Georgie Hyatt, Co-Founder of fashion rental platform Rotaro, joins us for the latest instalment of From The Desk Of...
Having started her career at WGSN, a globally renowned trend forecasting and consumer insight business, Hyatt worked closely with fashion brands, helping them to enter new markets, implement trends, and carry out sustainable practises. Whilst here she became interested in making fashion more circular through rental platforms as a sustainable shopping alternative. Rotaro has now become one the UK’s leading fashion rental platforms, working directly with some of the most sought after contemporary womenswear designers: from ROTATE to Cecilie Bahnsen and RIXO.
How do you start your days?
Walking my dog, Cabbage, or a run with my friends. We have a running club called ‘The Primrose Hill Plonkers’.
What’s your go-to uniform?
Masculine suit trousers, a white T-shirt, and chunky loafers.
Describe your desk/workspace…
I work between home and a workspace with my team. I love working from home as I am more efficient, but working as a team really energises me.
Define your aesthetic…
Expressive, fun, over-the-top. It’s really eclectic, and I absolutely love drawing inspiration from the 70s.
Identify something in your workspace that’s specific to you (and why)..
I absolutely adore an objet and beautiful spaces. The background of my Zoom call when working from home is very curated, and made up of things like an Anissa Kermiche candle stick holder, lots of vintage glassware and vases, business books, and coffee table books.
What are your workspace essentials?
A laptop stand so that I don’t sit hunched over my laptop and a one litre water bottle to stay hydrated.
What time of the day are you at your most creative?
I am more creative in the evening as I am naturally a night owl. However, I am more effective and focused in the morning.
Work takes you most frequently to…
I spend most of my time in Soho for work and feel really energised being back in the city and around people.
What’s your go-to lunch order?
A Joe & The Juice spicy tuna sandwich with extra avocado, it’s really quick and I only think about food when I am already hungry. Something I’d like to work on is making more time for a proper lunch break during the day.
What did you study in school/university?
I did an Undergraduate degree in Psychology, English, and Media at the University of Cape Town. Then an Honours degree in Business Management and Marketing. I wasn’t sure what career I wanted to pursue when I started studying, but fortuitously everything I studied I’ve ended up benefitting from at Rotaro.
What is the biggest career risk you’ve ever taken?
Leaving my dream job to start Rotaro!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love being able to use our business as a vessel to do good and change the fashion industry. I love collaborating with our brand partners and various stakeholders to drive the fashion industry forward. I really believe the future of fashion lies in collaboration.
And the most challenging?
We have been a compact team over the last couple of years, I have had to wear multiple hats and do a bit of everything. I’m a perfectionist so I feel critical of myself when I am trying to do too many things at once.
What were some hurdles you’ve had to overcome in your career thus far?
Not being “qualified” for a role in the past. There is always a way to get to the position you want to be in, even if it requires a few side steps. I started at WGSN as an intern, and worked my way up through a couple of teams to my dream role in the consulting team.
What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out to everyone in your network. People are more than willing to give you advice. Don’t be afraid to be bold too! I found one of our incredible board members, who is a Vice President at FARFETCH, by reaching out to her on LinkedIn and offering her a job.
Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?
I look to a few women in business for guidance and advice. I am so inspired by incredible women in tech and fashion disrupting industries.
The best advice you’ve ever received?
Turn off your phone on the weekends.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I am still learning this! This year I am really making a concerted effort to dedicate more time to having fun. I have a tendency to take myself and Rotaro too seriously sometimes, but I have brilliant friends who help me tread more lightly through life.
What was the lightbulb moment which sparked the idea for your fashion rental platform?
During my time at WGSN I witnessed first-hand the rapid increase of overproduction and overconsumption of fashion. Simultaneously, as a forecasting agency, we were looking at the future of fashion, and noticing that re-commerce was absolutely the future. I specifically saw a gap in the rental market for a platform to work directly with brands to help them enter the circular fashion economy.
What sets it apart from other fashion rental platforms?
Our mission is to change consumer behaviour away from one-off fashion purchases towards renting. In order to achieve this, we needed to make rental as seamless as possible. Because we only work directly with brands and hold our stock centrally, as a customer, you’re able to rent multiple sizes, and full outfits from multiple brands, with next day, guaranteed delivery.
How do you think consumer attitudes are shifting towards more sustainable fashion?
The pandemic offered us the opportunity to slow down and reconsider our relationship towards fashion, ownership and “stuff”. We are now more aware of alternative, circular ways to consume fashion like resale, rental, and repairs. However, we can’t ignore the fact that whilst sustainable fashion consumption is increasing, so are major fast-fashion players. In order to drive fast fashion to extinction, we need to ensure that sustainable fashion options are priced competitively. This is very important to us at Rotaro, democratising well-made fashion.
What are you working on right now?
Growing team Rotaro! We are hiring quite a few new roles, which is really exciting. As well as bringing incredible new brands on board: like launching Ganni and Rejina Pyo in the next month.
What’s next for Rotaro?
We have a big year ahead! We are launching an app in the summer and introducing some fantastic new brands. We work with brands on a white label basis too, to offer them rental for their own brand, so I am looking forward to really driving the fashion rental industry forward on all fronts.
What does it take to be a female entrepreneur?
Resilience! Sometimes you’ll hear one hundred ‘nos’ before you hear a ‘yes’.