The Evolution Of Responsible Retailing With Louise du Toit

July 1, 2022



This episode’s special guest,  Louise du Toit, President at Ganni, tackles the subject of sustainability in retail and discusses how brands can best minimize their impact on the environment.

  • What does sustainability in retail mean? How many retailers can actually call themselves sustainable, and what are the roadblocks and limitations we need to consider? How can brands make conscious choices in their supply chain to minimize waste?
  • We answer these questions and many more with this episode’s special guest, Louise du Toit, President at Ganni. She shares how Ganni has tackled the issue of sustainability, and why she prefers the term “responsible” to more accurately depict the company’s approach to environmental impact. She talks about how Ganni has made sustainability a mission in all areas of the company - from their culture to their supply chains to the way they manage excess stock.


Conversation Rundown

[ 03:15-05:24 ] Practising responsible retailing
"Sustainability" is such a hot word right now, particularly in the retail space. Brands know that consumers care about the environment and are looking for ways to decrease their carbon footprint. In an effort to stay relevant and appealing, many are stamping the term "sustainable" on their marketing collateral and website. But are they really practising what they preach? Louise has a refreshing take on greenwashing and how retailers can make conscious efforts to reduce waste in their supply chain.

[ 10:01-14:01 ] Making responsible choices in supply chain management
It's one thing to say you're acting with sustainability in mind, and quite another to make conscious choices within your supply chain, which can often make production more expensive, in order to uphold that sustainability title. Louise talks about the journey Ganni has gone through, from carbon mapping to carbon insetting, by giving tangible examples of the work they are doing at Ganni to reduce their impact on the environment, what they have to keep building towards, and why so many retail companies claim to be sustainable when they do very little to uphold that claim.

[ 15:21-19:59 ] How to manage deadstock in retail?
Louise shared her thoughts on the importance of looking back at forecasting mistakes in order to reduce waste as much as possible. No matter how well you plan in advance, human behaviour is unpredictable. There are going to be some items in your collection that don't sell as well as expected, and you're going to have to deal with that waste. She also talks about the importance of reselling and upcycling, leveraging outlets and other approaches brands can take to become more sustainable and responsible in order to manage the waste that remains and ensure the company can deal with it both profitably and responsibly.

[ 20:02-21:28 ] Resale has changed the game
Louise du Toit talks about how reselling has changed the game and how her company, Ganni, is actually rewarding customers for reselling. There is so much value now that a customer buys something that they know they can resell and certain brands have higher resale value than others. Resale websites are booming and we all have probably come across a couple of ads for a new resale site today alone. It seems like new ones are cropping up every day to satisfy the demand for sustainability and pre-loved fashion. It's time for brands to really embrace and accept this movement by becoming involved.

[ 22:57-25:19 ] What does being Customer Centric mean?
Louise says "I want to be wherever my customers shop."She talks about how Ganni approaches mixing wholesale with DTC channels to meet customers where they are. Touching on the operational challenges associated with a truly omnichannel approach in order to make the online to offline experience seamless, brands need a lot of tech and processes in place, and these systems are often highly complex. There are also a lot of fighting that can occur between teams, especially when it comes to returns and attributed revenue. But it's important to rise above that channel-based noise and think of retail in the same way that your customers do.

Meet the Experts

Louise du Toit is currently the President of North America at Ganni A/s. With over 17 years of experience in retail, she began her retail career with Acne Studios, and went on to work for Banana Republic, Sies Marjan, G-Star, and other retail apparel and fashion brands. She has her expertise in all aspects of retail leadership, including sales, customer experience, sustainability, responsibility, company culture.

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