To give you a sense of what life is like at America’s ugliest produce company, we asked our content manager Reilly to give us a sense of an average day at work. What follows is…
A Day in the Life at Imperfect produce
8:35 am- I arrive at the office, pause the episode of “America’s Test Kitchen Radio” that I’m listening to, and hop off of my bike. I’m far from the first to get to work. At Imperfect, the first team in the office is typically operations, as produce deliveries arrive early. Then comes customer care, who start arriving around 6:00 am to answer emails and respond to voicemails. The rest of the team usually arrives between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. Most of us bike to work and all of us have strong opinions about podcasts. Imperfect employees consume Serial the way most people consume cereal.
8:36 am– I walk into the office, say hi to my friends in customer care, and sit down at my desk. I make sure the essentials are in place before I start work: my notepad, the copy of “The Flavor Bible” that I’ve been using as a mouse pad, and my bag of Trader Joe’s Thai chile almonds.
8:37 am– I write out my to-do list for the day and then settle into responding to social media comments. While we get a ton of comments (thanks, everyone!), I love taking the time to respond to each and every one of them. I love this part of my job because I get to know our customers every day. I learn what they like to cook through their recipe photos, I meet their adorable pets who use our boxes as forts, and see their children excitedly unpacking fresh produce in their Instagram stories with the same zealous enthusiasm as the N64 kid. Every time I see a post about someone who has used an Imperfect box to teach their children about sustainable agriculture or eat healthier, I grin at my desk and try to adequately capture this joy in emojis.
9:05 am– As I grab a coffee, I pass Marcie, our office manager. Marcie is busy onboarding a new hire. We’re growing really quickly these days since expanding to LA. Since all full-time employees get equity in the company, Marcie has to be on top of a lot of paperwork. Thankfully, she’s super organized and is also a very passionate eater, two traits shared by all of our employees. She mentions that there’s a new pupusa place nearby and I make a note to plan a pupusa date as soon as our schedules allow.
10:00 am– Colette, our social media photographer, and I do a lap of the warehouse to gather produce for a photo shoot. I always love visiting the warehouse as it lets me stay in touch with what’s in season and reminds me of how beautifully simple our mission is.
10:07 am– Colette and I have found some particularly charismatic-looking chayote squash and I’ve already started writing the Instagram caption in my head. During our rounds in the warehouse, we run into Devin from operations. Devin helps organize the pack team and make sure that our boxes are built quickly and accurately. We’re trading some friendly trash talk today because we’ll be going head-to-head in a company top chef competition in a few weeks. Devin’s a formidable opponent. Both of us have restaurant experience, an intense work ethic, and like to use chile peppers the way most people use salt.
12:30 pm– After wrapping up the photo shoot, I take lunch with my friend Sean, who works in customer care. After devouring ban minh sandwiches, we toss a frisbee for a quick cardio pick-me-up to power us through the afternoon. While Imperfect now has over 74 employees in total, I appreciate how small the company feels and how casual the vibe is. Sean normally takes a long run during his lunch break, so I’m glad he stuck around today to play frisbee.
1:00 pm– Operations, marketing, and customer care gather for our weekly box meeting. Things move fast at Imperfect, and so this meeting helps us stay on the same page. The hail-scarred Pink Lady apples come up in discussion and I chime in that our customers really liked learning more about hail damage on Instagram and noted that they were delicious, despite the surface blemishes. Finally someone asks the question on everyone’s mind:
“When is stone fruit coming in?”
Ron, our Chief Supply Officer, answers that if the weather stays this nice, we’re looking at apricots in mid- to late-May, followed by peaches, nectarines, and the insanely juicy Santa Rosa plums that we’re all waiting for in June. I leave the meeting fantasizing about plums.
2:35 pm– I head to the kitchen to get an Imperfect mandarin orange, my go-to snack to pick me out of the post-lunch brain fog.
2:36 pm– I return to the kitchen to get mandarin oranges for the rest of the marketing team, who begged for more when they saw how juicy mine looked. Citrus envy is an occupational hazard at Imperfect.
5:05pm– After scheduling my last Tweet of the day, I pack up my bag and hop on my bike to go work out with my ultimate frisbee team, a few of whom are Imperfect customers. Before leaving, I jot down a note to create some content about how to use Chayote squash tomorrow. I unpause my podcast and hit the road.
7:38pm– Settling into dinner with my housemates, I’m especially grateful for the free produce I get every week. While the health, dental, and vision insurance are awesome, for me, the free box is the job perk I’m reminded of most frequently. This week, it yielded homemade kimchi, mirin-glazed Brussels sprouts, and a rainbow carrot salad with sesame that we can’t seem to stop eating. Since I started this job, I only go to the grocery store for shampoo and the occasional bag of frozen berries to make a post-workout smoothie with all of my Imperfect veggies.
7:43pm – I take a quick photo of dinner, upload it to Imperfect’s Instagram, and put my phone on airplane mode so I can unplug and eat with my friends. As Anderson Paak plays in the background, we clink glasses and descend into the distinctly appreciative silence of a delicious Imperfect meal.