February 24, 2022
Gopuff has assembled an entrepreneurial and award-winning team of experts across engineering and technology, supply chain, growth, marketing, business development, finance, and more. With experience working at leading organizations like Airbnb, Amazon, Anheuser-Busch, Alibaba, Comcast, Deliveroo, Target, Uber and Walmart, the Gopuff team brings decades of experience across multiple industries. Today, we’ll get to know one of those individuals: Taylor Reed, a category manager on the merchandising team focusing on diverse and inclusive assortment development.
In her relatively short amount of time at Gopuff, Taylor has launched several high-impact initiatives including Gopuff’s business accelerator program, Put Me On, and our newest in-app category, Say it Loud, which houses Black-owned and -founded brands available on Gopuff.
Sanya Brown, Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Gopuff, recently interviewed Taylor to learn more about her background and experience at Gopuff – read on for their discussion!
Interested in joining our team? Check out our careers page here and learn more about life at Gopuff on our LinkedIn page here! And be sure to check out the Put Me On program and Say it Loud category on Gopuff!
Sanya: Can you tell us a little bit about your career history?
Taylor: I studied merchandising and I’ve worked for a couple of different retailers in the past. One of my first jobs in merch was buying appliances for Sears and then Payless Shoes buying kids shoes and accessories. I definitely learned a lot during my time at both organizations. After that, I went to 7-Eleven as a product developer and category manager on their private label; it was super cool.
Sanya: How did you find your way to Gopuff?
Taylor: During the pandemic, I was looking for something new and fulfilling. I had been in merchandising for years and couldn’t find a job that was really engaging. I had never heard of Gopuff, but saw ads and articles and decided to look into it. When I did, I saw a lot of focus on diversity and entrepreneurship – something I really admire – and decided to reach out even though they weren’t looking to hire anyone with my skill set.
I was able to get in touch with Gopuff’s Director of Merchandising, Whitney Johnson, and made my case of why I wanted to join Gopuff even though she wasn’t hiring. I told her about my career path, my interests, and that I wanted to work with the communities I cared about. Whitney said she had a role that had not been posted yet – one that was perfect just for me! She then told me about an accelerator program the team was working on and how I could be a part of it. Now, focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) in merchandising at Gopuff, I’m super happy with the work I’m able to do here.
Sanya: What excites you about working at Gopuff?
Taylor: Knowing that this company is young and has room for growth is really exciting. We’re able to make an impact at a younger and more entrepreneurial company – you can shape new programs and make changes that have a great impact at Gopuff more than you would be able to at older or more bureaucratic organizations that are more stuck in their ways or adverse to change.
Sanya: How do you put the customer first in your role?
Taylor: In my eyes, what matters to a lot of customers is seeing representation through our products in-app. All customers look different so we should make sure that representation is there in all aspects, through different categories and moments. The brands that I work with have diverse stories behind them that, hopefully, our customers can see themselves in. We should do our best to amplify these brands and their stories to create a deeper connection between customer and company.
Sanya: You’re the brains behind some of our newest programs amplifying Black-owned brands and entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. Can you tell us about those projects?
Taylor: So, the projects I’ve been focusing on recently are Put Me On and Say it Loud. Put Me On is our business accelerator program and Say it Loud is a destination in-app for customers who want to support Black-owned businesses – both are built to amplify Black- and minority-owned or led brands. The purpose of these projects is to create avenues for these brands to find success, and give them the tools they need to sustain that success well beyond Gopuff. Overall, the goal of these projects is to break down barriers in the CPG industry and level the playing field.
Sanya: How would you say your approach to those programs is different from other accelerator programs out there?
Taylor: In our work supporting entrepreneurs we’re also taking an entrepreneurial approach. Rather than developing curriculum or support systems in a vacuum, we’re approaching each Put Me On class with a fresh set of questions, working with each brand to identify their unique needs and then identify ways to address those needs.
With Say It Loud, we wanted to make it clear that these brands are not an afterthought, and deserve all the recognition in the world. These projects aren’t just for one day or one month during Black History Month. We’re committed to these initiatives and the mission behind them – supporting small businesses and giving them the love they deserve all year long.
Sanya: What advice do you have for others just starting out in their career?
Taylor: From a merchandising standpoint, I think the biggest thing is connecting with people. You never know who could help you or give you opportunities. Whatever connections you make, don’t be afraid to use them! Also – especially in DEI&B, don’t be afraid to vocalize the uncomfortable things: those things need to be said and can make or break the issue. Find the courage to call it out and voice your opinion, it can make a world of difference!
Sanya: What’s your favorite or most frequently ordered product on Gopuff?
Taylor: I would say Cheeto Puffs or Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Pint.