Hot Topic Overview

Hot Topic is an American retail chain specializing in counterculture-related clothing and accessories, as well as licensed music. The stores are aimed towards an audience interested in rock music and video gaming, and most of their audience ranges from teens to young adults.
Founded in 1988, Hot Topic is an established company that loves to hire graduates from Middle Tennessee State University, with 11.7% of its employees having attended Middle Tennessee State University. Hot Topic has established itself as a great place to work in California, and it is number 1 on Zippia's list of Best Companies to Work for in Industry, CA. The average employee at Hot Topic makes $35,083 per year. In comparison, some of its highest paying competitors, like Pacific Sunwear of California, Aeropostale, and Pier 1 Imports, pay $43,783, $41,745, and $38,512, respectively.
Based in California, Hot Topic is a key player in the retail industry with 5,350 employees and an annual revenue of $761.0M.







Founded in



Industry, CA


Organization Type


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The Team At Hot Topic

Key People
  • Orv Madden (founders)
  • Steve Vranes (ceo)
  • Orval Madden (founders)
  • Heather Whitehurst (Manager)

Hot Topic Reviews

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Zippia UserMay 2020


Zippia Official LogoZippia UserMay 2020

What Do You Like About Working There?

I had the opportunity to nerd out with customers and have a good time Show More

What DON'T You Like About Working There?

Some days can get irritating and stores can get stuffy Show More

What Are Your Favorite Benefits/Perks?

Having fun with customers and being myself. And discounts for free stuff Show More
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Zippia UserOctober 2019


Zippia Official LogoZippia UserOctober 2019

What Do You Like About Working There?

Flexibility of extra hours/early sign off days. Great atmosphere & overall fun workforce. Show More

What DON'T You Like About Working There?

None Show More

What Are Your Favorite Benefits/Perks?

Overtime outside of peak seasons was not frowned upon. Show More
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Reddit UserDecember 2009
Zippia Official LogoReddit UserDecember 2009

Was there a required dress code? Like, "you have to look this goth-y to come to work"

No, not really. I wore a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers to work everyday. Once in awhile we'd have a big visit from regional management or someone else high up, so I'd wear a skirt and some flats or something. Some of the other girls, though I don't understand how, would wear heels and dress up all the time. My feet would have staged a coup if I tried to spend 8 hours on them in heels. And as for the goth-y part, I never considered my self goth. I think the feel of the store was gothic, but it wasn't really my thing. And truth be told, I only worked with a handful of people over the years that would have considered it their thing. The only time when they were really super concerned with what we were wearing was during Halloween. There were theme days and we were supposed to participate. But the only thing they could do if we didn't was lecture us about team moral.
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Reddit UserDecember 2009
Zippia Official LogoReddit UserDecember 2009

I worked there as well, back in high school. Did you also get pressured into "befriending" every customer coming into the store in order to sell more merchandise? I actually got fired/was told to quit because I refused to rip people off.

Sure did. That was always my weakness at that job. I felt like we were being coached to screw people into buying as much stuff as possible and I hated that aspect of the position. I think that there is a way to sell to people that is not intrusive, but alas that is not the HT way.
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Reddit UserDecember 2009
Zippia Official LogoReddit UserDecember 2009

Doesn't a chain store, with locations in malls just about all over the country, contradict part of what it means to be goth? I feel like people who shop there would scoff at people who shopped at GAP, even though the same company owns both stores.

It's a business. They found a market that was ignored and did really well because of it. When it started I think the vision of the company was excellent, to provide for a customer base that most stores don't care about. But now it is a store that is in search of the next big trend like every other store in the mall. Don't get me wrong, I like the store and I for the most part I liked working there. But to me it is a store and not a way of life. No one should take it super seriously.
Anonymous review of Hot Topic

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Hot Topic Rankings

Hot Topic is ranked #28 on the Best Retail Companies to Work For in California list. Zippia's Best Places to Work lists provide unbiased, data-based evaluations of companies. Rankings are based on government and proprietary data on salaries, company financial health, and employee diversity.

