NATALIE MASSENET investigated her market and set up the technology to make Net-a-porter, the designer Internet shopping site, into a ‘huge’ success in June 2000. She had venture capital, all the skills and contacts from her days in glossy magazine journalism and a world class distribution network. She could not fail.
Fashion retailers take on the challenge of restoring health to the economy by being more amusing, creative and bold. Paul Smith says, in his world they cannot rest on their laurels; they feel by being, even, globally successful, they cannot afford to stay the same. Natalie Massenet became Britain’s 98th richest woman through her on-line designer shopping website Net-a-porter.
She devised a way of shopping for the ‘time poor, cash rich’. Certainly branded French, even Paris, possibly Milan, by its clever name, Massenet sold every label, worth reciting, from Adidas, by Stella McCartney, to Zac Posen and Zimmerman. Said to have discovered the e-commerce pot of gold, a niche market of Internet savvy high spenders, she started her Fashion career as a journalist with Tatler.
Beginning the business with three people, and £850,000 in a room, in Chelsea, she was always confident she had a winner: ‘I never thought it wouldn’t work. I never once thought it wouldn’t be huge’. Taking on the challenge of riding economic storms, by widening her customer base, she launched theOutnet.com in 2009. It is designed for ‘fashionistas who like a bargain as much as a designer label.