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Net-a-porter on Keeping Exclusive Capsules Actually Exclusive

Netaporter global buying director, Elizabeth von der Goltz.

CAPSULE CRAZY–Another day, another “exclusive” capsule collection. If that adjective fails to excite any longer, you’d be joining a growing set of voices in that view.

Conscious of consumer fatigue and a saturation point for limited edition products, is trying to reinvent the future of an exclusive capsule.

Calling it “a work in progress”, Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director for Net-a-porter said, “We’ve done them for such a long time. All of them almost have to be brands–we can’t say we don’t [let them]–but we like to be the only retailer you’re doing an exclusive collection for the year.”

She continued: “We’re seeing so much out there it’s getting a bit noisy to keep it really special. Every design needs to be unique and different. It’s not just a coloration, it [needs to be] different from the past seasons,” she said.

Since von der Goltz joined Net-a-porter, collaboration highlights include the debut of a Balenciaga collection, the Fendi logo project and securing a role as Kith’s exclusive online retail partner for women’s.

“There’s so much competition than when [Net-a-porter] started,” von der Goltz said. “The number one focus is to offer the best curation, the best edit, and in the markets that we’re strong, we continue to be the forefront of everyone’s minds in those places–that’s always discovering new brands and having the best curation of the big brands.”

Coming up quickly on her one year mark at Net-a-porter, von der Goltz said she had set about changing the structure of the buying team, which stands at about 60 now, bringing in a buying director for non-apparel.

Jewelry is a major focus, in part due to von der Goltz’s expertise in the category previously honed at Bergdorf Goodman, setting up a dedicated home for it on the site including special collectors’ jewelry that can go into the millions of dollars.

By geography, China remains a tough market to crack owing to import taxes. Many orders for Mainland Chinese customers are rerouted through overseas addresses such as Hong Kong, Net-a-porter’s largest market within Asia Pacific, or via the U.S. also. The group is also working on cultivating the Middle East further, where it is to open a distribution center, its fourth worldwide in the second half of the year.

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