What is the success of an online fashion site or another? Graphic aesthetics? The choice of brands and clothes? Service like telephone advice in all languages? The delivery, the preciousness of the package, the attractive photos, the well written texts? A little of all this no doubt. For , its history too. Because the company, unlike its competitors for the most pure players, was not born on the Net. But at Wimbledon, in 1987.
At the time, Ruth and Tom Chapman opened Matches, a ready-to-wear boutique for men and women. Slowly but surely, the two Britons multiplied the stores, in London and in the rest of Great Britain. Already, the selection that mixes luxury clutches and confidential creators attracts trendy, rather affluent, from around the world. “Ten years ago, we created our website to give visibility to our products, at the request of our customers in transit in London,” says Tom Chapman. Then we said to ourselves: “But why not put them on sale directly?” Sometimes, naivety does things well! ”
In 2012, after a fundraiser, the couple set off in search of a partner capable of raising Matches to the rank of a Net-A-Porter (number one in the sector). Ulric Jerome, a brilliant French thirty-year-old, was at the origin of the success of Pixmania in the early 2000s. “On the day of our interview, Tom and Ruth explained to me their very sharp approach to fashion And their excellent relationship with brands, the current CEO recalls. Knowing the e-commerce, I was aware that this privileged access was paramount. Most of all, I knew that digital on luxury was incredibly little penetrated. “Only 3% of top-of-the-line sales are then made on the Internet against 20% for fast fashion (Topshop, Asos …) and 30% General public. Yet, the customer is there, watching, ultraconnected, crisscrossing the planet. He expects only one thing: to be able to buy in a few clicks of the pieces of designers, the branded shoes and the latest bags. “We did not take risks. If the execution was good, Matchesfashion.com checked all the boxes to take off and without closing the physical shops, continues Ulric Jerome. Net-A-Porter (created in 2000 by Natalie Massenet) was alone in a luxury market estimated at 249 billion euros, there was room for two. Today, 8% of sales are made online, no “country” breaks the figure on the Web in our sector. No !”
Growing up (from 57 million euros in 2012, turnover rose to 240 million euros last year), Matchesfashion.com has not lost its soul and continues to promote young designers. Natalie Kingham, who heads the purchasing department, says: “To be taken seriously, you have to bring established online brands that are successful every season, such as Saint Laurent, Gucci, Isabel Marant and Balenciaga, but also be curious about the talents to come. I still remember the beginnings of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen … When you launch an unknown brand, women are often a bit puzzled. And then suddenly, we do not know why, in an hour, everything is sold out. The most recent example? The boots in the neon heel of Clothing. “The label that everyone is tearing, Matchesfashion.com was the first point of sale to believe. Just like the winner of the last LVMH Prize, Grace Wales Bonner, stylist Martine Rose and, in a more classic style, shoemaker Gianvito Rossi.
“At the time of social networking, the world’s most specialized stores and the most fashionable women gravitate towards the same clothing at the same time. My job is the same as I am buying for a multimarque in town or for an e-shop, continues the British. Our faithful do not want any more look and expect us to mix the clutches and the universes in our photo series. “Proof of the commitment of MF to the next generation, the company becomes sponsor of the French association Andam In support of the young creation and Ruth Chapman will award in July the Creative Label Award. “Many designers we sell have received Andam in their early days,” says the co-founder. It is a prestigious French award, and we believe in the French market as well as in its creators. “Hexagon occupies a special place on the site. Since the beginning of the year, the e-shop has a French version, the first non-English language. Tomorrow, the team takes its quarters in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the time of a residence open to the public and free to set out to conquer the Parisians.