Gilt Groupe took online upscale shopping, added a little exclusivity and got things right.
To take part in Gilt sales, you need an invitation. A current member must invite you, thereby allowing you to take part in weekly sales at up to 70% off retail. Items are offered in very limited quantity and when you recommend people, you get a little kickback. Gilt offers its subscribers a $25 credit for every referral that purchases something from the site.
Offering everything from Ralph Lauren to Bulgari to Thom Browne – in limited supply – Gilt sells menswear, women’s clothing and accessories. Sales are offered daily and items generally remain listed until quantities are exhausted. But don’t worry, you can plan ahead. When you sign up, Gilt provide a weekly email summarizing upcoming sales, so you can add dates to your calendar accordingly. Each daily sale begins at noon.
The Gilt web page offers an extremely streamline look. It’s interface is easy to use, user friendly and coincides with their upscale image. And, if something needs returned, no problem. But be warned, they don’t offer cash refunding but will happily issue Gilt credit for future purchases.
I also love their blog, which provides a great mix of fashion and business. It discusses current labels Gilt is selling, covers recent photo shoots and discusses the new labels to the scene. It’s a well thought out concept and if you’re into fashion, worth your time.
Started in 2007 by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Gilt Groupe formed out of a bond of friendship. Maybank, a West coast dot com mogul, and Wilson, an East coast luxury goods dealer, decided to broaden the country’s fashion sense from their New York City offices. As their site states,
Alexis and Alexandra set out to take the New York invitation only sample sale “on the road” via the Internet superhighway; they made what was once accessible to New Yorkers, accessible to the country. With the launch of Gilt Groupe, ecommerce met fashion and your closet breathed a huge sigh of relief.