How do you explain your profession to people outside of the industry? What do you find most exciting and/or rewarding about this work?
Reverse Supply Chain is an industry that every consumer contributes to, but few know anything about. Essentially, I explain my job as Director of Brand Marketing as amplifying awareness for what happens to our retail returns once we take them back to the store or send them back to the online retailer we purchased them from. Returns are not only a (financial) burden for many retailers whose systems and policies were set up before returns became a $500+ billion annual problem, but also for the environment as millions of tons of unwanted products are sent to landfills each year. What is most rewarding about my work is that goTRG prevents these products from needlessly ending up in the trash. We built technology to route returns and overstock inventory to the most direct, profitable resale path and find new homes for these items on the secondary market. I sleep peacefully at night knowing that the work I do every day is helping contribute to a more circular economy and helping extend the lives and use of millions of products each year.
What milestone or accomplishment have you made in your career that you are most proud of?
In 2016, I made the decision to leave a cushy job where I was raising capital from institutional investors on behalf of a real estate investment manager, and pursue an idea I had for a returns business. I built an app called ReturnRunners, which allowed consumers to schedule pickup for their retail returns. We would consolidate inventory and work with retailers to get merchandise back to the stores or ship them back. We worked with 80+ brands and helped make thousands of returns on behalf of our customers. It is very scary to leave a secure job and pursue something where the result is unknown, especially when trying to build a life, start a family, etc. However, it’s also extremely rewarding to build something out of nothing that people use every day.
What is one notable achievement (personal or professional) that you've made over the past year?
Last year, I led the launch of a brand called goMINT. We partnered with Walmart to take returned electronics (tablets, Airpods, laptops, etc.) and refurbish them to MINT condition. We repackaged these like-new products in sleek new boxes and sent them back to stores to be resold across the country. I am proud of this program because it was a true example of a fully-closed supply chain loop. Products that were purchased and returned in-store were sent to us, and we successfully provided value-add refurbishment services. We then sent those products back to shelves so that our retail client could realize the full revenue potential for the resale of those items. Additionally, it gave price-conscious shoppers access to premium brand products at a more affordable pricepoint, since the inventory was preowned. In one year, we expanded the program from 30 to more than 100 stores across the U.S. and sold thousands of goMINT products.
What is a piece of media that has inspired you professionally?
Recently, our Chief Operating Officer gave me a copy of “Working Backwards,” which provides an inside look into how the Amazon business runs. There are so many important insights I gleaned from how to run meetings efficiently, to the importance of thoroughly recruiting the right kind of candidates and the concept of Bar Raising. From an external branding perspective, I am always thinking about our clients and what pain point we are solving for them. From the book, the concept of working backwards as a way to validate products and ideas resonated the most. Essentially, if there was a concept Amazon wanted to pursue, they would start by creating a press release and list of FAQ’s as a way to hone in on the most important features of the product and validate its usefulness. By preparing these documents at the onset, it ensures team alignment and offers a roadmap for what we are building, while also providing a succinct narrative for the products and services we sell.
Please share one fun or surprising fact about yourself:
In high school, I was selected to participate on a golf team that represented the USA and traveled to Europe to compete in a match against team Scotland.