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Role Call | Fanny Moizant, Entrepreneur

Fanny Moizant, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective, says listen to your customers, suppliers, colleagues and mentors, because “growing a business is about understanding that every day is a learning experience.”
Fanny Moizant | Source: Courtesy
  • Rebecca May Johnson

LONDON, United Kingdom — French-born Fanny Moizant is the co-founder of premium fashion resale e-tailer Vestiaire Collective, and holds dual roles as the company's brand and communications director and its head of the UK and Germany. Moizant got her first taste for fashion retail during formative years working in her mother's boutiques, and after studying marketing at Reims Business School, she went on to work for fashion and apparel brands such as John Galliano, Dim and Mexx. After a hiatus from fashion, Moizant went back to study for a degree in fashion marketing in 2007 at the Institut de la Mode in Paris.

The idea for Vestiaire Collective came to Moizant after observing French fashion bloggers selling out-of-season designer clothing to reinvest in new items — she spotted the need for a dedicated platform to buy and sell their pre-owned items and, alongside a team of five others with experience in engineering, styling, logistics and business development, launched Vestiaire Collective in France in 2009. At launch, the platform offered 3,000 second-hand items collected from family and friends.

BoF: Please describe your current role 

I co-founded Vestiaire Collective just over five years ago and my role within the company has varied and developed greatly during this time, finally splitting into two parts.

Now the first part of my role focuses on developing the business in the UK and Germany, I moved to London 18 months ago to drive a team of experts in promoting and localising the concept of Vestiaire Collective. On a daily basis, we focus on converting more consumers to the concept of trusted pre-owned fashion, deploying marketing, PR and VIP activities in order to attract new buyers and sellers.

The second part of my role centres on growing brand awareness globally. For this I focus on developing strong ideas that will resonate with the media across the different markets and help elevate the brand. My goal is to grow Vestiaire Collective into the global leader in premium fashion resale.

On a daily basis, we focus on converting more consumers to the concept of trusted pre-owned fashion.

BoF: What attracted you to the role?

My background lies in brand marketing and communications so when we launched the site it seemed a natural fit for me to oversee this part of the business. However, I didn't have much awareness of the British or German markets, so taking over the responsibility for growing these regions was quite a challenge. We realised that taking the brand DNA to new markets was essential to grow.

As the lead on communications it felt that I was the best fit to take on the new role, so my husband and I decided to take the plunge and move our family from Paris to London. It felt like we were re-launching the company from scratch in a totally new environment, building the team, connecting with the right people in the market and developing a relevant strategy. Eighteen months later I'm really glad I took the new role on and feel very proud of what we've achieved.

BoF: What is the most exciting project or initiative you have worked on?

I enjoy building projects from scratch so my most exciting moments include launching Vestiaire Collective while there was only six of us... and also five years later restarting the same adventure in London — but this time backed by a strong team of over 130 people in the Paris head office. Watching the company grow on a daily basis has been an amazing experience its like watching a child grow and feeling proud of their achievements — it's really given me a strong sense of satisfaction.

More recently I think the project that excited me most was the launch of our first TV campaign, it was quite a big step for a start up company. Building the right concept for the brand and really getting into the details of the cast, defining their roles, choosing the location, the styling, the tone of voice — each element was so important to ensuring that we communicated the Vestiaire DNA effectively. Watching the first spot go live was a magical moment for me after all the hard work we put into the project. Almost six months later I still love hearing feedback on the advert.

BoF: How is your role changing? What are the forces driving this change?

Being part of a young start up company has meant that my role is constantly changing and developing according to the needs of the business. We've grown from a team of six to a team of over 150 in five years, seen three rounds of influential investment and grown from focusing on our home market to being a global company with offices in four countries. Such rapid change has really had a huge impact on my day-to-day level of responsibility; my role today barely resembles my role in the early days.

My key focus has switched from being centred just on France, to pushing global growth, especially in the UK, Germany and the US. For me this evolution of my role has involved moving countries, travelling regularly and managing teams all over the world. The change has definitely required an entrepreneurial spirit and that really has built up the value in my role. I feel very excited about the future and can't wait to develop the next steps for the company.

BoF: Tell us about a time you failed and how you learnt from it.

Any negative customer feedback feels like a failure for me. We aspire to offer our community the best possible experience so I really take any issue relating to the brand very personally. In terms of dealing with failure, I've learnt to be very down to earth in my approach and work through the details of the problem and why it has happened.

BoF: What advice do you have for people who are interested in doing what you do?

My first piece of advice is to be passionate — without passion you will find it difficult to accomplish your ambitions, overcome challenges and ensure that you are surrounded by the right people. The second would be to listen: growing a business is about understanding that every day is a learning experience, from your customers, to your suppliers, colleagues and mentors, they will all have good advice and experiences that can help you develop.

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