TT Vol. 110
Serena, Michael Heizer, YNAP Sale & Gem App II
Clockwise from Top.
The greatest women’s tennis player (perhaps all tennis players?) of all time is retiring this month, after one last run at the US Open.
She has a long essay in Vogue describing what her career symbolizes:
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. Mistakes are learning experiences, and I embrace those moments. I’m far from perfect, but I’ve also taken a lot of criticism, and I’d like to think that I went through some hard times as a professional tennis player so that the next generation could have it easier. Over the years, I hope that people come to think of me as symbolizing something bigger than tennis.
We chat more about Serena in this week’s podcast.
Artist Michael Heizer has spent the last 50 years in the remote Nevada desert working on his masterpiece called “City.” The $40M project is a mile and a half long, half a mile wide, and is filled with dirt mounds, roads, mesas and geometric sculptures that conjure pre-Columbian civilizations.
I have come to think of “City” like Mount Rushmore and Hoover Dam. It is bravado, awesome and nuts, a testament to a certain crusty kind of American can-do-ism. With its high-low allusions to Mayan and Incan sites and interstate highways, Heizer seems to argue for a 4,000-year chain of cultural invention and engineering.
The business of buying designer fashion at wholesale prices, and selling online only, continues to be incredibly challenging. Net-A-Porter has been at it for over two decades, and while it has grown significantly, it still loses money.
This week, its current owner Richemont decided it was time to stem the losses, and has started the process of offloading the money losing operation. It lost $4B EUR on the acquisition! As BOF highlights, no one has really figured out yet how to make the margins work in this business:
The deal marks a major consolidation in the hyper-competitive and challenging luxury e-commerce sector, where price competition, high customer acquisition costs and logistical challenges make it difficult to turn a profit.
The deal is structured so that the new owner, Farfetch, has the option to acquire 100% of Net-A-Porter should it achieve profitability; if not, it will be sold again, or IPO.
There are only a handful of large, e-commerce only, luxury retailers left. All are hoping they will be profitable with enough scale. However, they are all competing directly with the brands stocked on their websites, as well as each other! This drives up costs significantly. Further, luxury players all have excellent websites, and plenty of brick & mortar locations, something that didn’t exist when Net-A-Porter launched.
It seems the market is heading towards further consolidation, and we would not be surprised to see brands like SSENSE, Matchesfashion and MyTheresa become acquisition targets.
Last week, we wrote about how much we like Gem, a new app/site that aggregates inventory from different vintage clothing resellers. Well, with us needing to go into the office more after 2+ years of WFH, we’ve been using it to start to refresh things. Just this week alone, Raquel has picked up these pieces:
Chris & Raquel
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