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The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Shao Li

April 1, 2014

Shao Li
Shao Li, UncommonGoods Senior Manager – Operations
My hometown is…
I was born in Northern China and moved to Shenzhen, a Southern city next to Hong Kong, at an age of 6.

When I was little, I dreamed of…
Being a general, leading an army to conquer the world so I can print my own currency and have unlimited cash.

My favorite place to hang out in New York City is…
Chinatown, I love the food there!

The most challenging thing I’ve ever done is…
Swim 5 miles non-stop at an age of 11 in cold water.

My favorite process in the UncommonGoods Warehouse is…
Conveyors! I love to see them in action!

An uncommon fact about me…
I have the ability to fall asleep in a few minutes even with a lot of noise around me. There were a few times that I fell asleep while people were still talking to me.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
How talented people are here and I should never stop learning from the people around me.

Would you rather…be able to control your dreams, or to watch them on video the next day?

I would rather be able to do both! So I can review my dreams the next day to figure out what can be done better so next time I can control and make a better dream!

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Kenesha Phillip

January 30, 2014
Kenesha Phillip | UncommonGoods
Kenesha Phillip, UncommonGoods Area Operations Manager

My hometown is…
St. George’s, Grenada. It’s a tiny island in the Caribbean, literally a dot on the world map.

An uncommon fact about me…
I took a year off after High School to spend time teaching underserved middle school students how to prepare for the high school. It is still one of the best experiences of my life.

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
I’ve gained some new skills, but most importantly I’ve learned to trust my instincts. Ops [Operations] can be very unpredictable. Strong instincts and a strong voice are the difference makers.

The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is…
My parents in love…

Something that always makes me laugh…
My best friend, we laugh at any and everything. Our time together is defined by dancing to Beyoncé and laughing.

My favorite process in the UncommonGoods Warehouse is…
I don’t have a favorite process. In the warehouse the sum is definitely greater than its parts.

If a magical being came down from the sky and offered me 3 wishes, I’d wish for…
1. Good health
2. More time with my grandmother
3. For all humans to recognize each other’s humanity (if that makes sense)

When I’m not at work, you’ll find me…
On theglamsavvylife.com dishing on accessible style, hair and my life.

Would you rather…Win the lottery, or live twice as long (with good health)?
Neither. As the poet Biggie Smalls says “Mo Money, Mo Problems” and living twice as long seems like a good excuse to waste time and take life for granted.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Rachel Goldstein

January 20, 2014
Rachel Goldstein | UncommonGoods
Rachel Goldstein, UncommonGoods Planner

My home town is…
Annapolis, MD

The word that best describes me is…
Is it not one of the most difficult questions to describe yourself in one word? If I have to….optimistic :).

My favorite thing about working in the Purchasing and Transportation department is…
My team. They are the best collaborators…and bakers…and diorama makers. Dioramans? Dioramaists? Anyway, the list goes on for the reasons why I think they’re so wonderful. (Here’s proof of Purch & Transpo’s awesome diorama skills. )

I’m inspired by…
The kindness of strangers. I live by the mantra that you don’t have to know someone to help them in whatever small or large way you can.

If I could become an expert on one thing it would be…

The inner workings of the NYC Subway!

My favorite place to hang out in New York City is…
The East River Promenade. Every time I look back at the skyline I feel so lucky to live here.

An uncommon fact about me…
Due to a year stint of intensive studying and a summer living in China, I speak a little bit of Mandarin.

Since working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
That a long commute can be made less stressful if you get to see the Brooklyn Bridge for a few minutes in the middle of the ride over the East River.

Would you rather…model every hat UncommonGoods sells for the catalog and website OR test every new UncommonGoods office item?
Can I test all of our Tabletop items instead? I love being in the kitchen! I’ll bring in a thank you present….

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Solomon Ademuwagun

November 24, 2013

Solomon Ademuwagun | UncommonGoodsSolomon Ademuwagun, Quality Assurance Analyst
My hometown is…
New York City

I’m inspired by…
Seeing others persevere even when life seems to tell them to give up.

My guilty pleasure is…
Watching action movies at an extremely high volume. I’m a home theater buff. You would think my neighbor would complain, but he’s an action buff too. He’ll just knock on my door with pizza and a six pack and we’ll just enjoy the show.

The best customer interaction I’ve had at UncommonGoods was…
When I answered the phone and the customer said I sounded so proper and I had a lovely British accent. (I’m from New York!)

My style is…
Low key.

An uncommon fact about me…
I memorized the entire NYC subway map at the age of three.

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
How to make beer with one of the fabulous beer making kits we sell! I am also more creative and learned that there are usually several ways to successfully solve a problem.

Would you rather… travel in space for a week, or in a submarine (presuming there will be great sightseeing in either mode)?
I’d definitely travel in space!! Knowing that it takes several thousand years for the light of some stars to reach us is fascinating. What if there are civilizations that orbit those stars? Do they still exist?

