Natalie Massanet changed the way we shop with the creation of Net a Porter. I love startup stories. For me they make me appreciate the brand more. Natalie’s one is particularly inspiring. She picked up a pamphlet titled ‘Are you an entrepreneur?’ at a Barclay’s branch and from thereon decided she was going to start a business. Her husband was less enthused and responded along the lines of “Great! What’s for dinner?’. Natalie started the company when she was pregnant with her first child and reportedly stored all the beautiful Net a Porter packaging in her bathtub at home in Chelsea. This was back in 1999, long before any of us could have even fathomed spending £500 online for a handbag we couldn’t even touch. Now Net a Porter has expanded to sell menswear through Mr Porter and has even launched a print magazine, Porter. It’s such a powerful brand, you can’t help but to be drawn to its coolness. I was browsing the site long before I had the funds to make even the smallest purchase. It was just like a catalogue of beautiful things that I could one day aspire to owning.
We had the opportunity to hear Natalie speak at last year’s Vogue Festival in London. For someone so successful in the most glamorous field, she is extremely down to earth. As chairman of the British Fashion Council, she is working to make London to fashion what Silicon Valley is to technology. Sometimes art and business don’t mix well but she says, “We're going to ensure 'business' isn't a dirty word in fashion. We want to make people dream of working in an industry that isn't fluffy. It's an amazing way to earn a living and create jobs based on creativity."
What an amazing woman.
Shaleena & Roshni
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