The Power Player
Emirates Woman|September 2020
The Power Player
Alison Loehnis, President of NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER is an incredible woman. Combining an innate sense of style with one of the sharpest minds in the industry, we asked what it takes to continually stay one step ahead and perpetually innovate in an industry as fast-paced as fashion

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like?

My morning routine has remained pretty consistent for quite a long time. I get up early before my house gets up, just to get ahead of the day. It might be catching up on emails or messages from Asia, it might be getting ahead on admin and I still write letters, so maybe an opportunity to do that. I love running, so when the motivation hits me I will go for a run in the morning and we also have a new puppy so he needs taking out. By the time the kids get up I can be super present and I’ve got a jump start on my to-do list for the day.

This year marks the 20th Anniversary for NAP. Tell us about your role as President of both Net- A Porter and MR PORTER – how do you divide your time and how has it changed in the decade you’ve been there?

My role is several-fold, which is what I love about it and what makes it interesting. Essentially, I am there to run the business, run the divisions, steer the ship and keep us really set on strategy; set our targets and really make sure we keep our eyes on the big picture. We have lots of wonderful teams that are focusing on the details and there is a lot of granularity involved with regards to the business. For me, it’s more important that I keep a macro view. I would say that across my entire role I am really focused on our business and creativity, people sometimes assume that those two things are mutually exclusive, but they’re not. I think by being creative it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a designer or an art director but that you can approach business decisions and challenges in a creative way, which I think is really important. I’m organised and divide my time across the two brands, but not always equally at any given moment. I think what’s remained a constant for us is our unwavering focus on the customer, on amazing service, on fabulous products, on being the best of the best and bringing our world to life through content and of course technology has changed. Ten years ago we were talking about apps and how everything is migrating. At that point mobile was really a very small fraction of business via app sales. What I feel great about is that in an ever moving landscape we have held true to things that I feel are super important and part of our DNA, yet remained very flexible and adaptable to the market. We stay one step ahead so we always can delight our customer.

You have a superb team. What do you look for when hiring?

First of all, thank you. I think they are superb. What I look for is technical expertise, that goes without saying, positivity, a certain spark, a go-getting type attitude and ideas – I love ideas. I like an interesting CV, people who have experimented, done interesting things. Having a sense of humour and being a good person are vital.

In your role you have to have the ability to wear a lot of ‘hats’ in terms of understanding marketing, what makes the luxury customer tick etc. What do you think are your natural strengths and which part do you enjoy most?

So, what I think makes the luxury customer tick, is fabulous products – it all starts with the product. Also, service – and by service I don’t necessarily mean speed. Of course, it can be speed, moreover it’s – are you getting me what I want on my terms, what I need and when I need it and also giving me some pastoral care? How do I wear it? What do I put it with? Tell me about the designer. I think that’s where video content and written content has a really important role to play.


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September 2020