By Invitation Only : How We Built GILT and Changed the Way Millions Shop

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-04-12
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
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The founders of Gilt Groupe reveal how they built the Web's most famous fusion of high tech and high fashion. For years, sample sales have lured fashion insiders to makeshift storefronts in anonymous locations, offering dramatic, fleeting bargains on coveted designer brands. For those lucky enough to make an exclusive e-mail list, a Marc Jacobs or Hermès sample sale is a drop- everything-and-run event. Harvard MBAs Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, best friends and dedicated sample sale shoppers, saw the industry-changing potential of taking sample sales onto the Internet. In November 2007, they launched their members-only Web site to a select national group of thirteen thousand young, high-end shoppers. They offered 50-70 percent off luxury brands like John Varvatos and Valentino, in "flash" sales lasting just thirty-six hours. It became an immediate viral hit as members rapidly invited friends to join. In four short years, Gilt Groupe has spawned dozens of imitators and grown to five million members and has a valuation of $1 billion. Maybank and Wilkis Wilson explain how they launched a simple yet groundbreaking business that catered to their passions. They provide straight talk on how to build a start-up and negotiate the conundrums that still face women in business. For Gilt customers interested in an inside view of the fashion industry, they also provide a revealing portrait of key players like Zac Posen, Christian Louboutin, Valentino, and many others.

Author Biography

Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson cofounded Gilt Groupe with Kevin Ryan, Mike Bryzek and Phong Nguyen. Previously, Maybank had launched eBay Canada and eBay Motors; Wilson had worked for Merrill Lynch, Louis Vuitton, and Bulgari. Both have BAs from Harvard College and MBAs from Harvard Business School. They live in Manhattan with their husbands and children.

Visit www.gilt.com

Follow Alexis on Twitter: @GiltFounder

Follow Alexandra on Twitter: @GiltAlexandra

Table of Contents

Preface: Relationships. Executionp. xi
Introduction: Zac Posen in Daniel Island, South Carolina?p. 1
The Perfect Complements: Our Journey from Cambridge to New York (Featuring eBay, Louis Vuitton, Plenty of Sample Sales, and One Fabulous Wedding in Miami)p. 7
The History of an Idea: Dreaming Up Gilt Groupep. 31
From the Best of Friends to Business Partners: How to Know When You've Met Your Matchp. 40
An Idea Becomes Reality: Starting Your Business at the Right Timep. 61
Networking Our Way to a November Launchp. 77
Changing the Look of E-commerce: Photos, Curation, and Gilt Groupe's Visual Brandingp. 90
Dating, Marriage, and How to Get the Right Venture Capitalist to Fall for Your Start-upp. 99
From College Fashionistas to Urban It Girls: Planting the Seeds of a Viral Phenomenonp. 122
The Ground Game: Insider Marketing and How to Keep a Growing Business Exclusivep. 136
Cubicles, Cappuccinos, and How We Built an Effective Start-up Teamp. 150
In Which We Face a Supply Crunch, Are Momentarily Tempted to Compromise Our Integrity, Struggle to Satisfy the Appetites of a Growing Membership, and Come Face-to-Face with a Worldwide Recessionp. 165
How We Developed Our Own Leadership Styles-Even as Gilt Groupe Grew and Our Roles Evolvedp. 189
Hypergrowth, Exhaustion, and One Hilarious Japanese Press Conferencep. 221
Growth, Partnership, and the Future of Fashion and E-commercep. 241
Acknowledgmentsp. 255
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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