Farfetch Creates an Independent Business to Power Brands' E-Commerce Sites

For the London-based start-up, more seems to be better.
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Eliza Brooke
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For the London-based start-up, more seems to be better.
Farfetch CEO Jose Neves, center, at the Walpole British Luxury Awards last year. Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Farfetch CEO Jose Neves, center, at the Walpole British Luxury Awards last year. Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

In the last year, Farfetch, a retail site that lets you shop luxury boutiques around the world, has shown its expansion strategy is anything but conservative. When the start-up raised $86 million in March, its fifth round of venture capital financing, it did so with the objective of accelerating its international growth while tackling the distribution challenges of same-day delivery. Now, Farfetch is tightening its relations with brands, having created a new, independent business called Farfetch Black & White, through which it's hoping to sell a white-label version of its e-commerce platform to retailers and designers. 

Brands can either create a boutique on Farfetch's main site or use the company's technology to power their own e-commerce sites. According to a release from Farfetch, one incentive to link up with its network is the opportunity to capitalize on its omnichannel capabilities like click-and-collect and in-store returns. 

With Farfetch Black & White, Farfetch is pitting itself against Yoox Group, which, in addition to its own multi-brand sites, designs and operates the e-commerce sites of a dense roster of high fashion brands: Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani (the list goes on). And Yoox has never been stronger. In March, it announced its forthcoming merger with Net-a-Porter, a move that's only going to further cement its relationship with designers.

Farfetch says that it's already working with names like Roksanda Illincic, AMI, Derek Lam and Jason Wu, so perhaps it will prove to a be a winner with more up-and-coming labels.