Last week I was invited to lunch with Megan Quinn, who was the former co-founder of Net-a-Porter. She was speaking at a Business Chicks lunch, to which I had been invited by Women in Focus. To say that this was the ticket of the year is an understatement!
What is Net-a-Porter & who is Megan Quinn?
For the uninitiated, Net-a-Porter was the first – and remains the first – powerhouses of women’s luxury designer goods online. Started in 2000, I really became aware of it when living in London and purchased from there quite a few times. Not only was it luxury online, it was luxury when your item arrived – the packaging was incredible and really bridged the online and offline worlds.
Megan was articulate, honest, funny and real. Naturally these were all qualities I loved. But what I really loved was hearing her thoughts around her ten year journey with Net-a-Porter, and her attitude to customer service – it was like listening to myself speak.
The highlights from Megan Quinn’s presentation on her Net-a-Porter journey
“We need to be creators of our change”. Absolutely, couldn’t agree more. Quit bitching, start pitching. If you’re unhappy, don’t sit there in silence, do something about it.
“It’s the minutiae of a business that makes it interesting.” Indeed. Every sector – whether it’s HR or retail or finance or legal – has its own business shape. Activities that work in one, don’t work in another. But each business within each sector has its own thumbprint, its DNA that defines it from all the rest. Whether the approach to innovation, or its staff, or some legacy from a few decades ago, it’s the fine detail in a business that gives it its identity.
“An authentic relationship is one that has an emotional connection.” Yes. Particularly true of retail, where you purchase something because you simply have to have it, right this minute, right this second. You know, you try and and ignore that desire for that handbag…but you find yourself thinking about the handbag long into the night, and working out how many coffees you need to sacrifice to afford it? I would say that, particularly in the world of jewellery (and yes, fine jewellery, not your $15 purchase), that it is the emotional connection that drives the purchase. Whether it’s love driving the purchase behind an engagement or wedding ring as we covered in our blog post here, or a birthday present to yourself or a Christmas present for a loved one. For many people too, it’s about commemorating a particular milestone in life with a piece of jewellery.
“The secret of success at Net-a-Porter was because EQ met IQ.” Ah. What a great way to put it, such that intelligence is intelligence…but you absolutely need that emotional warmth, understanding and empathy. Love.
“It was about inclusivity, accessibility and flexibility”. This on their approach to the N-a-P customer. It was about making sure anyone could access their offering at any time, from anywhere in the world, and on their terms. I particularly loved this quote, as it is at the heart of the StyleRocks proposition: you don’t have to be wealthy any more to customise your jewellery – we’ve solved the back end of production issues that removes the need for the middleman (the jeweller) and cuts out time, cost and inconvenience.
Megan also cited Maya Angelou’s famous quote, who said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
‘How you make them feel’ is at StyleRocks’ core
And how you make them feel is the reason I get up every morning – because I want to hear how delighted someone is with jewellery that they’ve designed themselves. Our Net Promoter Score is consistently 9 or 10 which is amazing. I love presenting people with jewellery because of the ‘Ohhhhhhhhh my goodness!!’ when they open the box. One of the best examples of this is when we presented Anita Heiss with her Lollypotz / StyleRocks amethyst & diamond halo ring.
We had a similar response when we gifted Megan with this amazing round brilliant amethyst ring, a token of thanks from Women in Focus & StyleRocks.
Not only did it fit her perfectly (score) but her dress showcased it beautifully (double score). She even did a little bit of modelling for us with the ring as we see here.
And here’s a close-up of this ring:
So what are the learnings from all this? That we’re doing it right. That there is more to do of course. But if we maintain our essence of continuing to make beautiful customised jewellery affordable for all – keeping it flexible, accessible and inclusive – then we’re following in the footsteps of giants.