Hive Exclusive: Enter To Win A Gryson Handbag From Gilt Groupe!

by Lisanne Silverman • Jan 7, 2009 7:22 AM PST

Bags • Giveaways • Shopping • Fashion

Hive Exclusive: Enter To Win A Gryson Handbag From Gilt Groupe!

There was a time when I would have moved to New York just for the sample sales, but with the discovery of one golden web site, the idea of scrambling all over the city in search of that one legendary piece, the one that would surely be worth all of the wasted lunch breaks and downtown-or-else cab fares just didn't seem so appealing anymore. I have Gilt Groupe to thank for that! Founders and close friends Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson created Gilt Groupe after realizing the New York sample sale scene had overwhelming potential for success on an online platform where anyone could have access to designer goods at brag-worthy prices. With 15 to 20 sales per week and a roster of designer offerings from Zac Posen to Vera Wang, and reminder emails to keep members up-to-date on the latest Gilt sales, it's clear that Alexis and Alexandra know what savvy shoppers really want- and it doesn't necessarily involve an NYC zip code. We spoke to co-founder Alexandra about how Gilt Groupe got its start, designers and sales she'd love to see featured, and what sets Gilt apart from the rest- read on to catch the exclusive interview, and find out how you can enter to win a Gryson handbag (an $855 value!) from Stylehive and Gilt Groupe!

Stylehive: How did you come up with the idea of Gilt Groupe?
Alexandra: Alexis Maybank and I met while attending Harvard University. From early on in our friendship, we hoped that one day we would create a business together, we were just unsure what it would be. Many years later, after being classmates in graduate school, the time presented itself to us. Our different professional backgrounds complemented each other well for the venture. Alexis had tremendous experience in the e-commerce world, being one of the first employees at eBay and witnessing its growth from 40 employees to about 5,000. While I hailed from the luxury fashion world with retail experience from Louis Vuitton and Bulgari.

For many years, Alexis and I would frequently meet in NYC and attend many of the city's famous sample sales. We would receive numerous calls from family and friends instructing us on which designers they would like us to go and see, not to mention the exact items they would love us to bring back for them at reduced prices. It quickly occurred to us that the New York sample sale phenomenon was a business that needed to be taken online and our skill sets could enable us to do this. We launched Gilt Groupe on November 13th 2007.

Stylehive: What makes your site different from/better than other similar fashion sites?
Alexandra: Gilt Groupe was the first luxury and fashion flash sale website to launch in the US. On average, Gilt Groupe holds 15-20 designer sales a week. Gilt Groupe ships on the same day of purchase as all merchandise is on site at our warehouse in Brooklyn, NY. Gilt Groupe offers luxury designer items from a variety of categories: women's and men's apparel, handbags, shoes and accessories, fine and fashion jewelry, luxury timepieces, children's and home decor. Gilt Groupe enables one to build an entire wardrobe in a day, not just for one, but for the entire family.

Our buyers work directly with the designers/brands, not third parties or outlets. Sales feature hand selected merchandise. Gilt Groupe is a partners of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) which means our sample sales come straight from the designer's no-sale racks. No middlemen. No questionable merchandise.

Gilt Groupe sponsored Costello Tagliapietra's show at New York Fashion Week this past season and due to the response, will continue partnering with young emerging talent for upcoming fashion weeks. Gilt Groupe produces all art/creative in house (photography and preview reels), and uses live models from only the best agencies in New York- the quality of photography is extremely editorial-like. In addition, our VP of Creative was formerly at Bergdorf Goodman.

In order to communicate better with our members in the Gilt Groupe community, we have recently launched a blog component on the site. This enables members (and non-members) to capture the insight of the fashion/art/luxury world through the eyes and ears of Gilt Groupe employees. Our founders and the faces of Gilt Groupe, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, strongly value the importance each member has to the site. As a result, they send personal weekly emails to our women members informing them of what the week has in store. Gilt Groupe's Men's Director (John Auerbach) also sends a weekly email to our male members. Additional personal touches are always in place, such as the hand-written thank you notes which accompany each item when leaving the warehouse.

Stylehive: How do you decide which designers to feature?
Alexandra: Gilt's merchandising team meets with the best established and up and coming brands in fashion, both American designers as well as foreign ones. Gilt's buyers hand select each item that is featured on the website. Gilt launched its first sale with Zac Posen, followed closely by Alvin Valley, Rachel Roy, Judith Ripka and Kwiat diamonds. These brands believed in Gilt's concept and the team from the beginning. Since our launch in November 2007, we have managed to convince many of the most established and reputable Madison Avenue brands to work with us. It is very exciting and we feel that we are having a positive impact on luxury lifestyle and fashion brands, especially in the challenging economic climate.

