Not a far-fetched idea: How one man built a $1.5bn fashion business

Fashion, Lifestyle

He’s the boss of one of the world’s fastest-growing luxury fashion websites, Farfetch, yet Jose Neves admits that he used to find the clothing industry “frivolous and uninteresting”.

A self-admitted “PC nerd”, it was rather data innovation that blended his enthusiasm experiencing childhood in Portugal.

Keeping in mind considering financial aspects at Porto University he propelled a product organization.

It was this wander, which made working frameworks for Portuguese footwear and material organizations, that served to rapidly change his perspective of the design business.

“I started to comprehend the way the business worked, and thought it was truly cool,” says the 42-year-old.

“What’s more, as mold is a worldwide industry, I thought it would give me my opportunity to flee from Portugal,” includes Mr Neves, who says it was forever his fantasy to live and work in London.

“I thought in the event that I can do PCs, I can outline shoes. You want to do everything when you are 22.”

Quick forward to today, and Mr Neves is the originator and manager of site Farfetch, which is esteemed at $1.5bn (£1.2bn).

Mr Neves’ thought for the site was that it would be a commercial center that offers garments from a large group of autonomous fashioners around the globe, who generally would likely not have the capacity to build up a critical worldwide online nearness all alone.

Propelled in 2008, Farfetch now offers products from more than 400 boutiques, from 38 nations, giving them a worldwide shop window in return for a reported 22% commission. Farfetch says that deals by means of the site totalled $512m in 2015, a 70% expansion on the prior year.

Big Idea

Backtracking to Mr Neves’ mid 20s, while he kept on maintaining his product business Gray Matter, in 1994 he likewise began to outline shoes under the brand name Swear.

After a year he satisfied his desire to move to the UK, where he opened the brand’s first physical store in the Covent Garden territory of focal London. At that point in 2001, he opened a menswear shop close-by called B Store, which won a national retailer of the year grant in 2006.


However in spite of three organisations to his name, Mr Neves had greater desire as a top priority in the online circle.

“I knew I wasn’t the best shoe architect on the planet, or the best developer, yet not very many individuals know about both zones,” he says.

“I truly needed to accomplish something in form e-business, yet I was sitting tight for that enormous thought that could change the business, and get to be significant on a worldwide scale.”

Mr Neves was at the spring/summer Paris Fashion Week in 2007 when the light minute struck.

“I was meeting bunches of boutiques, and saw that the ones that were developing had solid online operations,” he says.


Different creators didn’t have any online nearness since they either did not have the aspiration, financing, or know-how.

So the thought for Farfetch was conceived – empowering little architects or design retailers to end up worldwide players by means of a solitary online commercial center.

The organization’s name implies the way that it gets garments from far away places, as opposed to something which is outlandish or hard to accept.

Utilizing his own particular assets to dispatch the business, Mr Neves says that in spite of the fact that it was hard to draw in his first customer, “when one joined it persuaded the rest to take after”.

Inconvenience soon arrived, in any case, as the worldwide budgetary emergency, with US managing an account assemble Lehman Brothers caving in only two weeks after Farfetch’s dispatch.

Because of the subsequent stoppage in business loaning, Mr Neves says he couldn’t get the outside speculation he was relying on.

“No speculator would touch us, so we needed to keep financing ourselves for a long time.”

The organization has now secured $305m of speculation by means of six rounds of financing, and has more than 1,000 workers crosswise over 10 workplaces including Moscow, Tokyo and its London central command.Venture was at long last secured in late 2010, empowering Farfetch to grow its workforce.

Industry Recognition

The achievement of Farfetch keeps on awing some powerful individuals in the mold segment.

“Farfetch has a notoriety for being spry and grasping advanced development, which has kept it at the cutting edge of the business,” says Keely Stocker, proofreader of form exchange magazine Drapers.


“It gives independents a channel to achieve worldwide markets, for example, the US, Brazil, China and Russia and also Europe.”

Mr Neves says that a share buoyancy will be “the following money related point of reference” for the organization, yet he won’t be pushed on dates.

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