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The Uncommon Life

The Uncommon Life

Our Fabulous Mothers

May 6, 2013

We all have moms. It’s a natural fact. Odds are, she’s a really fabulous lady. Meet the moms of UncommonGoods ladies and find out what made her such an amazing mother when we were growing up.

As a child living in the Bronx, my mom always made sure I was in contact with my family who lived in Brooklyn. We traveled long train rides to be in touch with my grandparents and cousins. As an adult, I look back and realize those trips meant a whole lot, because we built bonds and my cousins are like my sisters and brothers.

Ne’Quana Rollings, Merchant Assistant

She always encouraged me to put school first.

Melissa Bishop, Associate Buyer-Children’s & Leisure

My mom is literally the kindest and most understanding person I know. She has truly taught me what it is to love unconditionally.

-Liz Minch, Graphic Designer

She used the fact that she is a single mother (and has been most of my life) as her driving force to always go the extra mile. As a child, she always gave me everything I have ever needed and most of the things that I have wanted, even when she didn’t have enough to take care of herself. What I am most appreciative of, though, is that instead of spoiling me rotten, she used “tough love” to push me to be self-sufficient and rely on no one but myself. Without that, I don’t know that I would have the same drive that I do to succeed and get what I want out of life.

Kimberley Fargiano, Quality Control Specialist

Recalling my childhood, I would probably say that the most extraordinary thing my mom did for me when I was young was that she never doubted me.

I can’t remember her ever saying anything negative about any dream or wish I’d ever expressed.
And even now, so many years later, she remains a positive force that still is there to absorb all of my thoughts and dreams, and all of my children’s wonderful hopes and wishes.

Jackie Udden, Assistant Buyer-Jewelry & Accessories

I have never seen my mom wear high heels and I’m pretty sure she was barefoot at her wedding. But for someone who never puts product in her hair and considers Blistex Chapstick her makeup essential, I think she looks pretty awesome! She definitely taught me that beauty comes from the inside.

-Hannelore McElheny, Graphic Designer

She read us the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr instead of bedtime stories and fastened a “Question Authority” pin on my denim jacket.

Gaby Dolceamore, Community Outreach Coordinator

My mom would let my brother and I turn our family room into a fort and leave it there for DAYS. We could play endlessly and always let our imaginations wander. She has always been so supportive and encouraged our creativity.

Abigail Truet, Marketing Assistant

My mom makes Martha Stewart look like a hack. Because of her I think I can pull any three items out of my fridge or cupboard and make an amazing meal – which is just not true. From watching her I learned a very important life lesson: things that look special, and things that feel special, are not effortless.

-Rebecca Marshall, Senior Graphic Designer

No matter how hard the wind blows, she’s always there to catch my hat before it hits the ground. Being there for all my learning experiences, the frustrations of adolescence, even the transition into adulthood. My mother has been there for it all with a smile on her face and warm words to follow.

-Sheronne Peters, Purchasing

When I was younger, my mother would tell me the story of the three little pigs at bedtime every night – but with new characters and variations at my request. Some nights the big bad wolf would huff and puff at a house made of jelly beans. Some nights it would be jello. Sometimes I’d give the three little pigs new names – AA, BB, and CC were popular at one point. I was a strange child.

Tiffany Jyang, Product Development Associate

Being a young, single mother was tough and unplanned and my mom probably never realized the extraordinary gift that she was imparting on me. She provided me with a home in which I was surrounded by four independent, strong-willed, and unique women. From my grandmother, aunts and especially mom herself, they each taught me valuable lessons that ultimately shaped who I am today. My childhood home was brimming with personality, laughter, love, and beauty regimens. I was taught that it is ok to pick up a paintbrush and climb trees, that it is ok to be someone else’s family to those without, and that sometimes it is necessary to work the night shift to put food on the table.

Jessica McDonough, Senior Graphic Designer

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Sharon Hitchcock

April 30, 2013
Sharon Hitchcock, UncommonGoods  Buyer – Jewelry & Accessories

My hometown is…
Hmmm….well, let’s see, I was born in Manhattan so I guess I am a New Yorker, but I lived in Austin, Texas for 9 years (Hook ‘em Horns!), and have also resided in Seattle, Washington, DC, and London. Now I call Brooklyn home.

I’m on the lookout for… 
Jewelry and accessories that are beautifully made with thought and care. Pieces and collections that use materials in a distinctly different way, and have a strong point of view.

I’m inspired by…
People-watching in NYC.

My guilty pleasure is…
Can I have two guilty pleasures? ’80s music is a definite. And, flea markets! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good flea market.

