Photo by Oleg Covian
In Memory of a Dear Friend
When I started CoutureLab in 2006, I launched with L’Wren Scott’s very first couture collection, Little Black Dress. My site was not actually ready, but L’Wren worked so hard on it that we pushed ahead of schedule to have it up and working within 48 hours with only her collection, and from then on we shared a parallel journey. In one day, we had a waiting list of more than 150 people wanting a bespoke dress from her. From that moment, L’Wren was dedicated to a quest of making each woman she knew feel elegant, feminine and proud of their bodies. This was despite curves, age, and whatever perceived imperfections existed, in a world that makes impossible demands on us as women. She also understood the power of “individuality”. I will always wear her dresses and feel “beautifully imperfect”, in her memory.
The CoutureLab Journey
I founded CoutureLab in 2006 as a laboratory of ideas. The concept was to focus on supporting craftsmanship and heritage. My desire was to discover and support some of the world’s top emerging creative talents and help educate consumers about their stories and their products.
This laboratory of ideas naturally evolved into a holding company. I began to back creative entrepreneurs and invest in 'disruptive' ideas that aligned with my personal approach and vision. This ethos became my passion in the nineties, and led me to become, in 2000, a co-founder, major Investor and Director of Net-a-Porter.
In 2010, I sold my shares in Net-a-Porter to Richemont in order to continue to grow professionally in another direction. Richemont had been our partners since 2003 and I shared a controlling interest and veto rights. By the end of 2009, I felt it was a perfect time for the founder, company and team to grow aggressively with a strong economic group. I decided to reduce my ownership and responsibilities on the board so I could embark on a different professional path. I knew Net-a-Porter would be in good hands with Richemont as its sole major investor. I remain a minority shareholder at Net-a-Porter and will always share and support the vision of the company we created. I believe that the founder, the CEO, the team and Richemont are the right combination to take the brand to the next level.
I also realized that the time was right for me to take CoutureLab’s holding company to another level and mentor other entrepreneurs by providing my expertise and advice to a range of e-commerce companies with disruptive ideas. I believe that if founders have a unique idea that they are passionate about, and their vision is integral to their lives, they can create brilliantly successful companies. This can only occur when they have the right partners, team, investors, and board of directors. When these factors combine, you can create a “magical serendipity” of events, where the impossible becomes possible. As much as some people may think it is “just luck”, results happen only after a great deal of work has been put into the vision and goal.
To me, these great companies exist to inspire other people to follow their own path as entrepreneurs and emulate success. This is the new economy; an economy that supports disruptive ideas; and whether you succeed or fail does not matter. The important thing is to inspire people to try. After 20 years of supporting start-ups, I know good disruptive ideas never die, even if their original companies and founders fail. Fortunately, there will always be someone else who will be inspired by these companies and founders, and will succeed. In this way, the hard work and passion of the founders always pays forward.
Founding CoutureLab has helped me grow personally and professionally. It fulfilled, more than ever, a personal need to have a bigger impact on the new economy with my limited time and resources.
I believe that each company in which I have invested has the potential to achieve great success in its own unique way. These companies also uphold the philosophies, vision and principles upon which CoutureLab.com was founded. CoutureLab will now serve exclusively as a holding company, and later this year, as a blog, that will represent my investments and the people I believe have disruptive ideas. This will inspire creativity and originality in others to be unique. I will also dedicate more time to mentor and support entrepreneurs and companies that I admire, and that constantly come to me for advice, even if I do not invest in them directly.
Thank you for accompanying me on the CoutureLab journey. I look forward to sharing new and exciting developments with you in the near future.