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IAM2071 – CEO and Business Innovator Creates a Fresh Approach to Textile Waste

Podcast Interview with Viktoria Kanar

In this episode, we have Viktoria Kanar, a fashion producer, entrepreneur, innovator, and problem solver.

Viktoria collaborates with major local and international organizations such as LVMH, Tel Aviv Municipality, Tel Aviv Fashion Week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Israel, and many, many more.

She shares her journey working in a PR agency and running campaigns for clients in the fashion industry and her involvement with Savvy Fashion Week and their growing concern about the industry’s lack of responsibility for its environmental impact.

The conversation highlights the importance of diverse conversations and thoughts while maintaining boundaries and staying true to the mission.

WebsiteRe-Fresh Global
LinkedIn: Viktoria Kanar

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Viktoria Kanar Teaser 00:00

Ultimately, I realized that the problem is so big. We're actually talking about almost a hundred million tons of text aways every year that are being left behind. And I did not find anybody, any approach, or even a group of organizations or companies which were able to actually tackle this big problem at once and look for sustainable, but also really doable and realistic solution for that.

Intro 00:31

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:59

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Viktoria Kanar. Victoria, excited to have you on the show.

Viktoria Kanar 01:07

I'm so excited to be here with you.

Gresham Harkless 01:10

Yes, absolutely. You're doing so many phenomenal things. So I'm super inspired to talk about Viktoria and all the awesome things before we jump into the interview. And as a fashion producer and entrepreneur, Viktoria brings together key experts and innovators from around the world to develop new and circular initiatives that will have a long term impact on how we manufacture, purchase, sell, and recycle textiles.

Viktoria had the pleasure to work with major local and international organizations such as LVMH, Tel Aviv Municipality, Tel Aviv Fashion Week, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Israel, and many, many more. And before we popped into this interview, I was reading a little bit more about Viktoria.

She's definitely an Innovator. She's definitely a Problem-solver as well too. And I was listening to one of her interviews and she said, where there's a problem, there can also be a solution. If you hear all the things that I'm sure we're gonna talk about today, you'll see why she said that.

And you don't have to really choose either or, whether you can make an impact or do good. I love that she embodies the fact that you can do both and you can do both better. So super excited to have you on the show, Viktoria. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

Viktoria Kanar 02:14

Oh, yes, I am.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:16

Awesome. Well, let's get it started then. So to kick everything off, let's rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Viktoria Kanar 02:24

It was completely by accident. I had a PR agency before I became a startup CEO, and I was a partner there. And but and we did a lot of amazing things, and it was all great. But I didn't really see myself as someone that one day would actually represent a new technology and, a whole new approach, how to solve one of the biggest problems in one of the biggest industries out there.

So it really was something that came completely as a surprise to me. But looking back, I guess, it wasn't that surprising because, I guess, being a CEO means that at the end of the day, you have the courage to do something that nobody else had done before. So that was more or less always part of my nature, not to be afraid of challenges.

Gresham Harkless 03:14

Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. And I think that's where the true innovation happens. And so I wanted to drill down a little bit more. I know we touched a little bit upon the problem, but I want to hear a little bit more on the problem that you're solving and then how you're helping to serve the clients and the people in the organizations that you're working with.

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Viktoria Kanar 03:30

Sure. So I had a quite an exciting journey. So as I've mentioned in the beginning, I was actually part in a PR agency that was one of my dreams when I was in college. And I said, okay. I wanna try it out, and I wanna see how it is to run campaigns for clients and so on. And it was really a lot of fun.

And then one of her clients was actually fashion week in Savvy Fashion Week, which was a new project back then. And it very quickly became quite a hot event, and it was fun. And I got for me, what was most exciting, I wasn't a fashionista. I didn't really know much the fashion world, but I was very excited about the arts and the artists and the people behind doing fashion and investing into it, not only from the commercial perspective, but doing something super creative.

And, totally but surely, I deep dive into this whole industry because I've worked with technology before. I was sort of asset looking into this junction between innovation and fashion already done. And, became a producer, started traveling around the world, started producing my own shows, and it was a really beautiful and very fun world. I will never deny that.