An uncommon fact about me…
Although I have never considered myself to be very musically inclined, I have taught myself to play the ukulele, which I think is the happiest of all instruments.

My favorite place to eat in New York City is…
For fancy-pants food I love Balthazar. I always feel French glam when I go there. To get my Mexican food fix, I head to La Esquina.

My style is…
Hard to define! After a phase of wearing all black every day, I now embrace colors and patterns. Anything with stripes has been a recent favorite. I also collect vintage jewelry and try to wear something from my collection each day.

Since working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
So much! I truly do learn something new each day. I love the collaborative environment here, and how supportive the team is of different ideas and points of view.

With a pile of stuff in front of me I would make…
(You’re given paperclips, yarn, cheesecloth, markers, and plastic beads.)

I would make a mini, colorful, and fabulous Eiffel Tower sculpture.

The Uncommon Life

How UncommonGoods Celebrated Earth Day 2013

April 23, 2013

One of the most inspiring things that gets me excited to come to work are the people that work here, but mostly their passion, enthusiasm and spirit to be part of something great.

I’m the first person (or maybe second, next to our security guard) that all new team members meet when they walk in on their first day. One of the questions I am always curious to ask is “so what brought you to UncommonGoods?” And the most popular replies include something with “B Corp,” “Better to Give” and “sustainability.”

When I sat down with the HR Manager (my boss) a few weeks ago, it didn’t take us too long to map out how the UncommonGoods team could participate in Earth Day. We knew that with our team members’ dedication we could accomplish anything… So that’s why we presented Earth Week. Why NOT celebrate the Earth for more than one day?!

With Earth Week, we presented five day’s worth of challenges for our team members to partake in, and on the fifth day, we would celebrate our efforts, encourage lasting green-behaviors and feast over our accomplishments!

We didn’t necessarily set specific days for each task, but allowed team member’s to work at their own pace. Here’s how our week panned out.

#1 – Ride your bike to work or walk from the 45th Street station
Goal: 10 bike riders and 20 walkers

This was by far the easiest goal for our team member’s to reach. We have many people located close to our headquarters in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, so commuting via a green mode of transportation is pretty popular every day. Not only did we have our usual bikers participate, but we also had teams walk to and from the subway station together. Almost all exceeding our set goal of 45th Street (we are located at the 59th Street subway stop).

Marketing Associate Rocky Taft and Merchandising Associate Ne’Quana Rollings having fun on their commute to 36 Street


Little did these guys know, they weren’t the only ones that went the extra steps! (From left to right): Cassie Tweten Delaney, Community Moderator; Abi Treut, Marketing Assistant; Rachel Goldstein, Inventory Planning Analyst; Jason Gomer, Purchasing Associate


#2 – Bring in your #5 plastics to recycle through our Take-Five-Drive
Goal: 20 recyclers

NYC has some great recycling programs and anyone can contribute by donating their unwanted #5 plastics to a participating Whole Foods. This plastic is the thicker more durable kind used for yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, aerosal caps, etc. This plastic is recycled for use as a material for every day products, including toothbrushes (my boss’ personal fave).

Although we aimed high with this goal, we landed a bit short of reaching 20 recyclers, however, we had some great donations including deli containers and pill bottles, and we emptied our break room cabinets of unwanted take-out containers, which we are bringing to the recycling center later this week.

#3 – Help weed tree beds and plant flowers around the Brooklyn Army Terminal
Goal: 30 green thumbs

UncommonGoods resides in the historical Brooklyn Army Terminal, which was built in 1918 and was the site of Elvis Presley’s deployment to Germany in 1958 (hence the photo of The King in the lobby). One thing this industrial atmosphere lacks is a lot of green space.

Similar to what we did last Earth Day, we had over 30 volunteers take two hours out of their day to weed tree beds and plant flowers around the trees within and around the Brooklyn Army Terminal. We also watered and mulched around the trees that we planted bulbs around last year – hopefully we will see those beauties sprout within the next few weeks!

Lee Griffin, Area Operations Manager


Giovanna Rosario, Warehouse Team Lead; Kris Keenan, Merchandising Associate


David Anderson, Inbound Operations Coordinator; Nicole Wang, Accounting Assistant


Ray Franco, ITC Associate; Jackie Robinson, Warehouse Associate


Matt Monsees, Marketing Analyst; Matt Disla, Warehouse Team Lead; Morgan Tanner, Production Manager


Lauren Negron, Drop Ship Associate; Jazmin Abreu, Warehouse Associate


#4 – Go to the local greenmarket and earn a $10 reimbursement
Goal: 10 veggie lovers

A task too easy to be considered a challenge!