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Hot Topic Salaries

How much does Hot Topic pay?
The national average salary for a Hot Topic employee in the United States is $35,083 per year. Employees in the top 10 percent can make over $44,000 per year, while employees at the bottom 10 percent earn less than $27,000 per year.
Salary Score
Average Employee Earnings

Hot Topic Salaries By Job Title

The average employee at Hot Topic earns a yearly salary of $35,083 per year, but different jobs can earn drastically different salaries. The higher paying positions at Hot Topic include Sales Representative, Store Manager, Assistant Manager, and Sales Associate. A typical Sales Representative salary at Hot Topic is $47,176 per year. To get a better sense of the salaries at Hot Topic, other roles such as Cashier and Picker And Packer can be considered as well. For comparison, the title Cashier at Hot Topic earns $22,985 per year.
Sales Representative
Sales Representative
Store Manager
Store Manager
Assistant Manager
Assistant Manager
Sales Associate
Sales Associate
Warehouse Associate
Warehouse Associate
Key Holder
Key Holder
Customer Service Representative
Customer Service Representative
Warehouse Worker
Warehouse Worker
Picker And Packer
Picker And Packer

Hot Topic Careers

On average, employees at Hot Topic stay with the company for 1.6 years. Employees most commonly join Hot Topic after leaving Walmart. When they leave Hot Topic, they most frequently get their next job at Walmart.

Average Length of Employment

Hot Topic

1.6 years
Tillys1.1 years
Torrid1.1 years
Top Employers Before Hot Topic
Walmart12.0 %
Target6.6 %
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Top Employers After Hot Topic
Walmart11.6 %
Target9.7 %
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Hot Topic Employment Videos

Hot Topic Financial Performance

Performance Score
We calculated the performance score of companies by measuring multiple factors, including revenue, longevity, and stock market performance.


$100M - $1B

Founded in


Organization type


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Hot Topic Competitors

Some of the competitors of Hot Topic are Pacific Sunwear of California, Aeropostale, and Pier 1 Imports. Employees at Pacific Sunwear of California earn more than most of the competition, with an average yearly salary of $43,783. The employees at Aeropostale earn an average yearly salary of $41,745 per year, and the salaries at Pier 1 Imports average $38,512 per year.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hot Topic

When was Hot Topic founded?

Hot Topic was founded in 1988.

How many Employees does Hot Topic have?

Hot Topic has 5,350 employees.

How much money does Hot Topic make?

Hot Topic generates $761.0M in revenue.

What industry is Hot Topic in?

Hot Topic is in the retail industry.

What type of company is Hot Topic?

Hot Topic is a private company.

Who are Hot Topic's competitors?

Hot Topic competitors include Tillys, Torrid, Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, maurices, Claire's Stores, Zumiez, SHOE SHOW, Aeropostale, Pier 1 Imports, New York & Company, Spencer Gifts, GNC, Cato, Pacific Sunwear of California, Dressbarn, Sunglass Hut, Charming Charlie, Things Remembered, Rainbow Shops.

Who works at Hot Topic?

Orv Madden (founders)

Steve Vranes (ceo)

Orval Madden (founders)

Show More

Where is Hot Topic's headquarters?

Hot Topic's headquarters is in Industry, CA.

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You can find out what it is like to work at Hot Topic, also known as HOT TOPIC INC, Hot Topic, Hot Topic Inc, Hot Topic Inc. and Hot Topic, Inc..

Zippia gives an in-depth look into the details of Hot Topic, including salaries, political affiliations, employee data, and more, in order to inform job seekers about Hot Topic. The employee data is based on information from people who have self-reported their past or current employments at Hot Topic. While we have made attempts to ensure that the information displayed are correct, Zippia is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. The data presented on this page does not represent the view of Hot Topic and its employees or that of Zippia.