Farfetch announced that Natalie Massenet has joined the luxury e-commerce company as co-chairman. Known for her innovative voice, Massenet will partner with founder and CEO of the online retailer, José Neves to develop its global brand strategies and strengthen its partnerships in the fashion industry. Currently chairman of the British Fashion Council and a former fashion journalist at WWD, Massenet is a pioneering entrepreneur in the digital retail field who changed the face of luxury shopping when she launched Net-a-Porter. With the industry move of the season in process, Vogue Arabia investigates the CV of the woman behind the black ribboned-box.
At the helm of Net-a-Porter, Massenet grew the business from a small startup in 2000 to a global powerhouse turning gross sales of one billion from its West London base. White chandeliers now dangle from lofty ceilings over an office almost exclusively furnished in white; a meteoric change of scenery to the deliveries Massenet hand packed from her kitchen table in the company’s early days. An anonymous source at Net-a-Porter told Vogue Arabia that Massenet was a “hands on” CEO, driving the business from the start. Massenet was “recognized by all as a digital visionary––her connections, tenacity and light bulb moments helped Net-A-Porter set the bar for online retail.”
Natalie Massenet photographed with Gucci’s Alessandro Michele at the GQ Man of the Year Awards 2016. Natalie Massenet/Instagram
The Net-a-Porter Group added designer discount site TheOutnet.com to its brand roster, alongside Mr Porter, the first premium online menswear site, at a rapid rate of expansion employing staff across the world. “Teams worked and played hard together, and people felt committed to going the extra mile for [Massenet],” her former colleague added. Over 2,500 people work behind the scenes to deliver brands such as Elie Saab, Alaïa, and Alexander McQueen in its signature black boxes topped with monochrome grosgrain ribbon.
The group became the success story that defied fashion industry critics who believed the business model wouldn’t take off. Today, the website boasts nine million monthly visitors. No surprise that Massenet’s accolades are stacked high, including ranking at #20 on Wired’s 2011 100 British Digital Power Players list, and Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014.
Natalie Massenet with Tom Ford, photographed by British Vogue. Natalie Massenet/Instagram
“[She was] very visible on the office floor, she stayed late on new business launch nights and would organize celebration breakfasts for relevant teams the morning after. Under her leadership, office parties were legendary,” the Net-a-Porter staffer commented.
Massenet’s career began at Women’s Wear Daily, followed by positions at W, and Tatler. She exited the Net-a-Porter group when the company merged with YOOX in 2015, 15 years after building the business from her Chelsea home in London. So, what’s next for Farfetch, from the woman who brought us seamless shopping to our mobiles and MacBooks? It will be innovative, and it could change the way you shop all over again.