Thursday, June 3, 2010

Businessminded - You Go Girl

The retail numbers for May came out today and were somewhat disappointing, especially since retail did quite well very early on in the year. Jan, Feb and March people seemed to be back to shopping and spending, but April and May there's been a serious pullback to frugality. Could be the news of financial trouble from Europe (the Greece situation) or the horrible oil catastrophe that is making people avoid overt consumerism. Whatever is making people shop less, is not affecting the luxury segment as that is the only retail sector with double digit year over year growth (although last year was the worst year ever). Another winner is internet retail which keeps growing despite the economy.

And what do you get when you put luxury and internet together ----> Net-a-Porter. The luxury fashion web site that most fashionistas browse from time to time wishing they could just order the whole damn site. I don't admire too many people, it's just not like me to have idols, but I do have to say that a wave of admiration went through me when I read the June Vogue story of Natalie Massenet, the founder of Net-a-Porter that just sold her share of the company to the Richemont Luxury Group for $76 million. Shrewd lady! She has created an amazing online business and has now proven that high end fashion can be successfully sold on the internet. So successfully in fact, that there is bound to be lots of competition gearing up. Coincidentally, a great time to cash in on her hard work! She will stay on as a CEO, undoubtedly pulling in a very respectable salary.

Natalie Massenet is one of the most influential people in the fashion business now. She is a real career woman who does not sugarcoat the difficulty of having a career and a family (she has a husband and two daughters). In Vogue she says "Choose the right husband and a nanny, and then don't worry about a social life. Everything but family and work has to go." I know that I can relate to that.

But the best is yet to come. As all my friends know, I am the biggest bargain lover on earth, and I go a little bonkers at outlets. I don't think that fashion should be so exclusive. Anyway, Massenet's latest business endeavor is an online luxury fashion outlet, the I checked it out and there are many nice pieces right now, for amazing prices. A gorgeous draped Chloe silk skirt at 70% discount. If you are not in fashion business, who cares that it's last season! I know that I don't. I will definitely keep following this fashionable business lady and her career, wishing that maybe I could learn something from her.

Natalie Massenet looks the part!

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