Subject: Meet Isabel, Associate at YOOX Net A Porter Group

Name: Isabel Atherton

Age: 24

Job Title: Associate, Partners Communications


The main part of my job is communicating with group partners, keeping them updated on company news such as exciting announcements, new hires and updates. Since starting this has evolved, and our partners include the brands that are stocked across NET-A-PORTER, MR PORTER, THE OUTNET, YOOX and ONLINE FLAGSHIP STORES, along with partners such as Imperial College, Soho House and Walpole – so it is very varied!

A huge part of my job is meeting with brands and partners to discuss any questions they may have about how we can support them moving forward and grow our partnerships. More recently, my focus has been on creating engaging content for brands and partners, working on digital campaigns and written content for our Group website and social media channels.

In the Communications team it is our role to promote the work the different brands within the group do, along with highlighting YNAP’s leading position in the luxury e-commerce industry.

I also manage a partnership we have with Imperial College where we are working together to teach young girls how to code – something which has been really exciting and totally out of my comfort zone – it’s great to see so many people waking up to the gender gap in Computer Science and working together to combat this huge issue.

Did you go to university? if so, what did you study? 

I never thought I would go to University and was focused on going straight into work after school. When looking through the UCAS website I came across Broadcast Journalism at Leeds University and it sounded amazing and exactly what I wanted.

It was a great 3 years and I learnt so much about the industry – I would definitely recommend this course or a vocational course to anyone wanting to learn real life journalism experience.

Have you ever interned? If so, where?

Yes – looking back I actually did loads. I started interning when I was 16 as part of my compulsory work experience when I was at school. I went to French Connection HQ in Camden for two weeks as a fashion intern. Whilst there I helped out with a bit of styling for shoots and general admin stuff –  I remember doing lots of sticking of mood boards. I actually went back there for another 2 weeks later on in the summer where I worked on some shoots for their campaign.

I worked at Exposure PR for 2 summers – a lot of press returns and going through product, ensuring the showroom was tidy and once I had to choose and buy jeans for 1D which at the time I thought was the coolest thing.

When I was at University I also did a bit of social media interning for The Palomar restaurant which was great fun and it was really nice to work in a different industry and career field as it was when social media was just getting huge

My job at YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP actually started as a yearlong internship in the Brand Relations teams, and I’m sure my previous experience definitely helped me in getting this role!

I really like to be busy and active, and interning is a great way to fill your time when studying and also get some really valuable experience before graduating.

I also made some great friends who are working in similar jobs who I am still in touch with now.

One thing you wish you knew before starting out in the industry:

When I started working in fashion I used to stress so much about the quality of my outfits. Having the majority of my clothes from the high street, the odd designer hand me down from my mum and copious vintage buys getting dressed in the morning was a very agonizing task.

Everyone in my office was effortlessly chic and stylish and inevitable had all the latest trends. Earning a low salary, living in London and having a social life left me with very little money to splurge on covetable designer pieces. What I did eventually learn though, is styling skills are actually far more important than finding the means to buy into the most expensive items. You can find expensive looking pieces in Zara, Mango and H&M and learn how to style these like a pro – taking inspiration from the catwalks.

When your salary does start going up you can buy into a couple of high quality contemporary designer pieces (Ganni, Rixo, Preen Line) and pair them with your beloved Zara boots, giving them a new sleek lease of life.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?:           

I find this question really hard and it always makes me think I lack focus and self-confidence…however I really do not know

I think there is so much value in staying a long time in one job (especially as a millennial) and I have been at YNAP for nearly 3 years so I would love to see how my career develops here.

Having said that, I also think nowadays we are so lucky that we can do so many different things at the same time so I would love to try out some different roles.

I think it is very important to be strategic and have those clear benchmarks of success however I also think there is a lot of value in being open minded and diverse – I would love to travel and live abroad, learning about different cultures and ways of working

I also think I fell into the corporate world very early on (at 21!) so next I would love to work for a smaller company perhaps a startup – I think there is such a focus on creativity, positive business and having fun which I would love to be involved in

One piece of advice to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps:                      

Have self-confidence, something I actually think I was better at when I was younger and I have lost more with age. Also network and meet people through forums or events – you never know when that person will enter your life or when you will need their help in your career.

When working at big organizations it is so important to have a good reputation among everyone you meet and work with. First impressions are so important and whether I work with someone senior and junior I was always make sure I am polite and thank them afterwards. The fashion industry is so small, remembering this is key!

Read everything you write! I am dyslexic so I am constantly making mistakes in my written work – it means I need to prove read every bit of copy and email I ever write – which is time consuming but worth it

What advice would you give to someone who has no clue what they want to do?

Give yourself time – with time comes opportunities and clarity. Also don’t just do ‘one’ thing but try out lots of different paths until you find your niche

One fun fact about you?                       

People often ask if I am the actress Natalie Dormer – I don’t see it and have never watched Game of Thrones but one summer people stopped me like 5 times – when I was working in a shop someone even asked if they could take a photo of me as it would cheer up her daughter who just got dumped! – I said yes

Where can people find you?                        

Instagram @isabelatherton – but in the name of mental wellbeing I am trying to have a bit of a hiatus!