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2021, The Year That Was: Edward Sabbagh, VP, Marketplace, Farfetch For a company whose mission is to be "the global platform for luxury fashion," Farfetch has been steadfastly adhering to this goal in 2021, and its efforts in this regard have certainly borne fruit for the enterprise this year.

By Aby Sam Thomas Edited by Aby Thomas

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Edward Sabbagh, VP, Marketplace, Farfetch

For a company whose mission is to be "the global platform for luxury fashion," Farfetch has been steadfastly adhering to this goal in 2021, and its efforts in this regard have certainly borne fruit for the enterprise this year. "I am truly impressed with the resilience of the luxury industry, which, after an unprecedented period, is already back to growth, with an even stronger foundation," says Edward Sabbagh, VP, Marketplace, Farfetch. "I am very proud that Farfetch was a close partner for both retailers and brands in this time, delivering strong growth to our sellers, and as a result, doubling our gross merchandise value in the last 24 months."

Much of the success Farfetch is seeing now can be drawn back to savvy decisions made by the business in the past, one of which was its 2019 acquisition of the Milan-headquartered New Guards Group, an enterprise that includes world-renowned fashion brands like Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh, Palm Angels, Alanui, and others in its portfolio. "One of the core strategies behind the transaction was to create a pipeline of original content and exclusive collaborations that would drive buzz and a significant halo effect to increase the engagement of our global customers around the Farfetch brand, and ultimately drive more organic traffic," Sabbagh explains. "In early October, we launched the first brand jointly created by New Guards Group and Farfetch, There Was One (TWO), which is a line of elevated wardrobe essentials with sustainability built in and longevity in mind, borne from our marketplace data insights."

Farfetch's Ramadan 2021 edit. Source: Farfetch

Keeping a close eye on customer trends is thus clearly what has guided Farfetch's moves in this industry so far, and it doesn't look like that strategy is going to change any time soon- indeed, it's this focus that will be fueling the platform's evolution in the future as well. "More and more, customers are expecting their shopping experiences to be really connected, whether they are shopping online or in-store- and this is where our "Luxury New Retail' strategy comes in," Sabbagh says. "We're reimagining the luxury retail experience through the use of technology to create seamless, connected customer journeys that blend the best of online and physical shopping. We have a vision for the evolution of luxury retail: to drive the transformation of the entire industry by creating a truly personal and personalized shopping experience that doesn't separate the online and offline, but brings the two harmoniously together to connect with the customer– wherever they are."

There Was One. Source: Farfetch

Related: 2021, The Year That Was: Nisha Ramisetty, Co-Founder, Naksha Collections

And this proposed future bodes well not just for Farfetch's customers, but for its partners as well. "When our customers shop on Farfetch, the items arrive from one of 700+ boutiques in one of 50 countries around the world, or from the stores of our many brand partners, altogether representing over 3000 designers, mostly small and unique creators of fashion," Sabbagh notes. "I look forward to seeing this network grow."

Reflections 2021: Edward Sabbagh, VP, Marketplace, Farfetch

Invest in yourself. "No matter how prepared we are in leading our businesses and teams, we will always face unexpected and/or uncontrollable events that will test us as leaders. Dedicating time daily on improving my mental and emotional health has been my best investment to deal with the unknown. Personally, it's been about meditation, controlled fasting, and exercising, which have all become part of my daily routine, but there is no universal playbook here. My experience above is more about the "why,' rather than the "how."

Stay incredibly curious. "Experience is important; learning from one's own successes and failures is very powerful. This said, with the rapid evolution of technology, trends, consumer expectations etc., relying on experience can sometimes be the wrong approach to decision making, or can be a blocker to innovation. There are countless ways to ensure we always stay "ahead of the curve,' as a business and from a personal perspective, I find curiosity to be the common denominator in all of them."

Related: 2021, The Year That Was: Natalia Shustova, Founder, Goshá

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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