakers and skirts. Silicon Valley is about company T-shirts, and I was happy to partake.

Shannon Snow Google MapsHappy Googler, circa 2008

That all changed a few years ago, when I took on a new role as Google’s Head of Industry for Education. While previous positions at the company were much more behind the scenes, suddenly I was speaking at events and flying across the country to meet with CEOs. An important part of business is learning about and showing respect for the partners you work with, and there was no way I was going to walk into an executive’s office wearing a hoodie.

My partners seemed to appreciate the effort. Here’s actual written feedback I received in a survey after a speech in San Francisco: “In addition to giving a great presentation, I wanted to thank Shannon for dressing appropriately.”

Shannon Snow SESMe dressing appropriately at SES San Francisco 2012

At the same time my work style was growing up, I became increasingly aware of the physical nature of many business jobs. Like many of you may experience, my work calendar looked like a brick wall: long days of commuting and back-to-back meetings, punctuated by dinners with partners and cross-country flights. A typical day might involve walking to work, closing a deal, hopping a flight, and landing ready for happy hour — all while remaining constantly connected on my smartphone. I was ready to Lean In - but I certainly wasn’t going to do it sweating in a ladies pantsuit with fake pockets.

"I was ready to Lean In - but I certainly wasn’t going to do it sweating in a ladies pantsuit with fake pockets."

So I began spending my off hours in pursuit of something better. A colleague told me her dad, an architect, went to work every day in a button-down shirt with a calculator and two mechanical pencils in his front pocket. He was armed with tools he needed to do his job. I wanted to do the same. I began talking to as many women as I could about what they wanted to wear to work. I wanted to create something that was not only suitable for business but provided tools needed for success in the modern age: comfortable fabric for long active days, deep pockets for smartphones and a loop to hang an employee work badge, which thousands wear daily.

Shannon Snow Work BadgeFinally, a place for my work badge that doesn't involve a lanyard

Today, after much love and help from pretty much everyone I know, I launch my first collection on My commitment to you is that every dress will be evaluated by the same criteria you already use in the morning: Will I feel comfortable for a long day? Will I feel confident in an important meeting? Will I be able to carry my cell phone in a place more appropriate than my armpit? Will I be as happy and free as I was at yoga or on the tennis court?

This is only the beginning of our journey, one I hope we’ll take together. Please tell me what you’d like to wear to work, either in the comments or by email at We have amazing careers ahead of us - let’s get started.
  • Raina Haque says...

    Shannon, thank you for having the courage to launch the company so many women are just waiting for—I always felt that pockets in women’s clothing should be a basic step towards women’s empowerment in the workplace! I cannot wait to order these chic, comfy dresses. I am excited to see your ideas grow.

    On Oct 27, 2015

  • Cecile DeCuir says...

    Love, love, love your new Work, Play Go line of clothes! The 6 reasons you site why professional women will love this line of clothes ring true. I feel an authentic voice coming through in your About Us narrative and that is so refreshing. Bravo Shannon!

    On Oct 14, 2015

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