Introducing Deborah Richert, Hyosung North American West Marketing Manager / Performance Textiles
Story | October 26, 2020
Based in Portland, Oregon, the sports brand mecca of the United States, Deborah is an integral member of our Global Brand Marketing Team. With her extensive background in brand sales and marketing, not to mention textile marketing, Deborah has built long-standing working relationships with global brands. At Hyosung, Deborah works with her valuable brand network to bring new fiber and sustainable solutions to their product offerings. Perhaps you’ve met Deborah at a trade show, on a plane, or in a yoga class, however, if not, here’s a little introduction. We hope you get the opportunity to meet her in person soon!
What got you involved in sports product sales and merchandising?
As a teen, my goal was to travel the world and to be in fashion. I grew up watching and admiring NIKE track athlete Steve Prefontaine train in Oregon, which inspired me to join the sports and athletic industry. Upon getting my degree in Apparel Merchandising and Textile Management, I joined NIKE where I spent 12 years in various sales and merchandising roles
How did you move into marketing textiles and then eventually deeper into the supply chain of marketing performance fibers?
An executive colleague from my NIKE days recommended me to one of her favorite performance textile manufacturers – Schoeller Textil North America office headquartered in Seattle. The North American President was searching for a candidate who had a brand sales and marketing background rather than the usual raw materials/product development experience. When the President retired and the office moved to the East Coast, I knew I wanted to go deeper in my knowledge of textiles and still work with all of my brand clients, so made the move to Hyosung.
How would you describe the difference between your role in textile sales and marketing versus fiber sales and marketing?
Sustainability in the apparel industry has always been an interest to me in my career. Taking my knowledge from one of the most respected European performance fabric manufacturers that prioritized sustainability through its entire manufacturing process, I saw an opportunity to be a part of the change that started at the fiber level. Consumers, who are younger and more self-aware of their carbon footprint, have been demanding more sustainable practices from the brands – and the big brands who are listening are seeking solutions from the first tiers of the supply chain.
What do you like best about your role?
Finding that spark of connection with a brand client, where many months and sometimes years after collaborating on product innovations, they are grateful that my persistence and patience has paid off.
Do you have a favorite Hyosung fiber and if so, what is it?
This is similar to asking who my favorite child is! I love the blend of creora® Power Fit and aqua-X for compression and cooling/wicking in my yoga leggings. As I practice power vinyasa and hot yoga, having the stretch with recovery and not overheating in my yoga practice is a huge benefit.
What has been one of your memorable experiences at Hyosung?
During a large dinner for our global sales team during a trade show, I was called up to the stage and only heard my name within the speech, which was in Mandarin. A spotlight shone on me and had to change out of my Converse sneakers to my heels to walk to the stage – after three (perhaps more) shots of Soju!
Who are a few idols that inspire you and why?
Anthony Bourdain. His first book “Kitchen Confidential” was raw, sobering, and he didn’t give a damn if you cared. He loved his kitchen team of comrades. He also loved to travel, not just for the food, but to also hear and taste the stories from the people he met – and to me, he did this with grace and gravitas.
As an athlete, I know fitness is important to you. What do you do to keep fit these days and what else gives you joy in your free time?
Ha! As we go through the decades of your body aging, one or two of my favorite fitness pursuits have had to give way to another. That and it is harder to carve out the time I used to with my heavy business travel. Yoga has been my go-to for the past ten years and my vacations have revolved around yoga retreats around the world. I still call myself a cyclist. And because I also love food, I’m always on the hunt for the joy of interesting eats and drinks no matter where I am.
Any COVID-19 indulgences?
To support local restaurants, I order a full meal from one of my favorite restaurants in my city once a week for pick up. Riding my bike to DQ for a vanilla soft serve ice cream cone!