Another great thing about living in NYC is the array of green markets in every other neighborhood, every other day of the week. The accessibility to local, fresh fruits and veggies is just another perk of city life.

Our team member’s beat this challenge and many of them are wearing the title of “veggie lover” with pride.

#5 – Bring your own non-disposable place setting to our company lunch
Goal: 50 UGooders

On the final day, we asked all team member’s to bring a plate, cup and cutlery to our monthly company lunch, in replace of our sustainable disposable products. It was great to see our break room sink piled over in dishes and the bathroom sinks filled with soapsuds (despite our maintenance team’s short grumbles).

For this Earth-inspired company lunch, we chose to go all vegetarian and local as a direct effort to minimize our carbon footprint. We (my boss and I – foodie connoisseur and foodie novice) traveled to our favorite Brooklyn spots to fill the Mediterranean-inspired menu: Damascus Bread for pita and falafel, Sahadi’s for fresh feta and hummus, and Tanoreen for the main course of mini pies and vegetarian eggplant.

On the day of the event, we set out a Flower Wreath of Wishes for our team member’s to dedicate to Earth Day 2013. They were asked to write out a promise on a flower petal and place them on the wreath, which will soon be hung in our community break room as a reminder.

Kira Snyder, Marketing Analyst

Some of the most inspiring promises our team member’s made were:

“I will plant a tree.”

“I will request fewer samples from vendors.”

“I will try to use cloth diapers for Ben for at least one week!”

And one of my faves…

“Vegan for life!”

With another Earth Day in the UncommonGoods books, I am already pondering up ways for the team to celebrate in 2014. Have any suggestions? Share your thoughts below!

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Melissa Bishop

April 17, 2013
Melissa Bishop, UncommonGoods Senior Buyer–Children’s, Leisure & Desktop

My hometown is…
Los Angeles, CA

My favorite product that I’ve brought into the assortment at UncommonGoods is…
Kinetic Sand.

I’m inspired by…
The amazing friends, family, and colleagues I am surrounded by. Also I’m a huge tech geek so I’m inspired by Kickstarter and TechCrunch.

My guilty pleasure is…
Goldfish crackers, sour candy, and young adult fiction novels.

An uncommon fact about me…
I play on two nationally competitive kickball teams. (Yes, really.)

My favorite place to eat in New York City is…
I’m a sucker for restaurants with twinkle lights and candles – and great wine lists.

My style is…
Completely mood-based – I’m a chameleon. California casual, if I had to pick a lane. Learning how to dress for my first winter has been a comedy…

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
How to navigate the subway & survive in New York City. (I started at UG the day after I moved to NYC!)

Would you rather… Have a front row spot at any sporting event you choose for the rest of your life OR get free stuff from your favorite clothing store for the rest of your life?
Definitely front row at any sporting event! (!!!) – I’m a football and baseball fanatic. Hopefully this choice comes with transportation to get me there, too, since I’m far away from my Cali teams now!

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Erin Fergusson

April 10, 2013
Erin Fergusson, UncommonGoods Senior Manager–Merchandising

My hometown is…
Richmond, VA – Short Pump to be exact.

My favorite product that I’ve brought into the assortment at UncommonGoods is…
AH! THIS IS TOO HARD! Recently, it would have to be the Bike Tube Belt with Layered Chain Buckle. This belt uses a cool recycled material in a really creative and attractive way.

And in jewelry it would have to be the Birth Month Flower Necklaces. They are so beautiful and have such a touching sentiment that our customers love. It also helps that it is my best selling necklace!

This isn’t jewelry or accessories, but it is one of my favorites that Katie and I found: USB Typewriter.
It is a stop-you-in-your-tracks wow item that gets me excited!

I’m inspired by…
Passionate people that drive big change in our world and people who live their lives to the fullest through experiences.

My guilty pleasure is…
Ice cream with extra caramel.

An uncommon fact about me…
I have seen lions take down a giraffe while on safari in Africa!

My favorite place to eat in New York City is…
Shabu-Tatsu in the East Village. You cook thin meat and veggies in a pot of boiling water, and dip them in delicious sauces. It is so yummy and pretty guilt free!

My style is…
Colorful, unique, and accessorized.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
Surrounding yourself with brilliant, creative, and inspirational people is the most fulfilling environment to work in.

Would you rather… Jog to work every day with super speed (and take the subway home) OR ride your bike home every night (but, when you got home it would mysteriously disappear from your apartment and appear at UG, so could ride it home again the next day)?
Ride my bike home every night and have my bike appear at UG, because I love riding my bike AND that would be magic!