Saturday, 3 April 2010

My other hero: Natalie Massenet

There are a few people in life that I totally respect and am simply in awe of, depending what their speciality is & what they do. One of my heroes in life was my late Grandmother (aka Billy Por - por por is Chinese for yiayia/grandma-no idea where the Billy bit came from but it just stuck) and my hero du jour? - Natalie Massenet, the woman who founded, global e-tailer selling luxury fashion, is an internet extraordinaire and power business woman has just sold her retail business for an approximate £50 million! Go lady!

Natalie Massenet rocks on so many levels, setting up and launching whilst pregnant - that's insane right? The business went from strength to Superman style strength, with a growth turn over of 47.8% in 2009 and profits soaring at a whopping 234%!

Formally a fashion journalist with killer buyer & business instinct, she bought in designer collections selling them online, thus changing the way women shop forever. The gap in the market 10 years ago for designer brands (exports from the US) and buying online was virtually non-existent back then.
Net-a-porter is pretty much genius, selling to women who are way to busy to hit the shops, mums at home, women who don't live near a major city and don't have time, women who can't get their mitts on the 'must-have' item featured in Vogue and celebrities who basically want to shop in private, blowing an average of £7k per shop. Not bad i say.

The website has a really clean, easy to use format along with magazine style guides, fashion tips, must-haves, speedy delivery service, get the look "Dress-me" fashion guides - imagine but with luxe fashion. This kind of format and input has spurred many high street retailers to do pretty much the same thing, I always get my newsletters and style guides delivered to my inbox weekly from high street to online fashion boutiques, but there is so much more drool-worthy items on Net-a-porter, seriously in the words of Rachel Zoe, "I-Die"!

Although Natalie has sold the website to luxury Group (i personally thought it would eventually be sold to LVMH) Richemont, she will continue to remain actively involved in the business re-investing some £15 million into the business.

Not only has she succeeded in creating the most amazing and powerful luxury fashion e-tailer, she also understands "chic-onomics", launching a sister site in 2009 (my fave, credit friendly fashion site) - The which features and sells last season's high fashion at discounted prices - what's not to love here?

This is what she has to say about The Outnet:
"Great fashion won't disappear – it will go to the Outnet and we are delighted to create a vibrant, fun and edited destination for the global sale shopper to call her own."

My fave Natalie quotes?

Believe in yourself: "My dad taught me never to be afraid of what's on the other side of the mountain."

Innovate: "If we come up with an idea and someone says it's never been done before, that's when we get going."

Disregard your doubters: "There were a lot of unimaginative private-equity people who said that women would never shop online. I think about those people a lot. I'm sure their wives are having Net-a-Porter bags delivered to their homes every day."

She's pretty brilliant, What next Natalie? We're waiting...

Ref & images via Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Vogue, Drapers & Net-a-porter

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