Thursday, 30 January 2014

The INDUSTRY: Nick Robertson CEO of ASOS



Yesterday evening I attended The Industry’s first event of 2014. The London premier members club for fashion professionals this time welcomed e-commerce titan and CEO of ASOS, Nick Robertson to the floor with Lauretta Roberts, advisor to The Industry and director of global trend forecasting giant WGSN leading the questions. Packed to the rafters at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, the event saw the likes of industry specialists flock to the interview, including fashion editors from the Sunday Times Style, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle UK, Vanity Fair, American Vogue and the chairman of Hearst Publishing, Terry Mansfield. 


Nick talked us through how he went from packing and organising boxes in a warehouse to an OBE award-winning national treasure – crediting nothing but some strokes of ‘luck’ (and some PR) as his secret. Since starting up in 2000, online e-commerce giant ASOS has exploded onto the scene – and the question on all of our lips was – how did ASOS side-step the crash? Although Nick credited it to luck, he also said it was ‘because we had such little money, we couldn’t really go bust – and my brother had put in half and I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting around the table at Christmas having lost it all.’


Shipping over 80,000 orders a day, to 29.5 million users in 237 countries - the £1billion bulls-eye that Nick has set as his target number is well within close range. And we can’t forget that ASOS also acts as a gateway for smaller businesses - “I don’t want to compete against Amazon,” he says. “Amazon isn’t everyone’s friend because it undercuts other brands,” says Nick. “ASOS isn’t the enemy, we are an enabler. If it’s fashionable and twenty-something year olds want to wear it, why wouldn’t we stock it?”

Understandably the ASOS future is looking SERIOUSLY bright – you’ll-need-your-sunglasses kind of bright, and I for one, can’t wait to see where it goes…


The lovely jewellery designer, Sarah Angold asks a question...


Nick Robertson, the lovely Courtney Blackman and Lauretta Roberts...

All images and quotes are sourced from Forward PR/The Industry
Photography: Sam Atkinson for The Industry

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