the company has always championed a business model of content and commerce. Still helmed by founder the company is now worth an estimated 2.5 billion euros.
At the time of its creation, few could see the potential of an online-only store for designer clothing and Massenet found it difficult raising the funds to get the business started. Since then a slew of online copycats have tried to replicate the success of NET-A-PORTER while the original continues to innovate.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the company:
1. Natalie Massenet started the company out of her Chelsea flat – she stored stock in her bedroom and kept packaging materials in the bathtub.
2. She originally wanted to call the company “What’s New Pussycat?”. The idea was vetoed by her lawyer for copyright reasons. To find a new name, she flicked through her Women’s Wear Daily dictionary until she reached prêt-à-porter.
4. The most expensive item ever to be sold on on the website was a red Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress with a price tag of £32,000.
5. NET-A-PORTER launched the first “fully shoppable” glossy magazine, PORTER, at the start of 2014. Readers can click through to buy items directly from the digital version, but the printed version also comes with an accompanying scanner app for iPad and iPhone that provides additional information on pictured items and links through to the pieces for sale.
6. When CEO, Mark Sebba retired in July, the company gave him a sendoff that included acrobats, a gospel choir and video linkups to staff in New York, New Jersey, Hong Kong and Shanghai singing Aloe Blacc’s “The Man”. The video of the surprise went viral on YouTube.
7. Before coming up with her fashion business plan, Massenet pitched ideas for a chain of coffee shops and a range of luxury candles and was told that there was no money in either idea. Later Starbucks went on to become one of the most successful businesses in the world and luxury lifestyle companies like Diptyque and Le Labo selling candles starting at around £50 each have become extremely popular.
8. NET-A-PORTER boasts many celebrity customers in the UK and worldwide. Courtney Love is reported to be one of the top 5 spending customers in the USA.
9. Before moving to the UK in 1997, Massenet worked alongside Lenny Kravitz in a clothing store in Los Angeles, as a model in Tokyo, as a receptionist at Universal Studios, a photography assistant at Moda magazine and then a writer for Women’s Wear Daily and fashion editor at Tatler.
10. The site attracts more than 2 million shoppers and browsers every week and the average customer spends £500 per transaction.