It’s not all about runway shows and globetrotting.
Working for one of the biggest luxury e-commerce platforms has it’s perks, but there are also plenty of challenges along the way.
Elizabeth Von Der Goltz has been the global fashion buying director for NET-A-PORTER for almost two years where she oversees a team of nearly 50 buyers across RTW, shoes, accessories and jewellery.
Prior to joining, she worked as an Assistant Buyer for Barneys and then joined Bergdorf Goodman in New York where she served as their Couture Buyer for 14 years. Fashion is well and truly in her blood and below she shares with us her routine as well as an insight into the brands we in the Middle East can’t stop shopping.
What does a normal work day look like for you?
A normal day can vary so much, but when I’m actually in London and in the office, I tend to be in back-to-back meetings. I’ll sit down with my senior team to go over the buying strategy and orders for the upcoming season. Then I’ll see our merchandisers, the marketing team to discuss upcoming brand launches, and the site navigation or data insights teams to hear how our brands are performing. It’s nonstop! I also travel frequently because we are constantly scouting new designers and meeting with our existing brands. I’ll typically be in New York, Paris, or Milan, going from one showroom to the next and meeting with the executive teams of the brands.
How did you end up pursuing a career as a buyer?
I studied art history and interned at Christie’s in NY while I was still in university. I’ve always been extremely visual and luckily have an amazing memory for everything I see. I have this creative side, but I also have a very mathematical and business side of me so wanted to find a field I could fully use all my skillset in.
One of my best friends from boarding school’s older sister was the chief merchant at Joyce in HK which was the most special amazing store in Hong Kong where I grew up. They brought fashion to Asia. She advised me that if I wanted it work in fashion that I should move to NY after graduating university so I did.
At the time Barneys was my fashion Mecca in NYC and I was super lucky to land a job as an assistant buyer there. I landed this dream job after years of experience in the retail world. I worked at Barneys New York right out of college, and then I moved on to Bergdorf Goodman.
What are the joys and challenges of your role?
Often people see what’s on the surface, that we fly all around the world attending fashion shows, and they think that’s all we do. The reality is we’re in showrooms, in appointments, in offices and we’re running a business at the same time.
This most important part of my role is to ensure we are buying the right product – the best brands and the best edit to hit our annual financial targets. And we have to keep growing so that is the biggest challenge. We are just lucky that the commodity we are dealing in is something so creative and beautiful.
The best part is always seeing the beautiful collections up close and meeting so many creative and talented people. It keeps me interested in and excited about what I do. It’s also incredibly rewarding to work with the talented team of buyers at my job – helping them to not only develop, but to also evolve in their own careers.
Which brands do you feel do particularly well in the region?
Balenciaga, Fendi and Oscar de la Renta do super well in the Middle East, but we have also noticed a surge of popularity with contemporary brands such as Nanushka and Staud bags.
Alexis Mabille and Naeem Khan do super well within the eveningwear category in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern woman also embraces new fashion and discovery brands at all levels, including Vanguard designers such as Peter Do.
Beauty and in particular skincare does super well in the Middle East, especially from Dr Barbara Sturm and Sunday Riley.
Have you added any new brands from this region to the website?
We have recently launched L’Afshar, a handbag line, based in Dubai which we love. We also love SemSem’s draped silhouettes and Emirati influences.
What are your top 3 designers that we should we keep an eye on?
Peter Do, Gabriela Hearst and The Row.