José Neves, founder and CEO of online luxury retail platform Farfetch, discusses how he used his background in technology to respond to a need in the fashion industry by creating a digital marketplace for emerging and established brands.
On his advice to entrepreneurs: “I always say that if you have an idea that you’re so passionate about, that you will never forgive yourself if you don’t leave everything behind and try to do it, then go for it and start that company. But that is the acid test, don’t do it because the timing is fantastic or it’s a business model that has never been tried or a couple of VCs want to fund you, because those are not the right reasons….And invariably you fail because there’s a point in the journey where, the crunch comes. And it is that belief - that one unwavering belief – that gets you and your team through the struggle…. And so I don’t think there is a formula for success, but I think there’s a common denominator in that strong passion for what you are doing.”
On integrating technology into the heritage of the fashion industry: “I think fashion is an industry, it’s not a science, it’s an industry that is driven by creativity, by emotions, by relationships. It’s an industry that has its own codes of conduct. And things that are absolutely sacrosanct and people really, really care about their brands. They care about the way they’re presented. They care about the adjacencies….There’s an unspoken etiquette and code around the entire industry. So it’s really, really important that we can be respectful of that heritage.… And that’s why our ethos was always one of win-win and how can we align ourselves with strategies of the brands, to the long-term value building of the brands and the boutiques and be a positive force for the industry and an enabler of an entire industry, rather than [be] a disruptor.”