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Morgan Tanner

September 19, 2013
Morgan Tanner UncommonGoods Production Manager
Morgan Tanner, UncommonGoods Senior Production Manager

My favorite product that I helped develop is…
It’s a toss-up – either the Major Scale Musical Wine Glasses or the My Life Story–So Far journal. Though both are appreciably different in what they represent – one is a thoughtful look back on one’s life and the other a fun way to spend a meal and/or drinks – they both took a great deal of consideration and care in terms of execution.I’m inspired by…
Those who have the conviction to think for themselves and make the right decisions.

My guilty pleasure is…
Everything artisanal (chocolate and coffee, specifically) that I consume – generally inefficient production but entirely worth it!

An uncommon fact about me…
I love durian. I hear this is uncommon.

My favorite place to eat in New York City is…
Singular is unfair. If I had to decide – brunch at Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens is a definite go-to.

When I’m not working I’m probably…
Listening to Freakonomics podcasts, reading up on longform.org articles, and driving north along the Hudson River (not simultaneously!).

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
Giving people a sense of ownership can inspire pride and effort like nothing else. That a company with a great mission can attract a lot of really smart, creative, and conscientious individuals.

If you could teleport to another location for 24 hours with no limitations, where would you go and what would you do?
Ticket for one? Probably wherever my fiancée is. We’d hang. For two? I’m transporting to North Shore Oahu. In addition to teleporting I’m also going to change the position of the Earth, make it winter there for extra big surf, eat spam musubi and observe.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Kenya Wilson

September 2, 2013
UncommonGoods Customer Service Supervisor Kenya Wilson
Kenya Wilson, UncommonGoods Customer Service Supervisor

My hometown is…
Richmond, Virginia

The best customer interaction I’ve had at UncommonGoods was…
I spoke with a customer once who now orders with us by mail. She is a retired writer. Twice she sent me a letter with her orders (she refers to me as Kenya, the girl from Brooklyn). She writes beautifully about her travels through Kenya, and about why she loves that UncommonGoods gives back.

I’m inspired by…
It changes. Music is my go to, though, for inspiration. Depending on what type of inspiration I need, I know just where to go on my playlist for it. I am also inspired when I see my friends succeed.

My guilty pleasure is…
Coffee. I love the taste and the smell of it. If I let myself, I could drink it all day.

An uncommon fact about me…
I am also an actor.

My favorite thing about living in New York City is…
The diversity. I moved here on my own one month after graduating high school. I knew I wanted to make New York my home. I love it here.

My style is…
I’m not sure! Whatever makes me feel most comfortable.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
Just how many people in this world actually do care about sustainability. That they will support it in any way they can. Another inspiration!

Would you rather…Get to hang out with your favorite actor for an entire day or get an all-expenses paid week-long trip to any destination you choose?
I’d love to spend the day with Sidney Poitier.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Tawana Chung

August 21, 2013
Customer Service Team Lead Tawana Chung- UncommonGoods
Tawana Chung, UncommonGoods Customer Service Supervisor

My hometown is…
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. However, I grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

The best customer interaction I’ve had at UncommonGoods was…
When I returned a package to a customer that was mistakenly delivered here for the holiday season. It was a box filled with handmade gifts by her grandchildren. Although it was 5 months after Christmas, she was so happy that she cried. That made me feel really good.

I’m inspired by…
A host of people and things! Children–because they are so blunt yet carefree. My aunt Michelle, who is simply AMAZING in every aspect!

My guilty pleasure is…
Cake and ice cream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An uncommon fact about me…
I play the piano, clarinet, saxophone, snare drums, bongo drums, steelpan and a little flute.

My favorite place to hang out in New York City is…
Food/farmer markets! Any and all!

My style is…
Whatever is clean! Haha! Seriously I have no clue.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
A lot about repurposing, reclaimed, and recycled items and their programs and benefits.

Would you rather…Be able to teleport to and from work every day OR have any car you choose and never have to pay for gas?
Oh, I’d much rather teleport! Ooooh and scare the wits out of someone!

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Matthew Disla

August 19, 2013

UncommonGoods Warehouse Lead Matthew Disla

Matthew Disla, UncommonGoods Operations Team Lead
My hometown is…
Brooklyn, NY

My favorite process in the UncommonGoods warehouse is…
I love auditing!! I get first-hand knowledge from receiving and handling the merchandise. Plus I get to see new merchandise that comes in so I know what I want to buy!

I’m inspired by…
Art. I’m an artist so any illustrations and lots of colors send me on a creative binge!

The best gift anyone has given me was…
My ex-girlfriend gave me a vintage 1984 Soundwave figure from Transformers. We broke up shortly after, but I got to keep Soundwave.

An uncommon fact about me…
I used to have a lip ring, but took it out after I found a job in advertising. It’s okay, I still have my tongue and left nipple pierced.

When I’m not working, I’m probably…
Drawing. I can’t stop. If there is paper around, I must draw on it!!

The word that best describes me…
Easy-going.

Working at UncommonGoods, I’ve learned…
That there is a company that actually cares about its customers and workers, not just about making money. I feel like this is my second family, and it’s a reunion that takes place five days a week and I get paid to attend.

Would you rather … Relive every year of the ’80s or be a band member of The Smiths?
I would give anything to say I wrote the song “I Won’t Share You” by The Smiths. Definitely a band member… preferably, the lead singer.

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