To celebrate International Women’s Day, this year Klarna is powering a series of conversations between Camilla Giesecke, Chief Expansion Officer at Klarna, and women-founders from retail and e-commerce, whose brands are leading through innovation and relentless customer obsession. Klarna, a leading global retail bank, payments, and shopping service provider, is proudly partnering with these international brands across all their markets, helping them stay competitive and build loyalty by reshaping the entire shopping experience around the customer.
In France, Camilla spoke with Fanny Moizant, President and Co-Founder of Vestiaire Collective, a company dedicated to providing an opportunity for people to extend the lifespan of their pre-loved items, embedding circularity at the heart of the fashion industry and consumer mindset. The brand has successfully built a community for fashion activists around the world, creating a sustainable solution for selling pieces they no longer needed. Born and raised in France, Moizant started her career in fashion working for brands including John Galliano and Mexx. She came up with the idea to launch Vestiaire Collective in 2009, after noticing the huge amount of waste the fashion system was producing, as people were consuming more yet wearing less. Following the company’s success in securing its position as Europe’s leading resale site for desirable fashion, Moizant relocated from Paris to London and then to Hong Kong in 2017 to spearhead the company’s expansion into Asia Pacific.
“One should never compromise on their core values”
Camilla: Fanny, we all know success comes at the end of a long road of trying and failing. And sometimes sacrificing things we care about or making compromises. What is the one thing that you never compromise?
Fanny: I believe that the one thing one should never compromise is one’s core values. These are important to set from the start as they are one’s guiding pillars and can also fundamentally help decision making when one is confronted by a challenge or a cross-roads. You can ask yourself, am I being loyal to my values, to my founding pillars? Personal or business wise having these values clear from the start can really help ground yourself when facing difficulties or following your entrepreneurship.
“Being customer obsessed is closely entwined with being customer originated”
Camilla: Everyone talks about customer obsession and customer centricity. But we’ve used these terms to such an extent, that I wonder whether this hasn’t become too abstract. For us at Klarna, it means helping consumers save time and money, to have financial control and make informed decisions. It also means being a global growth partner for retailers. And we always challenge ourselves to live up to that definition, to do it better. What is your own definition of being customer obsessed?
Fanny: At Vestiaire Collective we are extremely proud of our community of 15M individuals who are committed to spreading the pre-loved fashion message and acting collectively to drive change for good. Defining being customer obsessed is closely entwined with being customer originated, our business model exists thanks to the community and without it we would not be here. We have founded a global catalog of highly desirable goods in over 80 countries, because our community is creating this everyday across the world. We are made by fashion lovers for fashion lovers. So our definition is based on three factors: ensuring their user experience is the most premium out there, igniting their fashion inspiration as the fashion lovers we are ourselves and building more and more the solid trust we have grown across the years thanks to our expertise and meticulous luxury authentication team.
“The more we expand, the more we render circular fashion accessible and expand our sustainability with our growth”
Camilla: One of the things I’m passionate about is working with our retail partners to grow their business in their home market, but also help them expand in other countries. What role does expansion play in your growth strategy?
Fanny: We expand, because our community expands. We are constantly working hard to ensure we render fashion democratic and give accessibility to our global community to the fashion circularity in other geographic locations. 80% of our transactions are cross-border in which orders grew 90% globally and we identify are mainly highlighted by a 100% increase in the US and The APAC region growing particularly strong with 150% growth over the same period. Expanding also allows us to be more sustainable and accessible, with our authentication Hub opening in the UK we facilitated shipping and fees challenged by Brexit. With same country deliveries we have direct shipping and reduce carbon emission when items are sent local to local. The benefit of our business model is the more we expand the more we render circular fashion accessible and expand our sustainability with our growth.
“Greatness and innovation go hand in hand”
Camilla: I really love that! Now, let’s talk about innovation. Some would argue that it is an overrated and vague concept and that, instead of asking ourselves on how to innovate, we should be asking – how we can create great things? Where do you stand on this and what is your definition of innovation?
Fanny: I don’t believe one has to choose one over the other, you do not have to sacrifice greatness in order to have innovation, they coexist and have a symbiotic relationship, when we started Vestiaire Collective the business model was innovative to the luxury fashion market seeing fashion as accessible, democratic and have the sustainability angle of giving a second life to unused fashion pieces thus propelling the circular fashion economy. Today sustainability is a fundamental need in every business model and this is why big brands trust our expertise partnering with us to help them be part of that economy that is constantly innovating. As a tech company we also have to ensure greatness and innovation go hand in hand, searching for the best way to give our community a premium experience from A to Z in their customer journey, both innovation and greatness are a big part of that.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Camilla: It is tough to build a business! What would you say to young women who are considering becoming entrepreneurs? And what advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
Fanny: My advice to a young entrepreneur would be to “have a vision”. Building a company is hard and takes time and determination. You need a solid vision to keep direction and guide you when feeling lost. It’s your red thread along the journey and helps you during challenging moments, your vision should be there to refer to always when in doubt.
Express this vision clearly, say it out loud, or very often, share it with all your teams, make it a reference. It will help all of them to work towards the same goal too.
If I had a message to my younger self it would be: “what would you do if you weren’t afraid”. It’s a quote from Sheryl Sandberg that follows me everywhere. When I’m in doubt, panic, or get worried about the next milestone I always try to take a step back and then using this moto gives me perspective and strength.
Camilla: Thanks a lot, Fanny! This quote is actually one of my favorites and one that inspired me when we articulated Klarna’s core values, where one is “courage”. Personally, I am scared a lot of times, but I also know that a certain dose of fear helps me stay focused and it really helps me grow. Congratulations on your amazing journey and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and Vestiaire Collective!