Francesca Padula, Director of Marketplaces in our Madrid office, shares her insightful journey in the field of digital commerce.

Meet Francesca Padula, the Director of Marketplaces in Madrid

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I'm from a picturesque part of Southern Italy called Basilicata. My hometown is part of an ancient volcanic valley, a beautiful rural landscape characterised by hills with vineyards, lakes, and waterfalls.

Together with my sisters and our dogs, I grew up close to nature with my relatives living close to me. My grandparents were passionate about literature and history, and I realised that their passion elevated my appreciation and curiosity for international cultures.

What I always carry with me wherever I go is an important message my father told me when I relocated to the Netherlands 14 years ago: “You are always accompanied and driven by the values and the willingness to fly which we have been teaching you”.

In the summer of 2023, I joined the Digital Campus in Madrid. The city's rich offerings in art, architecture, tasty culinary experiences, and local travel opportunities have helped me to quickly adapt and feel part of the wide international community.

What first piqued your interest in digital commerce?

My family and my hometown significantly shaped my identity and core beliefs. One characteristic that stands out in my region is a profound sense of commitment. We persevere until our goals are achieved. This trait is complemented by an innate curiosity and pursuit of discovery, which I inherited from my mother.

Such attributes have naturally drawn me towards digital commerce for the fashion industry, particularly marketplaces. The digital landscape presents a unique opportunity to study consumer behaviours and detect trends in local fashion, and cultural details among diverse customer groups.

The process of translating these insights into trading strategies is a stimulating challenge, which has enriched my professional journey every day.

How have you enjoyed the evolution of your career trajectory, from it being sales-centric to omnichannel-focused now?

During the initial stages of my career, wholesale and franchising were the predominant sales channels for numerous fashion brands, a status it retains for many to this day.

Mastering wholesale, developing negotiation skills, influencing buyers, and making a commercial impact, was a necessity. This period coincided with a European market that was beginning to show signs of a slowdown in sell-out performance.

To overcome this challenge, I had to better understand products as well as the customer journey for each market, from product merchandising to customer care and operations, from retail management to digital strategies. In essence, I was constructing bridges and connecting dots, all directed towards optimising the end-to-end customer journey to drive revenue growth.

This was a crucial moment in my career, this operating model was helping me grow digital revenues in the Middle East as well as in Central Europe, increase franchise partners' profitability in Russia, expand the department store footprint in Southern as well as Northern Europe, and become an omnichannel expert.

What is your current role at Metyis, and what do you love about it?

As a Director of Marketplaces at Metyis, my priority is to empower the teams I collaborate with, guiding them toward achieving our collective goals. Let me offer you a glimpse into my daily routine, which is instrumental in maintaining this focus.

My day begins with a personal wellness hour, a crucial time for mental and physical preparation. It starts with a combination of caffeine and vitamin C, followed by 45 minutes dedicated to sports, accompanied by music, and talks with my family. While having breakfast and preparing for the day, I review the previous day's sales results. This helps me to focus on my way to work on the goals for the day.

The performance of marketplaces can be quantitatively measured, making it essential for each colleague to feel informed and confident about our objectives. These may range from expanding into new markets and platforms to boosting revenue and profitability.

Open communication about challenges and obstacles is a core part of our approach, consuming a significant portion of the day as we organise meetings to find solutions.

What are some exciting challenges that you face at Metyis, and how do you translate them into impact – for your team, Metyis, and our business partners?

By this point, it's probably clear how much I enjoy tackling business problems and encouraging a supportive, goal-oriented environment. A principal challenge we face involves aligning the goals of digital commerce with other teams of our business partners or even with the marketplace platforms.

We are living in a transformation of the marketplace landscape and each platform is required to adapt and evolve. Our approach to overcoming this challenge lies in crafting solutions that bring beneficial outcomes for all parties involved.

To achieve this, I find it important to listen and understand the dynamic of each team and get information without imposing but embracing it. Creating a connection, developing a network, and understanding others´ points of view are instrumental to making an impact.

Could you tell us a little about the Metyis Digital Campus in Madrid? What is it like to work there, and how are we adding tangible business value through it?

It is wonderful to be part of this group of extremely talented and fun colleagues. We add tangible value to AWWG’s business by bringing our own set of values into the work we do and the projects we undertake. Here are some of them:

A sense of ownership: anchored in a partnership model, we feel as responsible for the success of the company as our clients.

Innovation and adaptability: acting as pilot brands ourselves, we constantly find bold, creative, and enterprising ways to solve problems, increase digital commerce, and drive transformational growth to businesses.

Collaboration and inclusivity: we are part of a diverse group where we grow, evolve, and face challenges together.

And my personal favourite - passion: we always feel like we’re part of the group and never forget that a fun, positive way of working helps us achieve our dreams.

According to you, what sets apart the Metyis approach from the other players in the market?

I enjoy describing Metyis' way of working to potential business partners or friends working in the industry and witnessing their reactions.

How many times have we heard the sentence “My team has this goal, but to achieve it we need to influence team A, B, or C?”

Well, this is where Metyis makes a difference, we commit and dedicate time to find ways to make an impact and long-lasting solutions, considering the needs and specificities of our teams and clients.

Lastly, for young talent, which of the Metyis values do you feel is important to nurture and align with to grow as a professional in your field, and why?

One of the Metyis values that I deeply relate with is ‘be driven by curiosity’. I have had the chance to work with multiple colleagues, business partners, clients, and customers through the years and have always tried my best to support them when needed.

I tried and kept on trying, driven by a natural curiosity to understand that most problems have a solution. Today it comes to an advantage as my network is my strength. It helps me to solve problems when I need it.