Gilt Groupe: A Shopper’s Discounted Dream Come True

February 17, 2010 • Shopping

Cofounders Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank

Cofounders Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank

There’s this underlying thrill with discount shopping that most people aren’t willing to admit. I know for myself, when I wear something that I didn’t have to spend my life savings on, I feel so much better parading around in it. The fact that I can look chic, but leave behind that heavy price tag that almost sinks me to the ground, is self-gratifying. Well, others agree with me like the founders of Gilt Groupe, a business of selling high fashion at deep discounts.

Longtime friends Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson cofounded Gilt Groupe in 2007, deciding to take the sample sales of New York and make them available for others nationally.

This invite-only, online shopping experience allows you to find high-end brands like Rodarte, Derek Lam and Christian Louboutin for up to 70% off the retail price! The first come, first served basis encourages you to log on early, because the full collection of merchandise is always available at the start of the sale. To know what’s coming in advance, the designers’ bios and reels preview the next sale’s items.

This site has expanded outstandingly in just a short burst of time. The company says that an hour after the weekday sale kickoff, around noon, its site is visited by an average of 100,000 shoppers. Its executives say that in 2009, just two years after its launch, it posted revenues of $170 and this year the company predicts the revenues will double.

It’s as intense and genuine as waiting for doors to open with a crowded mob all glaring at the sale signs. Instead, with Gilt Groupe you can do it online and in the comfort of your own home. Instead of unleashing the dark side that sales bring out in us, sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy the silence.

“What Gilt did, I think it’s a combination of vision and smarts and timing,” says Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which has been working with Gilt Groupe.

“There was an abundance of merchandise that needed an outlet,” said Kolb. “They created a genuine fashion space that felt right and had an aesthetic and clearly had a consumer base.”

Gilt executives think that the company is a safety net for designers to fall back on, but other designers are now making pieces especially for the site.

“We really strategize with these brands,” says Wilson. “We’re not just about taking leftovers.”

Gilt has recently passed 2 million members. What are you waiting for? Click here and become a member today!

Source: New York Times,

Photo Source: New York Observer

-Heather Youkhana

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