Gulf News spoke to CEO, Chairman and Founder of Farfetch, José Neves, about how they are supporting their boutiques during this uncertain time and how they are working hard to be able to allow them to trade and for their business to survive.
"20 years ago I opened a small boutique in London called Bstore. The joy of the business was all about the community of customers who visited the store," Neves said.
By 2008, the internet had already begun to transform the world and he realised that designers and small boutique owners needed a platform to be able to reach fashion lovers globally.
"I built this platform – Farfetch - for the love of fashion, to help the world’s most incredible curators and creators of fashion reach people around the world. This is our community. We’ve built Farfetch together. And we will continue to do so, throughout this crisis and beyond."
When you shop on Farfetch your items arrive from one of 700+ boutiques in one of 50 countries around the world, or from the stores of their brand partners, altogether representing over 3000 designers - mostly small and unique creators of fashion. The vast majority of these are small businesses (often family-run) many of whom right now cannot welcome customers into their physical stores. Most of these businesses are, however, still able to trade online.
This is a vital lifeline for them at this time. "We are doing all that we can to help all of our partners, but especially the smaller ones. The most immediate help we can give is by ensuring that these boutiques are front and centre on our site, so you can find their products. In some cases, we are managing their logistics so they can deliver your orders safely, directly to your home. And we are waiving or reducing some of their costs of using our marketplace," Neves said. And, if there is anything else you think they could be doing, he would love to hear your ideas.
Altogether, this community represents tens if not hundreds of thousands of jobs around the world. It is a hugely important part of the economy and also culture. "Something that we all love and want to save."
Like all communities, it will be changed by current events, for better and worse. By supporting boutiques and designers, we can help see them through this immensely difficult time.