The Lead Summit Speaker Spotlight:
Giovanni Lepori, Rothy's

This week on The Lead Interview Series we sat down with Giovanni Lepori, VP Global Retail Development at Rothy’s. Rothy’s is a footwear and fashion brand transforming eco-friendly materials into wardrobe staples like shoes, bags, and more. We spoke to Giovanni about his professional journey, his approach to incorporating technology, and his upcoming session at The Lead Summit. Read the full interview below!

Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today, Giovanni. You’ve had an impressive career working at global brands like LVMH, Aesop, Prada, and others. Can you tell us about your journey to becoming VP of Global Retail Development at Rothy’s? What made you want to work in retail, and more so, in fashion? 

I followed my passion and curiosity. I find fashion and retail exciting because they’re constantly changing and evolving. It’s a combination of business and creativity, where every step is a new challenge. Rothy’s was an exciting opportunity to build something from the ground up, in a new category with a sustainability mission that I felt good about. I also have a deep respect and admiration for the founders, who had the vision to innovate in a category which had been the same for centuries.

As a VP of Global Retail, how are you using new technologies and innovation to do your job better, and to drive business? 

Commerce has been around almost since the dawn of civilization, but it was traditionally local and personal — meaning shop owners knew their clients by name and taste profile well.  The advent of multinational and national retail brands distanced us from that personal touch, while digital commerce removed the element of human interaction entirely. The next generation of technology will help us recapture the essence of those early shops, to offer a personal experience with an assortment that is tailored to the needs of the local community members.

At The Lead Summit in July, you’re speaking about translating the ethos of your brand into the physical store to reinforce brand affinity. Can you give us a sneak peek of your thoughts on this topic?

Rothy’s, like many other brands in recent history, was born online. That means that there was no physical space, no sensory experience, no personal interaction and no tangible environment for customers to connect with, beyond a screen. The digital realm offers endless possibilities in terms of assortment and inventory,  but it can’t replicate the opportunity to feel the comfort, softness, and quality of our sustainable shoes, bags and accessories. Our goal was to translate Rothy’s essence — comfortable, sustainable, and high quality products — into a physical space, to allow our existing community and newcomers the opportunity to experience the Rothy’s story firsthand. 

Like all of us, you are looking for those special shopping experiences. Can you share a memorable shopping experience and what made it special?  

It’s difficult to deliver a great experience that is standardized across all stores and that feels personal at the same time. The best experiences are always with one of a kind stores, hotels or restaurants where the owner is present and where one can feel their passion and truly feel special. If it’s simply transactional I expect efficiency. It’s amazing how many times I walk into a store and they barely acknowledge my presence. It’s the best way to lose a sale.

Join Giovanni at The Lead Summit, July 10-11 in New York City!

Brand and retail attend free!

Suggested Reading

The Indicator | July 18, 2024

The Indicator | July 18th, 2024 By Sonal GandhiChief Content Officer at The Lead Sports collaborations continue to trend as Chubbies releases its first collection with Team USA just in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics (the first in a multi-year deal) and New Balance establishes its own

Read More

The Indicator | June 28, 2024

The Indicator | June 28th, 2024 By Sonal Gandhi Chief Content Officer at The Lead Brands and retailers are testing new ways of improving loyalty beyond discounts – Footlocker is allowing customers to use points on boosting their chance of winning exclusive access while New Balance is using

Read More