4 questions for Rothy’s COO and CFO Dayna Quanbeck

Insights on maintaining a fiscally responsible growth mindset
Sheryll Poe
NRF Contributor
Dayna Quanback of Rothy's
Dayna Quanbeck, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Rothy’s Inc.

As chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Rothy’s Inc., Dayna Quanbeck is in a unique leadership position: She has to help scale and grow the sustainably made shoe and accessories brand while keeping an eye on maintaining financial responsibility.

“I make a conscious effort to consider both sides of our goals and incorporate financial and KPI metrics wherever possible. Sometimes you have to lean in where returns are uncertain,” Quanbeck says. “Balancing those opportunities with mitigating risk is something I focus on.

Right now, Rothy’s is in full growth mode, with 18 bricks-and-mortar locations and plans to open another 10 in 2024. The former pure-play ecommerce brand is also expanding into international markets and has started shipping to 16 countries including Mexico, Canada and Australia.

Quanbeck is part of the new guard of CFOs, a role that has increasingly become part of the forefront of business strategy. In a session at NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show, Quanbeck and other top retail CFOs will share their growth insights and priorities for 2024 and beyond. NRF contributing writer Sheryll Poe spoke with Quanbeck about her banking and finance background, scaling Rothy’s while staying customer-focused, and what excites Quanbeck about the future of retail.

You spent the first half of your career in banking before moving to financial leadership roles at Charlotte Russe and now, Rothy’s. How and why did you transition into retail?

I’ve always had a strong passion for the consumer and retail space, and I furthered my interest in the industry while on Wall Street. While working in banking, I dedicated a significant amount of time to understanding my clients’ business models and growth trajectories.

However, once the IPO had priced or the acquisition was finalized, I moved on to the next transaction. Somewhere along the way, I began to crave a deeper understanding of how brands operate and scale from the ground up. It’s been 10 years since I made the move, and I haven’t looked back!

Your background is in growing new business concepts and scaling companies globally. How do you make sure you keep Rothy’s customer-focused and not sales-driven?

I learned a valuable lesson early in this industry: It’s essential to love and celebrate your customer in everything you do, regardless of whether you’re personally one. Fortunately, I’m a huge fan of Rothy’s, so I can bring personal experience to the table.

Our business would be nothing without the customers we serve, and one of the things I am most proud of is our incredible customer community. I dedicate a significant amount of time to understanding how people shop by walking markets, visiting our retail stores to personally engage with our customers, and actively listening to their feedback.

Our customer experience is always a top priority as we navigate new strategies, launch products, and plan brand activations. When you focus on your customers, sales follow naturally.

NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show

Browse photos, blog posts, videos and more from NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show.

As a COO and CFO, you are in a very unique position of pursuing growth in a financially responsible way. How do you balance risk management and innovation to achieve business goals?

This is one of the most exciting aspects of my current role. As COO and CFO, my position presents a unique challenge of navigating growth while maintaining financial responsibility, striking a balance between risk management and fostering and nurturing a growth mindset.

To strike this balance, I make a conscious effort to consider both sides of our goals, and incorporate financial and KPI metrics wherever possible. Sometimes you have to lean in where returns are uncertain; balancing those opportunities with mitigating risk is something I focus on.

Like many CFOs, I’m also translating strategies into real-time numbers, continually running math in my head. At Rothy’s, we’re currently in the testing phase of various growth initiatives, which feels like a happy middle ground for me. It involves searching for green shoots to de-risk our investments, enabling us to test and learn without jeopardizing our capital or business.

We lean in when the data supports it. This approach demands both agility and an interest in leveraging our data to learn. For us, it’s paying off.

What excites you most about the future of retail?

The retail industry is currently experiencing an exciting transformation, which is clearly evident from the revitalization of shopping centers (I'm sure many of us have experienced the challenges of finding parking on a busy Saturday!), to the exciting collaborations and partnerships taking place within the fashion industry.

Additionally, the seamless integration of digital and in-person experiences, both online and in physical stores, is reshaping the retail landscape right before our eyes. It’s a thrilling time to be in retail, and I’m excited for AI and the next generation of technology to continue to push us all forward. Shopping is one of my favorite pastimes, so it’s a win-win for me!

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