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How I got here - Lisa Blakeley

Web portal Farfetch’s business development manager never shirks from doing her research.

What is your diary like today?

I spend roughly half of the week in the office and the rest of the time out looking for new boutiques or visiting existing Farfetch partner boutiques. As I’m in the office today I’m reviewing which stores and countries I need to visit again before the end of the year and following up with all of the boutiques I met last month at the various fashion weeks. I take care of the UK and new markets such as Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic states. It’s 14 countries in total, so my travel requires a lot of planning.

What meeting are you most looking forward to today?

If I’m not travelling we have a weekly conference call on a Monday with the whole business development team, which I always enjoy. Although the team is based in seven countries - Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and the US as well as the UK - we are very close. However, we aren’t often all together in one place, so it’s important to keep each other updated. We’ll catch up on which boutiques we are speaking to about joining the Farfetch network and which ones are on our wish list to target, as well as share industry news from our respective markets and discuss travel plans for the upcoming weeks.

What task do you want to postpone?

I have a mountain of expenses to deal with involving a lot of different currencies, so ideally I’d postpone tackling that.

How did you get to where you are today?

A combination of luck and hard work. I joined Farfetch at the very early stages, as I’d previously been working at footwear company Six London, another business owned by Farfetch chief executive and founder José Neves. It was a small team, so I got involved in as much of the business as possible and did whatever needed doing, which gave me a great understanding of Farfetch. When I started on business development I already had a good idea of the boutiques wewanted to work with, but it has taken a lot of research and constant travel to understand the potential partnershipswe could make.

What has been your career highlight?

Discovering our enormous and amazing Polish partner store Vitkac, which none of us knew existed prior to my trip to Warsaw.

If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?

I would have undertaken more internships during university and spent some time learning another language.

As I progress in my career, I see more and more how valuable a second language is.

Who is your mentor?

The business development team is led by Pascale Colony; she has been pivotal to my success in the role.

What’s the best piece of advice she’s given you?

In this role you can only do so much via email and online research. You really need to be on the ground, travel, see things first-hand and meet people face-to-face to understand them properly and build successful partnerships.

How do you see your career progressing?

Farfetch is growing at such a rate. It’s a really exciting time for the business and there is a lot of work to be done here, which I am sure will keep on pushing me and furthering my experience.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

I spend a lot of time in boutiques as I think it’s really important to actually see the product up close, even if you are working for an ecommerce business.

You really need to understand what you are selling.

If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?

I spend a lot of time with the boutique owners in my role at Farfetch. I’m fascinated by how they manage to keep their passion and present such an inspiring view on fashion at the same time as dealing with the daily ins and outs of running a business. So in a dream world I’d love to have my own store but, at the same time, I get to see how tough it can be, so this is very likely to remain a dream.

  • Salaries for this position range from £30,000 to £35,000 (estimate provided by CVUK)

CV

2010 Business development manager, Farfetch

2009 Business development assistant, Farfetch

2008 Showroom assistant, Six London

2007 Business development manager, DMB Property Investment

2006 BA (Hons) in Fashion Marketing, Northumbria University

  • If you want to be featured on the Drapers Jobs page, email james.knowles@emap.com

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