Stylehive: Which designers sell out the quickest on the site?
Alexandra: We have success with most of our brand partners. Highlights include Herve Leger, Diesel and Vera Wang.

Stylehive: Do you have dream designers you'd like to have on Gilt in the future?
Alexandra: I personally love Chanel, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Louboutin, so they would be some of my favorites!

Stylehive: I think we're all curious about how the prices are so low!
Alexandra: My team of buyers and I work directly with designers to negotiate the best deals possible for the merchandise that we hand select. Much like any retailer or e-tailer, we apply a markup to our cost.

Stylehive: Any advice for sample sale shoppers (or online shopping in general)?
Log on EARLY, 12pm EVERY day! All of our 36 hour sales (featuring hand-selected styles from a single designer) have limited inventory and our discounts are so deep that one has to be quick with the mouse...

Want to win the Gryson 'Mia' handbag, worth $855 (Gilt price: $298) from Stylehive and Gilt Groupe?

Hive Exclusive: Enter To Win A Gryson Handbag From Gilt Groupe!

IN COMMENTS, tell us: What brand would you be most excited to see on Gilt Groupe, and why?

We'll choose one winner on Thursday, January 15th, so enter now! Good luck!

Click here for an exclusive invitation to join Gilt Groupe!

Sorry! This contest has ended and we've already chosen a winner! Check out our latest giveaways here for more chances to win. Good luck!

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  • faithschroeder says

    Pink Tartan. Because I think there’s a lot more clothing from this designer than what can be currently found online. Since I recently relocated from Chicago to St. Louis, my offline shopping hunts are disappointing, so I’m doing almost all my shopping on the internet. My second brand runner up would be Longchamp, since I’m always looking for sales on these professional, practical handbags!

    99 months ago

  • stylorita

    stylorita says

    Erickson Beamon. I know we women tend to be bag-crazy and shoe-crazy but Erickson Beamon's dramatic jewellery pieces make me go gaga!!! However, you tell yourself "I can't spend 500$ on a little ring!" and so you buy something practical... boring! Erickson Beamon's pieces make a statement, and they can make a drab ldb look amazing. Getting his pieces available on Gilt Groupe at sample prices would make my year!

    99 months ago

  • trfield says

    Either Chanel (dare to dream!) or LAPA (available at Forzieri). I think there is nothing so important to an outfit as a handbag, and it's important to invest in quality. Both of these brands have just absolutely stunning, standout creations that are so heartwrenchingly expensive. I have never seen an LAPA bag go on sale, and it has been on my wish list for years, but it's hard to justify spending more on a bag than on your rent! I love that Gilt Groupe features both household name designers as well as newer designers, and I'd love to see these brands available at sample sale prices!

    99 months ago

  • optimist22

    optimist22 says

    It is hard to choose between St John and Chanel, but I think I have to go with Chanel because it is so difficult to get a bargain on any of their pieces. St John does have an outlet not far from where I live, so I have a better chance with them. I like the elegant, classic, but not boring style of both of these brands. I am a member of Gilt Groupe and love the variety of sales and the customer service. I wish you continued success!!

    99 months ago

  • stylorita

    stylorita says

    Correction to my comment; Erickson Beamon is a pair of women designers, I don't know why I said "his pieces"!!

    99 months ago

  • KikiZoe86 says

    I know it's a pipe dream, but I would love to see Balmain on Gilt Group! I would be allllllll over that sale, I'd want to buy every piece that was up on Gilt - it would be my dream come true! I really love how unique Balmain designs are, and I would love to be able to add a touch of that glamour to my wardrobe. But at the current prices, there is no way I could ever own a piece of Balmain... that's why a Gilt sale is so necessary!

    99 months ago

  • faith24 says

    I would love to see Christian Louboutin on Gilt Group. I am already a member there and I love it- not every woman can afford to pay full price for her favorite designer and founders of Gilt Group seem to understand it very well. I love everything by Louboutin and it would be wonderful to be able to buy a pair of classic pumps on sale at Gilt!

    99 months ago

  • Speedbump

    Speedbump says

    I'd have to say that a Frye sale would be wonderful, as I practically live in their boots during the winter. That would probably be the most practical brand for me to buy [and they have probably had a Frye sale before]. Really, I probably could not afford anything if they did do a sample sale for the following brands, but it would be nice anyhow: Chloe, Miu Miu, Marni, particularly accessories.

