At the 2013 Vogue Festival, the founder of Net-A-Porter and chair of the British Fashion Council Natalie Massanet gave an open, honest and inspiring talk about her story so far – including her rules for life and business and how her pregnancy and her children gave her more balance.
Natalie said: “When I started writing the business plan, I was also pregnant. And, I think, fuelled by hormones and delusions that if I could build a baby, why not a business?
“I made a dreadful mistake or opportunity I’m not sure, of doing both of them at the same time, and it was enormously hard. Actually having a business that I loved and a baby that I loved at the same time kept me enormously balanced.”
Watch the full video here
On her Instagram account she says: “I loved this little girl so much and couldn’t wait to be with her every hour I wasn’t in the office,” she said. “Similarly, the business captivated me beyond my imagination. Having the two simultaneously somehow balanced me. And my priorities were quickly defined: family and business, home and office, head and heart. All the rest had to go. I was also very lucky to have a lot of support at home. Significantly perhaps this also gave me, and the other new mothers on the Net-A-Porter team, insight and empathy into the lives of our consumers – something had to give, and we would be there to provide women like us with reliable service.”
I applaud her candour and the public attention the speech has since garnered. It unsurprisingly trended on Twitter. There is no doubt combining motherhood and being a successful businesswomen isn’t challenging – incredibly so, I’m sure at times, but Natalie forged her own path and created her own team – of men and women – at home and in the office to follow her vision to change the face of fashion and e-commerce as we know it and I admire her for doing this.
I am on a mission right now to help change the way we view and perceive pregnancy and motherhood particularly in the City of London.
To encourage a greater understanding of the valuable contribution, both emotionally and commercially, women can make if we are able to be more flexible in our working arrangements and truly see the untapped power and skill set of the pregnant and mother mind.
If this is something you feel interested or passionate about join me in late May and early June for Lisa Barnwell presents “Bumps in the Boardroom”, a global conversation on the Pregnancy Advantage for Business.