With a background working in startup contexts and a focus on technical pre- and post-sales assistance, Cathy Paraggio is an accomplished business development manager. She oversaw complicated projects with a broad scope that needed original thinking. Her sales abilities include RFP submissions, demonstrations, proofs-of-concepts, presentations, and architectural design. She established the retail business NoNetz, Inc. with the goal of resolving clothing issues through technology and sustainability. She also formulated the company’s purpose and strategic vision, as well as acquired the necessary skills in a new industry to produce new goods.
Below are highlights of the interview conducted between World’s leaders and Cathy Paraggio:
Describe who you are as a person, inside and outside of the workplace.
I am a hardworking, thoughtful, and creative individual who enjoys the process of building and maintaining in all areas of my life.
Describe your background and what did you do before you started/joined the company?
My background is in computer science, as I spent most of my career designing and installing global networks. Beginning my career in early-internet-focused startups, I eventually moved to corporate. However, after I was diagnosed with cancer, I was forced to leave my job entirely. It was this that allowed me to find myself as an artist; I spent years drawing and doing stained-glass commissions until NoNetz began.
Tell us about the inception of the company. How did it all start?
A group of neighborhood women had approached me to start an anti-chafe swimwear business. Not only was the idea great, aiming to solve a common problem, but it would go on to be the perfect marriage of my artistic, entrepreneurial, and technical skills.
After assuming sole ownership of the company and bringing in my teenage son, we expanded our mission towards designing sustainable problem-solving clothing as well as partnering with reforestation and plastic reclamation groups.
What has made you successful? What do you value?
Above all else, we value consistency, transparency, and care. Our high standards of product design, customer service, and honesty during difficult periods has maintained deep trust with our consumers.
Which are the major services of the company and how do they the company to get ahead in the competition? What value-added services does the company provide?
NoNetz clothing prevents skin rashes, lowers body temperature, and, as a result, makes life better. Each design is tested with texture-sensitive people to ensure this is the most comfortable activewear ever. By replacing the mesh net brief found in most swim trunks with a water-resistant anti-chafe liner, our bathing suits prevent the inner thigh rash that ruins summer fun.
Our anti-chafe rash guards, made from reclaimed fishing nets, are also water resistant and feature a skin-safe zipper to ensure fit control and total comfort.
Aside from swimwear, our polos employ soft temperature-managing fabric that constantly maintains a cool and refreshing skin temperature. Also, our customer service is over the top – all email is answered within 24 hours; tailoring reimbursement up to $20 if they don’t fit just right; forgot your NoNetz on vacay? We’ll send you a new one to your destination.
What are the most important aspects of a company’s culture? What principles do you believe in and how do you build this culture?
Our company is very small, so any “office culture” is really just our close-knit relationships with one another. Once again, it all comes down to trust and transparency in order to create the most effective unit possible.
What is the significance of innovative ideas in the company?
As a company that solves common clothing comfort issues in creative ways, innovation is our number one focus. We are constantly attempting to innovate in terms of what clothing is, what it should achieve, and how it should be produced. Our innovative ideas not only lead us towards better, more comfortable clothing designs, but also towards environmentally-friendly ways to operate on a large scale.
Give us your opinion on; do organizations rely heavily on individual heroics or team processes.
A solid foundation relies on collaborative and efficient team processes. However, what makes a really good organization is the ability to pivot, and sometimes, that relies on individual actions that go against established team processes.
What are your responsibilities as the Founder/CEO of the company? What is the happiest part of your daily routine?
I define runways for all kinds of growth, whether it be product growth, technical growth, or capital growth. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of solving problems; no matter how large the obstacle, putting together the puzzle pieces and finding the wiggle room is one of the things that keeps me motivated and gives me the confidence to approach the next (bigger) challenge.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
To listen. The worst leaders I’ve worked under are those who just come in with their preconceived ideas. The history of problems will lead you to more efficient solutions. The most successful leaders are the best listeners; you have to come in quiet.