In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Digital Content Manager Kristina Stidham interviews Saskia van Gendt, head of sustainability at Rothy’s, a women’s shoe and bag brand known for its sustainable knit fabric that’s made from recycled bottles. Listen as van Gendt discusses her career background in sustainability and retail, and why she was drawn to join Rothy’s earlier this year. She shares how and why Rothy’s launched the Open Innovation Coalition, a program designed to bring brands together to share resources and collectively support COVID-19 relief efforts.

van Gendt explains that Rothy’s has also donated funds to nonprofit Direct Relief and is producing face masks, both to donate to front-line workers and sell to consumers. She shares her thoughts on how consumer loyalty and behavior will change following the crisis, how she’s navigating managing a new team during this uncertain time, and her tips for other retail leaders. van Gendt discusses how she hopes to further Rothy’s sustainability efforts in her role as well as what the brand is focusing on through the rest of 2020.

An environmental scientist with over a decade of experience in sustainable manufacturing and design, Saskia is head of sustainability at Rothy’s, a global lifestyle brand best known for creating stylish, comfortable shoes from recycled plastic water bottles. At Rothy’s, Saskia develops strategies to minimize the environmental impact that Rothy’s supply chain has on the environment, advancing the brand’s sustainable innovations in materials, production, fulfillment and more.

Prior to joining Rothy’s, Saskia worked as senior director of sustainability at Method, a brand renowned for its clean, sustainable and effective cleaning products. At Method, Saskia implemented sustainability initiatives on the ground for the European business and at Method’s LEED-Platinum soap factory in Chicago. Saskia graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Environmental Science. She currently lives in Oakland and enjoys travel, yoga and vegetarian cooking.

Date: May 26, 2020

Credits: Saskia van Gendt

Duration: 27:46