Dave Bolotsky spent his early years on the Lower East Side of New York City, where his grandfather once ran a candy store just a few blocks away. His father worked for the United Nations, so his family traveled extensively, and for as long as he can remember, he has been influenced by art, individual creativity and international cultures. He also found himself surrounded by animals at a young age, during his early jobs at nature centers and animal shelters.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he managed the school's record store, he spent twelve years as a retail research analyst for Goldman, Sachs & Co. Not the typical Wall Street analyst; he also obtained a license to drive a pedicab and moonlighted as a bicycle taxi driver!
Finding the retail landscape of the late 1990s homogenized by mass-produced merchandise, Dave recognized an opportunity. Out of his interest in artistic creativity, individuality and social responsibility, he founded UncommonGoods in 1999. Dave is personally committed to improving education for less-advantaged young people. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of Comprehensive Development, Inc. (CDI), a non-profit organization that works with an innovative NYC public high school to provide tutoring, legal and medical advice, job placement, and homelessness prevention to its student body, which consists of 17-22 year-old students who are either previous drop-outs or recent immigrants to the U.S.Thomas Epting
UncommonGoods' co-founder Thomas Epting has made a career of his passions for creativity and innovation. His grandmother gave him his first camera when he was a young boy, and as a young man he refined his creative eye working for legendary photographer Irving Penn. Thomas created campaign imagery for clients like Clinique, Cole Haan, and Ralph Lauren, but some of his favorite images remain the fine art prints he created from Penn's negatives for books and exhibitions.
Although he continued to photograph in his second career, he also extended his creativity in the many roles he took on in the fast-growing start-up UncommonGoods.
In Thomas' first decade with UncommonGoods, he was responsible for providing Creative Direction for the web and catalog businesses, moving the company through three locations to accommodate its dramatic growth, and leading the Technology and Operations teams as the Chief Operating Officer.
In 2011, he assumed the newly created role as the Chief Strategy Officer, focusing on creating a roadmap of innovation for UncommonGoods' future, while continuing to lead the Creative and Technology teams. That same year, Thomas took on perhaps his most exciting and challenging responsibility to date: fathering a remarkable and uncommonly good son. Thomas resumed responsibilities as Chief Operating Officer in 2012.Jen Grim
The retail and operations wisdom of customer service manager Jen Grim keeps the team running in top form.
A native Buffalonian, Jen first broke into the job market working at concession stands at county fairs, hawking county fair fare like fudge, fried dough, lemonade and curly fries for her family. From there, she snagged jobs at Sam Goody, the Gap, J. Crew, and Bed Bath & Beyond, before she fortunately and fortuitously found herself at UncommonGoods. She also managed to get a degree in graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan along the way.
Jen lives in Queens with her three turtles and two cats. Her interests include reading books, particularly history and fiction, and hiking (she has hiked throughout Arizona and New Mexico, including the Grand Canyon). She also has underrated quilting skills.Seneca Iscove
Born and raised in the "Boogie Down" Bronx, Seneca Iscove supervises the customer service team with consummate skill and expertise.
After graduating from Clark Atlanta University with a degree in Mass Media Arts and a concentration in Radio/TV/Film, Seneca worked freelance as a writer and promoter for several production companies, and also strode into the market research field as a data specialist, finding boring stability in numbers. Going back and forth between Atlanta, where her son Red Staccato was born, and New York City, she was never able to decide if she was a "Georgia Peach" or a "Rotten Apple." After planning to write the Snapple Lady about turning that combination into a refreshing drink, she finally opted to go North headed to the Bronx to stay.
Although partial to rhythm and blues, Seneca also listens to hip-hop and anything from the 1980's, the decade that also contributed her obsession, the cartoon "Jem." She is currently finishing her first book, and she has plans to someday write the definitive "Black" science fiction novel and turn it into a film. She reads insatiably, particularly history, religion and science fiction. She also likes classical music, although that's a secret. So don't tell anyone.Casey McCarthy
Born in Toronto, Chief Technology Officer Casey McCarthy balances his strong technical skills with creative ingenuity to keep UncommonGoods on the cutting edge.
A graduate of Columbia University's Industrial Engineering program, Casey has taken graduate courses at New York University, Parson's School of Design and the School of Visual Arts to master his trade. He is responsible for all engineering issues and technology vital to the company. He honed these skills on clients such as Mercedes-Benz, Citibank, Bloomingdales, Tommy Hilfiger, S&P, Fathom.com and the Museum of the Moving Image.
Working as a lifeguard at a pool for kids who couldn't swim and as a horse and pony trainer has given Casey remarkable patience that comes in handy when solving any technical issue. But he balances the left side of his brain with a passion to learn the acoustic guitar, drawing and painting projects and building sculptures from wood and clay.
A snowboarder, mountain biker and basketball and softball player, Casey has lived in the East Village for seven years, and despite his desire for outdoor adventures and international travel, loves the people watching of the city.Carolyn Topp
As merchandising director, Carolyn Topp oversees the merchants' selection of products for the site and the catalog as well as tossing her expertise over to various fields like press relations, general business strategy and planning.
After beginning her career at Goldman Sachs on the MBS - or, for those who have managed to recuse themselves from Wall Street parlance, mortgage-backed securities - trading desk, she went on to do M&A - that's what they call mergers and acquisitions when they are in a hurry - and business restructuring work. She soon left Wall Street parlance, though, to pursue an interest in creative businesses and merchandising, starting as an accessories buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, then going on to work in product development for a designer. Next she had the chance to join Tommy Hilfiger during the corporation's growth explosion, then had the chance join Coach, and subsequently went to work for E&Y, where she was responsible for global research and publications on retail and e-commerce. Finally out on her own for a few years as an independent management consultant, she was a volunteer with the Arts & Business Council, started a business - Scentimental Fools - and created a line of bath & body products.
Classically trained at the cello and piano, Carolyn played semi-professionally in chamber groups for a number of years. She lives in a nineteenth century-style house in Jersey City, where she lives with a sea captain - she has sailed all over, on a side note, including the Mediterranean and the Bahamas - and two pets - an Airedale Terrier named Blake and a 21-pound orange cat named MarmaDuke.
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