When Tom and Ruth Chapman opened their small clothing boutique in London’s Wimbledon Village in 1987, they knew they would have to remain on their toes to succeed in the ever-changing world of fashion. Even so, the husband-and-wife team never imagined just how different the face of commerce would look 30 years later.
With the rising popularity of the internet and social media, their company — Matchesfashion.com — shifted from relying on local customers and word-of-mouth advertising to meeting the demands of a global marketplace. The Chapmans had to adapt to both how their customers shopped and how the brands they sold evolved.
Now, fresh off of celebrating its 30th anniversary last year, Matchesfashion.com is one of the world’s leading online fashion retailers, stocking more than 450 brands and shipping to nearly 200 countries. The company was even named British Luxury Brand of the Year in 2017, beating out luxury department stores Harrods and Farfetch.
“We’ve seen this change over the past 30 years — and it’s really accelerated over the last 10 years, largely due to digital and social media — where suddenly brands that used to take years and years to establish any positioning in the world have suddenly become instantly recognizable to consumers,” said Tom Chapman.
With nearly 90 percent of its sales online, Matchesfashion.com relies on Wells Fargo to help manage its working capital and the complexities of conducting international transactions.
“The relationship with Wells Fargo has been so strong and incredibly supportive to our business — and relationships are so important to us,” Chapman said. “They’ve helped us plan our growth, helped us make decisions for the right reasons, and helped us through this journey.”