Meet Sigita – our Sustainability Manager here at Vinted. She shares her story of the steps she took towards leadership in the sustainability field, how to match attitudes with a mission, and hints at what traits can help to succeed in a role like hers.
What is your name and job at Vinted?
My name is Sigita Žvirblytė, and I work as a Sustainability Manager here at Vinted.
When and how did you join Vinted? Why?
I joined Vinted last August, and I moved to Vilnius for the role after living abroad for the last 13 years. Having lived in London, Stockholm, Singapore, and Tokyo, moving back to my homeland is definitely a big change in my life.
For the last few years I’ve been specializing in the area of sustainability – mainly while working in the Sustainability Department at H&M Group. As I was already aware of the negative impacts of fast fashion, I had a very clear understanding that I want to pursue my career in the circular business model.
Like many other Lithuanians, I had heard about Vinted making it into the land of the unicorns! It looked like a great fit for my skills and professional goals, so I decided to be proactive and take the lead in an application. I sent Vinted an email outlining why it’s important to invest in sustainability, why they should hire me, and what I could bring to the company. At that moment I had no idea sustainability was such a key topic here, but it seems I was in the right place at the right time! I know my actions may seem a bit overconfident, but while working in sustainability, I’ve learned to take the initiative and to be persistent - it’s the only way to succeed in this space.
Also, I should mention that all around me people are also familiar with Vinted. My sister made a pin to celebrate when Vinted brought Lithuania its first Tech unicorn. I’ll take this opportunity to share the design created by her:
How is Vinted’s mission important to you?
Vinted’s mission is the main reason why I joined the company. I truly believe that Vinted has a strong potential to drive change in the fashion industry, and to alter consumer habits to more sustainable ones. This change encourages people to focus on reusability, and the multi-ownership of goods will become natural.
I’ve been on the same mission for the last five years, trying to make fashion an inclusive space that benefits employees and local communities, as well as reducing its environmental impact. I still want to be a part of it, and ensure that when the circular models expand, the same mistakes by linear fashion companies aren’t repeated.
Ultimately, the mission is to change the world, isn’t it? And I think I still haven’t lost my dream to change the world for the better since I was a kid!
Tell us about your typical work day. Do you have any morning rituals?
I think the best answer would be that there’s no ‘typical day’ here at Vinted. But I do have my own working routine that I practise every day – at the end of the workday I make a to-do list for tomorrow. This ritual helps me leave all the thoughts on the paper and not to circle around them in my head. Of course, I’m not always successful at leaving everything with a clear solution on the paper, so I also leave some space for thought. Maybe, like Mendeleev, one day I`ll have a dream where all the elements fall into place!
What makes you excited to wake up and go to work each morning?
The feeling of purpose - and my smart and ambitious colleagues!
Tell us more about your position. What makes one good at it and what tips could you share with those desiring to succeed in such a role?
Firstly, sustainability is all about collaboration and co-creation. No one succeeds alone here. In the process of co-creation your role is to be a catalyst, so you need to both initiate the discussion, and be a good listener.
In this job, you’re constantly reaching out to different people and a range of organizations. You need to take into account different focus points and priorities, and the reservations and frustrations of all the parties involved. This helps to proceed with activities and onboard different stakeholders.
Secondly, be persistent. You need to believe in the cause, give lots of energy, and be able to push forward progress in this field. You also need to be patient enough to understand that the real change will only come with two things; time, so you have to always stick to the goal, and cooperation, so that everybody works and moves together towards the same goal. Be the kid that’s patient with their marshmallow!
Last but not least – just do it! There’s no better time to come into the field of sustainability than now. It’s a wave that will change the world as much as globalization and digitalization, and the more knowledgeable people we have in the field, the smoother the transition will be.
Are there any personality traits that help to become an expert in your field?
Be curious about (and get used to) change and uncertainty. Sustainability will often feel like constructing a plane whilst flying, without the possibility to google the instructions! So a person should be brave enough to drive things forward, and willing to constantly learn.
What are the main principles you follow at work?
Work hard, play hard, and be kind. This is the motto that helps me succeed. And of course, if there’s a dog around, pet it! Petting a dog is always therapeutic and relaxing.
Do you use the Vinted app only at work, or in your personal life too? If so, what’s your way of using it?
I recently purchased a higher AOV item just to see how the process works and to research deeper into the customer's experience. However, now my motto is “less is more” – having moved so many times in recent years, you really reflect on how many things indeed you need to be happy and feel comfortable.
Can you share some fun facts about you?
Yes! When I’m put on the spot, and I simply don’t know what to say, I start making awkward jokes. For example, once I had a meeting with the president of the UK forestry industry. He was a very wealthy individual, and as he had only recently been elected to the position, he was wearing a fist-size gold medal with a thick gold chain. During our small talk, I made a joke that now he can film all the rap videos he wanted! That was a bit awkward because he definitely didn’t appreciate it.
Your favourite or dream place in the world?
On the mountainside, sitting by the fire in front of my tent with my partner.
Aiming high everyday isn’t easy. How do you relax?
I like having a packed schedule, so I usually just switch from one activity to another. My work gives me more energy than takes it away, so usually I don’t feel like my batteries are low after work.
Still, there are always stressful periods that I try to overcome in my own way. Besides the usual methods like exercise and meditation, I relax by watching my favorite reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s a perfect mix of beauty, humour, diversity, absurdity - and is a good reminder to live your truth and not to take yourself too seriously.
Recommend one piece of media to us that you think deserves someone’s attention. What role does it play in your life?
I`d recommend TED.com. This is because we can always learn something new, understand something better, or even challenge our views.
I know that TED Talks are a relatively old-school format, and they do deserve to have become a meme - but they still unite people who think that ideas have the power to change the world!