But, the more I traveled, the more sophisticated even the events became, the bigger I the bigger was the problem that I saw or started seeing, which was the lack of taking responsibility for everything that this industry had been leaving behind. I would see how much money was, going into creating the best event and selling or investing into selling as much as possible and creating the best and most sophisticated marketing and PR campaigns.

But it really would always stop right there, right? So it would be stopping at the place where someone would make sure that as many, people as possible would see the collections, as many people as possible would be hyped about the new fashion week and the trends. But nobody was really looking into, okay, what's happening with the flip side of this industry?

I started looking around myself. I started looking, okay. What's out there? Who's doing what? And I definitely didn't become involved in innovation myself or definitely not a CEO of a start up or right away.

I was first looking for the solutions out there, was getting to know a lot of the approaches and initiatives and ideas, which were a lot of them were really great and amazing.

But, ultimately, I realized that the problem is so big. We're actually talking about almost a hundred million tons of text aways every year that are being left behind. And I did not find anybody, any approach, or not even a group of organizations or companies which were able to actually tackle this big problem at once and look for sustainable, but also really doable and realistic solution for that. So this was how I didn't have a choice.

Gresham Harkless 06:29

Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And I appreciate you for going through the journey that you went through. I almost wonder because I know you touched on you and your co-founder. I wonder if that's part of your secret sauce, maybe the secret sauce of the entire organization, the DNA of it, is being able to marry that, awareness of the industry, but also sometimes the ability to be able to communicate with people that may not have that technical knowledge.

Do you feel like you all are able to marry those two things so that you can, first of all, of course, be able to create that innovative solution? But secondly, I think be able to communicate to those that may not be as aware of how pressing and important that issue is. Do you think that's part of your secret sauce?

Viktoria Kanar 07:08

I think that well, in a way, I guess, in some way, I am that person maybe because, like, it's as I said before, my co-founder had spent many years in factories. She knows how to touch textile and understand, what can be done with it and what cannot be done with it. She can analyze it from, like, from her experience.

And I had to learn it. Of course, when we joined forces, I had already had my own experience working with designers, understanding, I guess, maybe the quality of fabric, but not never from the technical side. But thanks to, definitely, also the the partnership for me, I started to fall in love with machines, with technology. And I realized how remote we are from it today.

We cannot function without production, without something, someone doing producing it for us. If we look around the cells, if we look about, at our gadgets, about things that we really cannot do anything every day, someone is was standing in a factory. Someone was assembling it. Someone was planning it. Someone was engineering it.

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And I think it could be a much more interesting world and much more attached, and I'm sure also much more sustainable and responsible world if we were to create a connection to where the things that we use on a daily basis were coming from and how they're manufactured, right? It goes back a bit to what I was saying about how for decades, clothing and textiles and fabrics have been created.

At the end of the day, you can see this for a lot of things around us. And we most of us have lost this connection or maybe never had it. And I think it would be really amazing. And so for me, going back to your question, it's really yes. When I started building this connection, going into a factory and believe me, I'm not always interested. I don't need to understand every single step of the operation.

But I appreciate and I respect it so much more than I definitely did before. And this is how it makes me want to understand the processes behind it and like I said, really respect it.

Gresham Harkless 09:21

Yeah. I appreciate you expounded upon that. So I wanted to, switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an Apple book or even a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Viktoria Kanar 09:33

Actually, so maybe it will be a bit different from what people usually say. I don't my approach is never to look just for one per se or book or source. I my approach is the exact opposite, which is the curiosity to try and get to know as many inputs and insights as possible. I think you have to have it nowadays as a CEO just for one person or so.

Gresham Harkless 10:02

Yeah. I love that. So what would you consider to be what I call a little bit more of a CEO nugget? This could be like a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something you might tell your favorite business client or if you have to do a time machine, you might tell your young business so.

Viktoria Kanar 10:16

Yeah. So, also, maybe, it might be something less traditional also because it doesn't necessarily fit with my nature because I'm a person that very much believes that every voice needs to be heard. And I think it is important in a company that everybody feels at home. But having said, it's crucial to remember that if you are a CEO of a company that you need to know when to set boundaries because it's very important too.

People ultimately need to know they need to be looking up at you to know what's right and what's wrong. And it is your job, right? And I'm saying this because, again, especially in the start up, things are they're not traditional, right? I'm not an I hope it's okay to say I'm not an old wild male that there's a difficulty of big corporate.