    99 months ago

  • mothbeast

    mothbeast says

    I'd love to see Anya Hindmarch on Gilt Groupe. I am much more likely to buy accessories there than to try to figure out clothing sizes. I'd love to see jewelry too - but am blanking on names. The Erickson Beamon pieces are nice though and like the price range I was thiking of.

    99 months ago

  • SD9310

    SD9310 says

    Christian Louboutin and Vena Cava. I love the shoes and clothing produced by the lines. Also, Chloe handbags!

    99 months ago

  • katheel

    katheel says

    Chanel, definitely.

    99 months ago

  • ophelia1418

    ophelia1418 says

    Definitely YSL- such classic bags.

    99 months ago

  • ashearer

    ashearer says

    I agree with a previous poster - Frye would be awesome. Their leather is amazingly supple, but so hard to find at a bargain. I have yet to own a pair of their classic boots, but I've tried them on at least a dozen times!

    99 months ago

  • alljuiceee

    alljuiceee says

    Lanvin and Burberry (preferably Prorsum) They're both classics and I would love to get my hands on some Lanvin flats!

    99 months ago

  • sweetdreamer16

    sweetdreamer16 says

    chanel would be amazing! And if they could have balenciaga bags i would die!

    99 months ago

  • butterflyrouge

    butterflyrouge says

    Chanel- classics are a wise investment these days...

    99 months ago

  • Califragilistic

    Califragilistic says

    Chanel & Chloe bags!

    99 months ago


    ZARAKNOX says

    Frye would certainly be nice as well as realistic for me!

    99 months ago

  • furwakawaka

    furwakawaka says

    frye would be incredible. i love their boots!

    99 months ago

  • septemberlovely

    septemberlovely says

    Definitely Christian Loubitan and Louis Vuitton - Also Coach and maybe even Dooney & Burke (so they're super affordable). I also love L.A.M.B. and I think having Chanel would be cool too. Oh - I think they should have EVERY designer (so us with not so much money can at least LOOK like we do!!)!!!

    99 months ago

  • rosiered says

    Maison Martin Margiela, has fun designs and it would be great to see a innovative designer on Gilt.

    99 months ago

  • moonmaiden says

    I'd love to see Coach bags because I love their styles :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

    99 months ago

  • mitanari

    mitanari says

    I'd love to see Nicholas Kirkwood because his shoes are to die for!

    99 months ago

  • ktkatherine says

    I would be beyond excited to see Chanel. An easy answer! Chanel is always chic and classic... what could be better!?

    99 months ago

  • pinkrockangel24

    pinkrockangel24 says

    I would love to see Kooba. I love the style of their bags but I am not always up for full price!

    99 months ago

  • CC852 says

    Vince and Theory. Two of my favorite lines, and the sweaters are to die for. Unfortunately, it's difficult to amass a large collection because of the prices sometimes! I'd absolutely love to see these on gilt. However, I love the website as it is! I've been happy with both the merchandise and the customer service. Thanks!

    99 months ago

  • herblady

    herblady says

    Chanel: always a classic, always in style. B-) Cool

    99 months ago

  • tratee

    tratee says

    I know its a pipe dream but I've been looking for an Hermes Medor at a reasonable price *forever!* And, I also second the JAMES PERSE request... yum, so gorgeous and fits so wonderfully and comfortably! (I *love* that I can wear James Perse and look both chic -and- not over dressed.)

    99 months ago

  • torlaxer11

    torlaxer11 says

    I would LOVE to see Chanel or Louboutin! I LOVE Gilt and to be honest its the only online sample sale site I've ever found anything WORTH buying (most of the other sites have only leftovers and junk!) Gilt is AMAZING.

    99 months ago

  • anamoreno75

    anamoreno75 says

    Based on their Spring collections, I would love to see Andrew Gn, Giles, Oscar de la Renta and more DVF!

    99 months ago

  • sheansen says

    Hi I do not get my Stylehive news items anymore. Please Can I know why?

    99 months ago

  • stonehad

    stonehad says

    I would love to see Minority handbag line.

    99 months ago

  • imjustabean says

    Chanel, I think Chanel can do no wrong whether it be shoes, bags, clothes or jewelry. They are classic and beautiful, not overly girly but still very charming. And it's so very rare to find nice Chanel items at a discounted price unless they are second-hand.

