Natalie Massenet gives inspirational talk at The Vogue Festival 2013

Natalie Massenet wore Victoria Beckham to speak to us

Alexandra Shulman admitted that when Natalie Massenet told her about her idea to sell luxury clothes online she listened with the fascination one has when someone tells you something fantastical and thought “that is never going to happen – she is a dreamer”. Well the wonderful editor in chief of British Vogue missed a trick there. Natalie sold net-a-porter for £350 million in 2010 and today it has 5 million visitors monthly and Natalie is a member of the British Fashion Council making a real difference.

Her talk was centred on an insta-book: A personal story of her life through an instagram biography. When Natalie came on stage I was struck by how gorgeous she is, I knew she was brilliant but beautiful too… don’t you hate those people?! Alex challenged Natalie to make her speech personal and that she did. So if you have dreams and want to accomplish something special… read on.

Natalie invites you to join in with the account as a dialogue because a lot of the content is worth talking about so please head to @nataporter_mystorysofar on instagram and see for yourself what Natalie did before fashion and how she came up with ‘the big idea’.

A particularly poignant slide for me is this one. I later referenced it when having an inspiring mentor session with none other than Frances Bentley because I must confess I feel amidst a big old squiggle myself.  Graduating this summer raises the question, what next? Well, I know what I want to do next but how do I get there? According to Natalie this big old squiggle is unavoidable and in fact beneficial to not only where you’re going to be as a professional but who you’re going to become as a person not just in terms of your career. So keep going even when you feel lost in the big squiggle. You need to understand that sometimes you have a plan for yourself which is not “The Plan”.

Net-A-Porter office then
Net-A-Porter office now

Visualisation is another tip to make those big dreams happen. Visualise what it is you want to succeed in and along with a lot of hard work Massenet assured us that the universe conspires to make these things happen. “Plan the best you can. Jump in and go for it. Adapt as you go along.”
An overriding message as well as encouragement to dream big and work hard that came from the divine Massenet is to be kind to everyone you come across both in work and in life. By no means is she advocating being a push over but there is never any need not to be nice. The daughter of a model and journalist (content and commerce!) has lived in Paris, California and London, being nice all along the way. Throughout her presentation she gently mocks her past sartorial selections in a charming not self-deprecating way. Adding speech bubbles to old photos Natalie adds quotations such as “Sisters are doin’ it for themselves!” and suggests women should be smart and stylish. You just know that this lady did not wait for things to happen to her, oh no. Natalie Massenet doesn’t have time to wait – she’s a go getter.

“There is no recipe for success – it is as unique as you are” Natalie Massenet

I hope that in some way through my words I have managed to recount a glimpse of the inspiration that Natalie sparked in every single audience member on Saturday. Whether you are about to graduate, I know many of my readers are, embarking on a new career or just haven’t yet fulfilled those big dreams of yours yet, then let this be an encouragement for you too as it was for me.

Images courtesy of, and HanJanRan.

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