I have people that are older in my team, and that's fine, but they have made that decision, right? They didn't they're not CEO. So in a way, that means that I need to be the one sometimes to say no. This is how it's gonna go. While still completely respecting that and never doing this because I wanna undermine them, but because I think that I'm the one that maybe sees the whole picture, and I am the one that also needs to take the responsibility. And therefore, making sure we have this decision and direction that I would be choosing.

Gresham Harkless 11:44

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's definitely okay. I'm not that either, so that's what that comes down to. But I think that, again, going back to what we talked about with your secret sauce, I feel like that ends up being, like, a really powerful thing because, again, like, getting those desperate thoughts, the diversity and thoughts and thinking and experiences and all those things that having those conversations is huge as you talked about with your hack.

But in the same time, with your nugget, you have to make sure that you are taking as much information, but you do create those boundaries because you want to remember that you are creating whatever that mission is, whatever problem you're trying to solve, whatever thing you're trying to do to impact the world. And there's a kind of a fine line between balancing, making sure that you are taking those thoughts while at the same time making sure you're staying true to what you were created to do.

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Viktoria Kanar 12:31

I am. Yes. Yes. And it's sometimes it's a fine line or sometimes you forget about it, but, yeah, it's crucial to stick to it.

Gresham Harkless 12:39

Yeah, absolutely. I love that nugget. And so now I wanna ask you my absolute favorite question. We touched on this as well too, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And our goal is to have different quote unquote CEOs on their show. So, Viktoria, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Viktoria Kanar 12:51

So being a CEO is it's almost a physical thing. It's like there's something that you're like you're carrying it with you, okay? You're really are out there. And I guess, again, I don't know. I was going to say it makes a difference maybe if you're CEO of a start up or if an established company. Of course, it there's a difference. I'm sure. But in the end of the day, the idea is the same, right?

You are you have this of course, there's legal responsibility, but mostly, it's I think it's the feeling that weight, which doesn't have to be something bad. It also means that, again, there are people that are trusting you to do this. And they are from so many different ecosystems and from different networks, especially, yeah, in a startup or in any company.

I've met all the stakeholders in the end of the day that also make up your company. So it's exciting. I thought something I'm afraid of. Otherwise, I wouldn't be doing this. That's something that I feel honored to be doing. But I also feel that I guess for me, it's also taking it very, very seriously. Again, in a world where there's so many startups and sometimes when I see someone is adding me LinkedIn and I see they're right. They're a CEO co-founder, but they never write of what, and I'm like, do you understand what it actually means?

So are you really a CEO, or are you just something? And it's fine, but maybe you shouldn't be calling its CEO that. So it's also like with the all the other things. It's respecting its responsibility, respecting the role, and doing everything that you need to do because, yeah, if people are standing behind you and they have expectations and they have the trust they've put into you, and you better be do a good job.

Gresham Harkless 14:44

Yeah, absolutely. Truly appreciate that definition. Of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And, of course, how best people can get a hold of you, find about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

Viktoria Kanar 15:00

Yeah. So LinkedIn, I think, is definitely the best way. Viktoria Kanar, and you can, of course, follow also our web link page, which is Re-Fresh Global, re-fresh global. You will always see our updates. We're not currently, most of operations are in Germany. And the reason is because in the EU, the European Union is very advanced with their policies in terms of tech server cycling.

But there are already couple of states in the US, like, New York State and California, which also very active. So we hope to come with our solutions soon to the US soon enough. But, of course, we're open to any discussion. We're open to for people to approach us if they have any questions, they want to consult, if they want to suggest an idea, we really try to also give back to everybody so that pay it forward. Happy to do that.

Gresham Harkless 15:52

Yeah, absolutely. We truly appreciate you for, of course, paying it forward for us today. And to make it even easier, we're gonna have the links and information shown us as well too so everybody can follow-up with you, your team, find about all the awesome things that you're doing, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Viktoria Kanar 16:06

Thank you so, so much. Thanks, thanks for having me.

Outro 16:09

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by CBNation and Blue16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Check out the latest and greatest apps, books, and habits to level up your business at This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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