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Natalie Massenet on life before Net-a-Porter

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“I was told there was no money in it,” she says in an interview in The Sunday Times Style magazine, published yesterday. “It was before the whole Starbucks thing.” She also flirted with launching a range of expensive candles: “I took samples to several designer stores in LA, but they all said that nobody would pay more than a dollar for a candle.”

In her determination to corner a new market, she set up Net-a-Porter, selling high fashion over the internet. Today, nearly two million women log on to browse or buy from more than 200 leading labels on the website.

Rumour has it that sales at the upmarket fashion business in the year ending January 2009 rose by more than 50 per cent to around £85m. Margins also improved with a pre-tax profit rise in the region of 300 per cent to more than £9m.

Net-a-Porter was ranked 58th in last year’s Hot 100. To read profiles on all of the country’s fastest growing companies, click here. If you want to know more about high end candle businesses try our article about Scottish candle maker Darceys candles.

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