Alumna Catch-Up: Claire Bates, Class of 2011

Oct. 15, 2020

Alumna Claire Bates Turned her Passion of Sustainability into a Career


The Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing caught up with University of Arizona Retailing and Consumer Science alumna, Claire Bates. Claire, a Tucson native, graduated in 2011 and has since built a career with a focus in her professional interest of responsible production and consumption in new generation retail.

She currently resides in Toulon, France and works remotely for Swivel, a company that promotes the rental or borrowing of goods over buying and owning, either through need or to help reduce the environmental impact. The company supports brands and companies in the industry who are interested in embracing the cultural shift from ownership to sharing through seamless integration.

We asked Claire to share what has surprised her the most in her career.  She shared that what one thinks would be of greatest interest in one’s career may not always be the best option.  Claire stated that, “Some of my toughest rejections were actually the biggest blessings. When one door closes, a better one is sure to open.” Claire told us that she has learned to overcome apparent obstacles by learning to reevaluate and pivot.  “I've learned to go with the flow,” Claire shared.  This advice can be invaluable for college students particularly in this year of pandemic-driven uncertainty.

In sharing what advice she would give to current retail students, Claire noted the importance of really engaging all around you and being curious to make the most out of all experiences. Claire said students should "always be open to learning and evolving.  Use all of the resources available to you, be curious and ask questions."  This perspective and approach can lead one – student or professional – to immense growth.  Successful professionals are those who ask questions and never stop learning. Claire encourages students to, “Diversify your learning and where you get information. Be proactive in becoming an expert. Take risks and trust yourself.” Claire has learned that the motivation to “do good” is a driving factor in her career.  She urged that, “most importantly, use your work to give back to others and the planet!!”

Claire told us she misses the familiarity of her home in Tucson. “I miss Sonoran Mexican food so much. The Mexican food in Europe is just not the same, so my mom sends me green chilis and enchilada sauce when she sends me packages.” While her amazing career in retail has taken her around the world, she doesn’t forget her Tucson roots. “I also miss the beautiful sunsets and Sabino Canyon.” Don’t worry, Claire! You’ll always have a home here in Tucson!

Are you a Retailing and Consumer Sciences Alumni who would be willing to share your experiences with current UArizona students? Email us at