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Background


José Neves was born in 1974, in Portugal.

Education


He read economics at the University of Porto.

Interests


He started coding when he was eight. He got a ZX Spectrum for Christmas but it didn't have any games.

"If you don't love what you do, you'll probably fail. When I started programming, my first customers were fashion businesses. I thought, 'This is a very cool, creative, interesting, international industry.' I fell in love."

Professional Experience


José started 4 companies: Plateforme, Swear, b Store, and Farfetch.

Plateforme


While a university student, José decided to launch Plateforme, a software firm for small fashion brands.

Swear


José did software development for about two years, until he realized that he also wanted to get into fashion design as well. In 1996, he moved to London and established Swear, a shoe and trainers brand.

b Store


In 2001, José decided to move into fashion retail and set up b Store. The store proved very popular among fashion crowds, which earned him a British Fashion Award for Retailer of the Year.

Farfetch


In 2007, José combined his interests in fashion and technology to launch Farfetch, an integrated online marketplace supporting and promoting the retail activities of independent fashion boutiques.

As Neves describes, the moment he realised the need to give independent fashion boutiques an online retail presence was when:
"Dozens of boutique owners had been through our doors and what they were saying was really sobering. Business was bad, they couldn't rely on local custom any more but they didn't have the experience to do e-tailing either. They had amazing taste levels but they were having to play it increasingly safe."

It was this reason that Neves decided to set up the Farfetch website, to enable small, independent boutiques to compete in the marketplace while retaining their 'bricks and mortar' stores and their own visual identity.

"Disruption isn't everything. The first wave of the internet - Amazon in retail and search engines with the media - threatened to kill creativity in the name of price. The second wave, including Farfetch, is trying to save our industries."

MVP (July 2008)


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Customer Problem
The terrible shopping experience at soul-less department and chain stores, "as each offers pretty much the same as the next".

Customer Segmentation
Savvy fashion shoppers that are increasingly looking for: (1) updated, creative ways to shop, (2) that demand more designer brand choice than it is possible to achieve in small boutiques, and (3) that want to maintain the personal relationship, advised guidance to aid their shopping, and the informed buying techniques that have been lost at big fashion stores and now only exist at independent boutiques.

Value Proposition
An online store that offers unique and hard-to-find fashion exclusives from designers such as Azzedine Alaïa, Viktor & Rolf and Bernhard Willhelm.

MVP (October 2008)


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Customer Problem


Buying the most interesting designer fashion brands in the world in one easy-to-shop website. Customers can shop from boutiques in Paris, London, Florence and Copenhagen in just a few seconds, all from the comfort their own home or office.

Customer Segmentation


Savvy fashion shoppers.

Value Proposition


A fashion shopping website (encompassing 10 cities, 20 fashion boutiques, and 200 designers) in addition to an editorial section that provides shoppers with need-to-know style inspiration through a variety of weekly features.