A Passion For Fashion With A Marketing Flair™

Fashion 2.0 Thought Leaders: Gilt Groupe

This week 4Fashionistas recognizes viral marketing phenomenon, Gilt Groupe  as our next social fashion thought leader and its founders (Kevin P. Ryan, Alexis Mayback and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson).

An idea for selling discounted luxury brands online was sparked when Kevin P. Ryan, former CEO of the online ad company DoubleClick, observed a long line of women waiting to get into a Marc Jacobs sample sale in NYC. It was his Aha! moment. Ryan was aware of Vente Privée, the very successful French company selling fashion overstock online and believed that the Vente Privée business model could work just as well in America. According to Ryan, “All I could think was, if there are 200 people who are willing to stand in this line, that means in the United States there are probably hundreds of thousands,” Ryan says. “But they don’t live in New York, they’re busy right now, they just can’t do that. And I can bring this sample sale to them.”

Ryan hired two computer engineers to start building a website and Alexis Maybank as the company’s chief operating officer.  A few months later, Maybank brought in her longtime friend and Harvard B-School chum, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson to leverage her luxury fashion contacts and experience for the company.  Then in November 2007, Gilt Groupe was formed.  What Gilt Groupe does is called a “flash sale” – a virtual version of a designer sample sale.  It seldom advertises.  Instead Gilt Groupe relies on word-of-mouth; offering current members incentives to invite their friends to join.  “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 in partnership with Gilt Groupe, acting as a bridge between the company and designers.

Gilt Groupe takes the fashion merchandising business model to the next level integrating e-commerce, WOMM and SMM … voilà Fashion 2.0!  It blends social media into the marketing plan with a blog on the website, email, Linkedin, YouTube, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc. that transforms data into actions to engage, amplify awareness and generate leads.  Cloud computing, a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet, is the technology behind the Gilt Groupe website.

Gilt Groupe is part of the AlleyCorp network, a network of affiliated companies founded by Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman.  It is the leading source for today’s top designer brands for women, men, children and luxury living …  insider prices at up to 70% off retail.

The Guild Groupe vision: “Lead the world to a life more beautiful.”  And, what a beautiful life it is with discounted designer brands, 70% off retail, at a click of the mouse.

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  1. Pingback: » 2010 In Review 4Fashionistas

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