With a CV boasting stints at American Vogue and Issey Miyake, it was almost a given when’s CEO Natalie Massenet appointed Stephanie Phair to take on the role of director for their discount spinoff site, in 2009.

Four years on, under Stephanie’s direction, the site has gone from strength to strength and now offers innovative editorial, hugely popular sale events and over 200 designer brands, all at a generous markdown.

We head to Samovar Lounge at The One&Only Royal Mirage Dubai, for tea and cakes with Stephanie to chat shopping and looking chic for less.

What is the relationship between and was the first site to really show that you could sell high fashion online and after 10 years they decided to launch to target the sale shopper.

We share the same offices but have separate teams for buying, marketing, editorial etc…The third site to launch was for men. All the sites share a common DNA, which is done through our editorial teams using videos, trend reports, interviews and much more.

What type of customer does attract? 

A smart shopper in her mid-30s who loves fashion and seeks top quality. Along with food and travel, fashion is just one of the things she spends on, so our customer looks for great value.

Many prefer to ‘try before they buy’, do you think this puts people off online shopping?  

What is great about online is that the changing room is your bedroom. You can try it on in the comfort of your home with all your accessories and the items in your own wardrobe.

Something we took from is sizing and fit. Because we are online we focus on this a lot, every item is tried on by a fit model and then we describe it. This helps people know if it’s true to size. With online shopping it’s practice, like everything else! The more you do it, the better you get at knowing what will look good.

Is there anything you shouldn’t buy online?

I buy everything online, except maybe food.

How has the number of woman shopping online grown in the last few years?

It’s expediential. In general woman are getting much more comfortable with shopping on the web. We’re seeing a double-digit increase in the Middle East every year, so this is a great market for us.

What brands are always a sure sell-out? 

Anything by Christian Louboutin. The minute we have his shoes, they sell-out.

Also Marchesa, their embellished dresses are hugely popular, especially in this region.

What are your top tips to looking good for less?

Don’t fall for the trend just because it’s out there. Go for something that fits and suits you. If you find a certain shape works for you, be it an A-line or pencil skirt, go for that.

Also, you don’t have to shop by designer, shop by category. That way you may discover a cool label you didn’t know about. Be open-minded.

What’s topping your S/S13 wish list?

Lots of buttery soft leather and wrap skirts.

What’s the best bargain you ever scored?

A beautiful Dolce&Gabbana tired party dress.

Quickfire Q’s


EW’s edit

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