In September 2015, Natalie Massenet announced she was stepping down from her role at Net-a-Porter Group, the online fashion retailer she founded 15 years ago, to explore “new ideas and opportunities.” The announcement came in the middle of the company's merger with Italian e-commerce giant Yoox Group. “My entrepreneurial drive is as strong today as it always has been, and my passion for innovation will continue to be my greatest guide in business,” said the entrepreneur.
Massenet was born in the United States to a British ex-Chanel model mother and a Californian journalist father. Massenet began her career at Women's Wear Daily and worked as Isabella Blow’s assistant at Tatler.
She founded Net-a-Porter, which grew to become the Net-a-Porter group in 2000. It was valued at $530 million when Richemont bought further shares in the company in 2010, after having invested in the business early on. The fashion e-commerce company comprised of womenswear site Net-a-Porter, menswear platform Mr Porter and off-price e-tailer The Outnet at the time.
Massenet will continues in her role as chair of the British Fashion Council, which began in 2013. During her tenure she has aimed to bring her her Internet experience and commercial savvy to bear. "It's undisputed that we have the most dynamic, creative designers here — luxury businesses everywhere are infused with our talent — but we haven't championed our industry as a business," Massenet told British Vogue. "Fashion is bigger here than the car industry. It needs to be celebrated as such so we'll see more jobs, more exports and more stores opening on our streets, as designers develop into self-sustaining, independent businesses. The BFC is here to improve their chances of success by adapting and advising them properly in the context of a new global economy. We have a generation of young designers who have grown-up in the digital age, but they're in the business of making clothes so they don't necessarily have access to this world. My day job gives me access to these people - it's a killer advantage."
In 2009, Massenet was awarded an MBE, and in January 2016 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire; both awards were in recognition of her contributions to the UK fashion and retail industries.