Tiffany Taylor Chen shares career updates since her 2010 cover story and how Tiff’s Treats has adapted to the coronavirus.
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Taylor Chen
This month, like countless other small businesses and local companies, Austin Woman was faced with the financial ripples of COVID-19. A May issue was no longer a guarantee—without some help. Our founder, Melinda Garvey, turned to the women who have always been our loudest and best cheerleaders: our former cover women. She asked if they would lean in and support us, so in turn we can continue to support all Austin women. The responses were immediate and humbling.
Tiffany Taylor Chen, the co-founder of Tiff’s Treats and a 2010 cover woman, was one of the many women who leaned in. We’re so grateful for her support and we hope as she supported us, you will support her. We asked Chen what she’s been doing since her cover story and how Tiff’s Treats has adapted business during the coronavirus.
Austin Woman: Your Austin Woman cover followed the story of an Austin staple: Tiff’s Treats! What have been some career and life highlights since your 2010 cover story?
Tiffany Taylor Chen: It’s crazy that it’s been 10 years! A lot has changed. Since that time, I have gotten married and had twins (who are now 5). Our company has grown to 1,300 employees with 59 locations and growing. I believe at the time of the cover story we had 80 employees and three locations. We have raised $50 million in funding for future expansion.
A lot of great and happy things have happened during all that time, but one really sad part was that we recently had to say goodbye to our dog Buster, who lived to be 16 1/2 years old, and will always be our first child. He is desperately missed.
AW: Your cover story focuses on your grit and perseverance to continually grow, pivot and adapt after launching a company that experienced rapid growth. How has your career prepared you for this moment to handle such an unprecedented crisis?
TTC: One of our top five values as a company is, “We adapt and grow.” Our team was built for fast change and quick pivots and we have been able to make very quick maneuvers [during this pandemic], from introducing interaction-free delivery, to curbside service, to sourcing staples like bottled water, bread and paper towels that we are selling at cost and delivering with or without cookies. We are also partnering with local restaurants to offer a warm meal that you can gift or order for yourself in an attempt to help drive sales to restaurants who need it, as well as offer a convenient service to our customers who can add a meal to their order, or, even better, gift it to someone stuck at home. We have built our own technology, so it enabled us to make really quick changes overnight. Instead of struggling with a third party and trying to make it bend to our needs, we can actually go in and program changes to update our offerings and procedures overnight. Our whole team has been remarkable during this time and I do think it’s due to how much adapting and growing we have always done. It’s literally a part of our culture. In fact, we hired, trained and put to work over 100 new staff in one week alone.
AW: How can Austinites support you and Tiff ’s Treats right now?
TTC: Austinites are already providing us with amazing support. We would just like to say thank you to our hometown. We have gotten so many notes of encouragement thanking us for all the services we are offering. There is nothing better than receiving a positive note telling us how much a delivery of cookies meant to them right now.
WHAT IS MAKING YOU SMILE RIGHT NOW?
We are extremely lucky to have a front-row seat to human nature and it has surprised us in the most amazing ways. Customers are sending each other cookies to celebrate all the moments they are missing. From people sending treats to their grandparents in nursing homes that don’t allow visitors to remind them that they are loved to anonymous gifts to H-E-B workers who are out there helping us all stay fed, to missed 16th birthdays where the only celebration possible was one of sending cookies to one another. We are all missing each other dearly right now and to see the love pouring out through gifting has been uplifting to say the least during this stressful time.
Read more stories of our former cover women who joined our Lean In campaign.