Italian born, Giorgia was working at Versace as Head of Product for Versace Jeans when she decided to pursue an MBA to expand her business knowledge.
It was only after graduating and a short time at luxury marketplace Farfetch, she quickly realised her desire to remain in the fashion world was not her true passion. When the idea of Wype came along, Giorgia decided to jump at the opportunity of not only solving a real problem while trying to do something for the environment but utilise her business skills within her own entrepreneurial start-up. In the words of Giorgia “I’d rather wipe ass than work in luxury fashion again! Personally, I found that the luxury fashion industry seemed guided by principles that did not resonate with me. Fashion promotes a seasonal throwaway culture, largely based on an excessive reliance on appearance and status, rather than substance. Wype is responding to a genuine concern and tackling it head on.”
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I was born in Italy and raised in a multicultural environment; my family is Italian/ American/ Russian but they also lived all over before ending up in Milan. I was sent to international school from a young age, where I learnt to speak English fluently. Most of my studies after high school were targeted at the pursuit of a career in fashion. I studied at FIT NYC and at the Royal Antwerp Academy, before settling down in Milan working as a product developer at Versace. It was while working as Head of Product for Versace Jeans that I realised that as I progressed to more senior roles, my lack of business knowledge was hindering my career progression. I also had a hunch that the Luxury Fashion industry was far behind on many business practices, and I was curious to see what was out there as far as innovation. So, I pursued an MBA at London Business School, which was an incredible and life changing experience. After that, I was tempted to return to the Fashion industry through a job opportunity at Farfetch, the luxury marketplace. It was not long before I made up my mind and decided that fashion and luxury didn’t align with my long-term aspirations and with what I wanted to contribute to society. So when I had the idea for Wype, I jumped at the opportunity to start my own company. Wype is an eco-friendly wet wipe alternative that can be used to boost your intimate hygiene without polluting the waterways. The idea came along when I was living in the UK and missed my bidet, but I also found out that the main alternative, wet wipes, are extremely harmful for the environment. A year and a half later, I am CEO and co-founder at Wype, and am not looking back.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
When I was young, I was sure that I would spend my entire life climbing the ladder of luxury fashion. I went to some of the best fashion schools, and by 25 I had a dream job in a dream company. I was also the unhappiest that I have ever been. By the time I got out to pursue my MBA I was on the edge of a breakdown – I actually almost didn’t go to the MBA because I was in such a state, I thought I wouldn’t be able to cope. Since then, I have been much more impulsive and followed my gut feelings about career choices, rather than thinking about the perceived value that society would attach to my role, or the preconceived notions that I assimilated during a lifetime of what “success” should look like.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
I certainly started my life in a very privileged position, racially and economically, so I can’t complain. Of course, there were challenges, but I was lucky enough to have a lot of open doors to choose from, and to only need the good sense to know which ones to take (TBD whether I chose the right ones or not).
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Creating an identity for myself that wasn’t necessarily supported or encouraged by my upbringing. Deciding for myself that happiness is the most important metric of success to aim for.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Jumping in the deep end without knowing if I could make it over and over again, if I had to have rationally measured my chances of success every step of the way and acted accordingly, I wouldn’t have done half of the things I ended up doing.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I think mentoring is great! I haven’t done any mentoring and I haven’t really received any as well, but I’d say it was a matter of timing, or being at the right place at the right time. I do tend to be on the introverted side of the spectrum, so things have to click in a certain way for me to build new connections and relationships. I guess it’s one of my flaws, but I would love to mentor or be mentored if the conditions were right.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Keep monitoring diversity and inclusion metrics in corporates and industries as a whole. Use these stats to hold these entities accountable. Push for male awareness, education and alliance towards the issue.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Sign up for a team sport, and buy Amazon shares.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
The next challenge is our crowdfund! We’re about to start fundraising on Indiegogo for our single-use-plastic free applicator Wype Refill, and we literally spend every single day working on making that happen. Being able to eliminate all single-use-plastic from our product has been our goal for so long, and we are so close to making it happen we can feel it!!! It’s been such a long and bumpy road. Advertising a taboo product has been incredibly challenging, but I am sure that this community exists (I am one of them, I use Wype every day) and I can’t wait to see them come together.
Long-term, we want to be the go-to brand for toilet time. It’s time we took better care of our privates.
WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of HeForShe interviews, including Suki Sandhu, Philip Baldwin, Asif Sadiq MBE, Rob Neil OBE and many more. You can read about all the amazing men championing gender equality here.