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

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Overview

Gilt, currently valued at more than $1 billion, was launched by Alexis Maybank, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, and three colleagues in 2007. It is one of the most fascinating startups of recent years. And it all began with one bold idea: to bring sample sales online and change the way millions shop.
 
As they write about the day Gilt.com went live: “We had created a Web site that could potentially change the rules of retail…If shopping was ...

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

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Overview

Gilt, currently valued at more than $1 billion, was launched by Alexis Maybank, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, and three colleagues in 2007. It is one of the most fascinating startups of recent years. And it all began with one bold idea: to bring sample sales online and change the way millions shop.
 
As they write about the day Gilt.com went live: “We had created a Web site that could potentially change the rules of retail…If shopping was traditionally a slow, leisurely activity…it would now be competitive, addictive, urgent, thrilling…not just easier, but so much more fun.”
 
Alexis and Alexandra share their perspective in this dramatic story of Gilt’s birth, rise, and evolution. They show how they juggled the conflicting needs of their suppliers, engineers, marketers, and potential investors. They explain how they blended their individual strengths and weaknesses and managed their rapidly growing team. And they take us through the darkest moments of the recession when Gilt might easily have died.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Maybank and Wilson, the founders of high-end online outlet Gilt Groupe, recount their rise to success with an aim to empower entrepreneurs at every level-from brainstorming to building a business. After becoming fast friends during their MBA program at Harvard, Wilson and Maybank set out to combine their love of fashion with their business acumen. The result? An invitation-only online version of a trunk show (or sample sale) where customers could purchase designer items at a discounted price. Gilt Groupe launched in 2007 with a sale of Zac Posen creations, and they attracted other designers by providing a liquidation option for selling excess inventory directly and discreetly to consumers. Their success was immediate and remarkable; Gilt now ships to over 90 countries, and in 2011 the company was valued at one billion dollars. Maybank and Wilson discuss how they solved practical and strategic problems, including choosing the right new hires for their growing business and appealing to male consumers. The authors provide helpful checklists, as well as concise overviews of their respective leadership styles. In addition to being an entertaining and remarkable success story, Maybank and Wilson's tale is also practical and inspiring.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Bobbi Brown

“Alexis and Alexandra are the ultimate entrepreneurs, having combined their love of fashion with the evolution of technology. They changed the way millions of people shop and have inspired others to follow in their footsteps. This book gives valuable insight into starting and building a business from the ground up based on one good idea.  It’s a must-read for anyone who has a dream and entrepreneurial spirit.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591846260
  • Publisher: Portfolio Trade
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 414,228
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

ALEXIS MAYBANK and ALEXANDRA WILKIS WILSON cofounded Gilt Groupe with Kevin Ryan, Mike Bryzek, and Phong Nguyen. Both have BAs from Harvard College and MBAs from Harvard Business School. They live in Manhattan with their husbands and children.
  Visit www.giltfounders.com

Follow Alexis on Twitter: @GiltFounder
Follow Alexandra on Twitter: @GiltAlexandra

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Table of Contents

Preface: Relationships. Execution xi

Introduction: Zac Posen in Daniel Island, South Carolina? 1

Chapter 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) 7

Chapter 2 The History of an Idea: Dreaming Up Gilt Groupe 31

Chapter 3 From the Best of Friends to Business Partners: How to Know When You've Met Your Match 40

Chapter 4 An Idea Becomes Reality: Starting Your Business at the Right Time 61

Chapter 5 Networking Our Way to a November Launch 77

Chapter 6 Changing the Look of E-commerce: Photos, Curation, and Gilt Groupe's Visual Branding 90

Chapter 7 Dating, Marriage, and How to Get the Right Venture Capitalist to Fall for Your Start-up 99

Chapter 8 From College Fashionistas to Urban It Girls: Planting the Seeds of a Viral Phenomenon 122

Chapter 9 The Ground Game: Insider Marketing and How to Keep a Growing Business Exclusive 136

Chapter 10 Cubicles, Cappuccinos, and How We Built an Effective Start-up Team 150

Chapter 11 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 Recession 165

Chapter 12 How We Developed Our Own Leadership Styles-Even as Gilt Groupe Grew and Our Roles Evolved 189

Chapter 13 Hypergrowth, Exhaustion, and One Hilarious Japanese Press Conference 221

Chapter 14 Growth, Partnership, and the Future of Fashion and E-commerce 241

Acknowledgments 255

Index 257

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 24, 2012

    Inspiring

    Great record of how Gilt was built. They share business and management tips while inspiring the reader to turn a passion into a business. Enjoyable and useful

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2013

    Great Book!

    Great Book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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