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  1. Blog
  2. Partners in Diversity
  3. May 5, 2024

Working in Manufacturing Can Be Fun? These 6 Women Say ‘Absolutely’

3 ways Nugget is changing the manufacturing industry for good

Nugget manufacturing employee
Photo courtesy of Nugget

This article is part of InHerSight's Partners in Diversity series. Discover companies partnering with InHerSight to better support women in the workplace.

When you walk into Nugget's headquarters in North Carolina, it’s clear that this isn't your average manufacturing company. The expansive space is bright and welcoming, with bold, colorful walls that echo the playful nature of their products. The large, open floor is alive with the buzz of activity as team members collaborate on the production floor or in comfy sofa booths—scattered about for quick meetings or a brief respite. It's a place designed not just for efficiency, but for comfort and creativity, reflecting the company’s belief that a great product comes from a great work environment. Here, employees are not just clocking in; they’re contributing to a culture that values joy and innovation in every corner.

For many, the term “manufacturing” doesn't usually conjure images of an engaging and people-first workplace. These perceptions are rooted in genuine industry-wide issues—the intense demands of large-scale production often result in exhaustive work schedules, while the working environments have not consistently evolved to prioritize employee experience. This has led to a prevailing view of manufacturing as an arena where the relentless rhythm of machinery and production targets can overshadow the individuality and well-being of the workers. But Nugget, a direct-to-consumer kids furniture company, is challenging the status quo—committed to proving that manufacturing can be different. 

Nugget has grown significantly since the company first launched in 2014, but as the company has evolved they’ve held fast to a founding belief that in order to create their fun-loving product, employees need to have fun, too. And at Nugget, “fun” isn’t simply a company retreat or a cute product name (although they have those too)—it’s a feeling built on culture and benefits that make people feel valued regardless of their role. By championing innovative policies, inclusive practices, and a deep-seated prioritization of employee wellbeing, Nugget isn’t just redefining their own company culture—they are setting a new standard for the industry, showing that taking care of your people is not just good practice, it's good business.

Mesha Williams, production coordinator, has worked in manufacturing for 15 years, and says that Nugget’s person-first mindset yields a more unique workplace than what she has seen in the past. “It’s different because of the environment and the people,” she says. “I’ve been here for almost five years, and I can say that when I wake up—I am happy to come to work. The perks here are very different, we get more PTO here, the ‘Just For Fun’ events, the field trips we take, it’s nothing compared to what I’ve experienced before.”

Read on to learn more about what other women in manufacturing at Nugget had to share about how the company is defying industry expectations and what makes them one of InHerSight’s best places to work!


Looking to build something special? If working alongside thoughtful, talented people and contributing to an innovative and industry-leading company sounds like your sippy cup of tea, Nugget is just the place for you. Learn more about the company and what it’s like to work for this innovative children's brand at the link. 

Learn more ›

Time off is encouraged—and built into company benefits and culture

One challenge in the manufacturing industry is being able to take time away from work in a way that doesn’t disrupt productivity. When you work on a Production team, “teamwork” is more than a nice concept—it’s necessary to have an adequately staffed team each day in order to be able to make and ship products to customers! That being said, in companies where output is prioritized over people and taking “time off” is minimized, it often leads to burnout, stress, and poor work-life balance. 

This isn’t the case at Nugget, where employees say they’re encouraged to step away. “I take vacations with my husband and our animals, as well as take days off for my mental health. There are no hard feelings from my team or leadership for me not being here at work when I take time off,” says Danya Rumple, production associate.

In addition to providing 20 days of PTO/Wellness time for all employees, Nugget also offers shift employees Flex Time that can be used to take care of appointments and other things that need to be done during the regular work week. They also have Summer and Winter Breaks, where the whole company shuts down for at least a week, twice per year. 

Beyond these benefits, employees say the culture at Nugget invites employees to voice when they need more flexibility. “I definitely feel like if I have a personal matter come up, then I can talk to my supervisor,” Christina Willis, production associate, says.

Sharon McKnight, production associate, adds: “The PTO policy makes me more relaxed here because we can take the time we need. I needed to take a mental break last year… and I was able to come back to work and still have PTO for the end of the year. They can help you figure out what works best for you.”

Employees feel valued and appreciated

Employees at Nugget say the company goes above and beyond to make people feel like people. “The environment here is like no other I’ve ever experienced,” says Lesley Vaughan, production associate. “It’s way different, and it’s different in a good way. There’s a lot of upper management communication with the Production team. Most places don’t do that, and they don’t even know your name. At Nugget, they know about us and about our lives. They take into consideration all of our circumstances, and I really appreciate that.”

Nereyda Carlos, production associate, who’s in charge of building the couches kids know and love, also agrees that the benefits and environment are better overall at Nugget. More opportunities, better pay, and better benefits are among her top reasons for loving the company—and it’s evident to her how much the company cares about employees. “Nugget always cares because they are always getting feedback from employees about what we like and don’t like about the job, and they are interested in how we feel,” Carlos says. 

For women who’ve worked in manufacturing previously, the change-up is refreshing. At her previous jobs, McKnight says people came to work, did their jobs, and left. “This is the only job I’ve had in manufacturing that treats the employees the way they do. The way we are spoken to is different from any other manufacturing job I’ve had. Everyone comes out and interacts with employees here; they talk to us and know our names,” she says. “The ‘boss boss’ (CEO) gives you high fives! People are concerned about you and your wellbeing, and even ask how your day is going.”

Work is fun (seriously)

Manufacturing is… fun? Well, it is at Nugget. Not only does the company prioritize imagination in every aspect of production and play, but women say that signature Just for Fun events, field trips, and a friendly work environment make them feel happy to be at work. “They try to make it interesting—like you don’t have to be an ‘adult’ ALL of the time,” Rumple says. 

The efforts also have a huge impact on helping women to feel like they belong, even while working in a fast-paced environment when culture could potentially fall to the wayside. “When I come to work, I don’t feel like I’m at work,” Williams says. “I feel comfortable to be myself and do my job at the same time. It’s different because, at some places, you go to work and just leave, but here we joke and laugh with each other.”

For Willis, who is experiencing the manufacturing industry for the first time through Nugget, it’s that fun-loving and inclusive environment that makes her want to come into work. “The experience itself is fun for me,” she says. “This is my first time at a manufacturing company, and it definitely knocked my fear and self-doubt down. I’ve also made some pretty good friends along the way, so that’s helped a lot! With a big group of people, there is someone who can always really relate to you and what you’re going through.”

It doesn’t hurt, either, that Nugget’s product is so adored by their target audience—children and their caregivers. “I enjoy my work here because I know that what I do will make a kid happy,” Carlos says.

“There is never a dull day, and I love the fact that I can stay busy and keep my mind rolling and focused on what I have to do next,” Vaughan adds. “We are sending out something for a family to play on... I get excited because I am doing something and someone is receiving my work, so to me that’s the ultimate icing on the cake!”

In a world where many companies’ products are intangible, like software or service products, it’s refreshing for many of Nugget’s employees to be able to create real, physical products that invite kids to bring their imaginations to life in an increasingly digital world—and to do so in an environment where employees are, frankly, also having a good time. It’s that combination, the product and the people, that truly speaks to Nugget’s core value “Play the long game.” By growing with the future in mind, Nugget continues to build something special. 

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