LONDON, United Kingdom — Welcome to Episode 1 of Drive, BoF’s new podcast series featuring fashion’s most dynamic entrepreneurs discussing the special kind of resilience it takes to build a global fashion business, delivered by DHL.
First up is José Neves, the founder and chief executive of Farfetch, the global marketplace for fashion, which has recently filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. From his first foray into the business world as a young man in Portugal, we hear the inspiring story of how he took Farfetch from a self-funded start-up in 2007 to a global retail player. "From a personal level, I was absolutely hell bent [on] creating something in the intersection of technology and fashion, and that's when the idea of Farfetch came about,” explains Neves.
“I had this parallel life where there was dual track. I had a technology company in Portugal still running. I had a fashion business which was functional. I had to come up with something that actually leveraged maybe my unique strength. I'm not that good a shoe designer and not that good a programmer, but I have both,” he adds.
By leveraging his expertise, the entrepreneur began a journey which would see him build a global business with over 2 million customers, present in 190 countries. However, as you will learn in this episode, entrepreneurial success doesn’t happen in a straight line — nor does it come easy. At several points along his journey, Neves admits that Farfetch only had six months of cash runway — after which point the company would have had to shut the company down if he didn't find new sources of funding.
The pressure of building a start-up from scratch is unrelenting. Around every corner is a new challenge. But it’s the ability to adapt to new challenges and opportunities, as well as a special kind of passion, resilience and discipline that create a sustainable global enterprise. Something we call Drive. We hope you'll enjoy episode 1!
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Farfetch Files for IPO and Plans to Float on the New York Stock Exchange