While developer Meka Knepley is married to Pete Knepley, Principal Programmer at Epic Games — one of the creators of Fortnite Battle Royale — she set out on her own, looking for a way to improve the world during the height of the pandemic.
As the world witnessed massive shutdowns disproportionately impacting small businesses, Knepley conjured an idea to develop a frictionless shopping experience to connect consumers with businesses. ReUp is a byproduct of Knepley’s efforts and the platform welcomes brands and shoppers to join its growing community.
“I was talking to my friends, like ‘How can I make the difference?’ Some of my friends were like, ‘I’m going to go on protest’… ‘I’m going to write a paper about it’…and with me, I was like ‘I need to help people.’ ‘How can I help the community?’ And then I felt like, you can’t get to Maslow’s Hierarchy if you’re still worried about your job. So, if we can get you to a higher platform where you have your own business and you’re successful, then you might be mayor, you might go out for Senate. I felt like business ownership was the best way to help communities get ahead,” Knepley told AfroTech.
ReUp is already active and will push for a hard launch in October 2022 with an initial focus of 14 categories including beauty, personal care, lifestyle, fashion, personal grooming, and relaxation, according to information provided to AfroTech. Already, 1,000 vendors have registered their business on the platform.
As for what users should expect, Knepley describes it as a crossover between TikTok and Amazon. ReUp is a live social application with an infinite scroll wall that will allow users to watch videos related to products with the option to purchase them in one click. Artificial Intelligence will help curate a feed to the buyer’s interests.
What’s more, shoppers can bookmark, save, share, comment, or follow any selected stores and local vendors. This will be helpful as the interactions will also produce genuine and reliable customer reviews for every brand. Vendors can further enhance the experience for shoppers through their popup live feature.
“The seller can get more people interested in their products. Being a social platform, people will follow you. So, when the seller goes live, it might be an exclusive price or a one-of-a-kind item. That gets people intrigued and while they’re watching you, they can live to interact with you. They can ask questions about that product and that helps them buy because they feel a connection with the sellers,” Knepley said.
Placing Diversity And Inclusion At The ForeFront
Amongst the current features offered on ReUp, Knepley is most proud of creating a space that encourages diversity and inclusion. Therefore, she has included a category titled “badges” that will ensure vendors in underserved communities will not be overlooked. Shoppers can click on tags that can narrow down their product searches to support minority women and disabled communities, among others.
“I am proud that we have the inclusive categories that we call badges. Whether you are a minority woman, LGBTQIA+, and the disabled. I did that because you know how it is in our community. It might be March and that’s when more people shop [at] women-owned businesses because it is Women’s History month. I want it to be an everyday thing that you support those overlooked communities,” Knepley said.