Textiles and sustainability. These two words likely make you think of your more important possessions: the clothes on your back and your favorite reusable water bottle.
For Marissa Strano, Materials Innovations and Sustainability Manager at CamelBak, it’s a career. If you ask her about it, she is living her dream: a job with built-in adventure at a company focused on meaningful change and sustainability. A perfectly woven match.
Marissa manages textiles for CamelBak’s softgoods and heads up sustainability. She says the sustainability aspect of her job is the most interesting, challenging and rewarding part of her job.
“Helping develop CamelBak’s sustainability program and launch RePurpose, our sustainable product label, has been the most complex and rewarding project of my career. It is a privilege to be a part of such an important global effort. It feels personal, and I’m proud to work for a company that takes responsibility for the impact making our products has on our environment and our climate,” she said.
Marissa has focused on textiles for the past 15 years of her career but only recently evolved to encompass sustainability. She knew she wanted to work in product development from the start of her career, and she admits she stumbled into a textile expertise.
“Being open and flexible to change allowed my career to evolve in ways I never could have planned. I feel super lucky about how all the pieces have come together,” she said. “I love products and product design, and I have a never-ending well of curiosity about how things are made and how to make them better.
When Marissa isn’t traveling the world to find interesting fabrics, innovative technologies and design ideas, she has other, equally captivating things happening, including but not limited to perfecting her wood fired pizza recipes and project managing a documentary currently steaming on Netflix.
She says she learned to cook wood fired pizzas in Italy when visiting Positano a few years ago.
“By divine intervention, my husband and I moved into an apartment in Oakland, CA with a brick oven. I’ve been refining my dough and pizza-making skills since!”
She’s generous enough to leave us with her No. 1 crowd pleaser: “An artisanal pizza with fig jam, prosciutto and goat cheese. It’s my go-to.”
As for the documentary, her husband directed a film called Satan & Adam.
“It’s an amazing and beautifully crafted story,” she says.
It’s no surprise Marissa was involved in helping create and manage the story, as it seems the majority of what she lets in her life is just that: a beautiful craft.
I listen to podcasts more than I read, the best I re-listened to recently is a Radiolab episode on color, it is fascinating!
If you could “kill a word,” what word would you do away with?
Great question. “Totes,” “amazeballs” and “cray-cray” are all top contenders but my final answer is for sure “YOLO”.
Most Special place you’ve been to?
The South of France, so beautiful. And the food, but also… the food.
Most likely to buy in bulk?
Sparkling water. I would 100% also purchase bulk fresh-baked Croissants if feasible and I would eat one every single morning.
Most interesting job you’ve had?
I was a hand model in college. My hands were featured on a range of Hewlett Packard scanners to be sold in the South American markets in the early 2000s!
What would a day off, by yourself, with no obligations include?
Something creative! My newest hobby is hand-dyeing textiles, mixing colors is way too fun.
Something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve always fantasized about having my own bonsai garden.
Favorite holiday, and why?
My family’s Christmas Eve party with champagne and crab is my very favorite night of the whole year!
What a person needs to be happy?
A positive outlook.
Advice to a younger you?
Don’t worry so much! Until the big goals come into focus, tackle little goals and everything will sort itself out.