    99 months ago

  • HipMom76

    HipMom76 says

    There are some brands that I'd never get tired of seeing on GiltGroupe, no matter how often they come during the year: Marc Jacobs (including the Marc line) handbags and accessories, Michael Kors (including the Michael line), BCBG Max Azria shoes and apparel, Botkier handbags, Via Spiga shoes and please, oh pretty please Bryan Atwood! I love love love his shoes but I can't afford them, a private sale on GiltGroupe might give me a shot of getting myself a pair ;-)

    99 months ago

  • crabbybaby says

    ooohhhh. vera wang, chanel and christian louboutin. they have beautiful styling, beautiful lines. bcbgirls are fun and funky- and all these are feminine. wearable. chic. love and adore ysl. i still have a pair of his pants- they are 30 years old. what quality!! really, all of these are very good in their workmanship. and i want quality, beauty and style at a good price. it's not always "if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't"- this site shows that. thank you, for helping a 'girl' find all of this at one place. i mean, why go ANYWHERE else?

    99 months ago

  • dsadetsky

    dsadetsky says

    I use Gilt Groupe regularly and I would LOVE to see Botkier purses for their great versatility and chicness, Tom Ford sunglasses for the huge round frames and classic wire aviators, and Thakoon dresses for the nights when I'm feeling and want to stand out in the crowd with a bold print. Also, Lanvin and Mui Mui flats wouldn't be half bad--comfort and cuteness and definitely two things I couldn't live without. Thanks!! :)

    99 months ago

  • freshADDICT says

    In my fashion fantasies Gilt would offer things from Matthew Williamson and Balmain. Matthew's prints and dresses are absolutely to die for. Balmain pieces literally take my breath away. The Spring '09 collection was absolute perfection. Sexy dresses, slim pants, and bold jackets...*sigh*. It was love at first ( spring runway show) click.

    99 months ago

  • Redsnoopy1977

    Redsnoopy1977 says

    I would have to say Chanel because it is ALWAYS in style! I just love everything that design house comes out and it is loved by so many!

    99 months ago

  • beforethehype

    beforethehype says

    Deffn. Givenchy. I love the way they make menswear so feminine, ie sp09 rtw. Not overworked or over thought. Perfection. Ferragamo for men shoes. I need to help my bf break out of his sneaker comfort zone. I need MAJOR help. [sigh] And Chanel, for accesories. Handbags to die for. No seriously, I would kill someone if I like the bag. LOL

    99 months ago

  • deedreamer

    deedreamer says

    I love to see Juicy and Jimmy Choo featured on Gilt. I think sample sales are so great and I am excited to see what's to come at Gilt!

    99 months ago

  • lilacpop says

    Peter Sorensen would be cool. He does amazing corset style dresses. I'm excited to check this site out!

    99 months ago

  • cosy13

    cosy13 says

    Sass & Bide. I'd love to see some australian fashion designers! Don't you agree they have amazing designs?!

    99 months ago

  • wishingstar

    wishingstar says

    Marc Jacobs!! I love the handbags and the jackets. My friend is also absolutely crazy over the designs and would keep on buying Marc Jacobs stuff (which can be pretty over the top pricey for me)

    99 months ago

  • LilyBiscuit7 says

    Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Tod's!! But, I love many designers. I wish I could afford to buy what I love:x Love It!

    99 months ago

  • fountaingirl

    fountaingirl says

    I would love to see Marni here! Or Bottega Veneta!

    99 months ago

  • marybabysteps

    marybabysteps says

    I love Burberry. It's classic.

    99 months ago

  • mardybum says

    Would love to see anything Kate Spade! Her bags and shoes are so chic and timeless.. love her designs!

    99 months ago

  • MaryJo50

    MaryJo50 says

    Hey, how about Isaac Mizrahi. I am a fan of everything including dresses, accessories and bed linens. Love his stuff. Also, a wide range of prices.

    99 months ago

  • BeautyParler says

    Hi, I would love to see Christian Louboutin because as any fashionista knows the shoes make the outfit!! I could be rocking the George line from Wallmart but if I have nice pair of heels on it totally completes the whole package. Of course I can't afford Louboutins at retail price therefore any discount will let me acheieve my dream of owning a pair that much closer. A close 2nd after a great pair of shoes are handbags! That Gyrson 'Mia'handbag is gorgeous & would make a great travel companion, who needs a travel buddy with a bag like that:) Cheers!

    99 months ago

  • BeautyParler says

    Hi, I would love to see Christian Louboutin because as any fashionista knows the shoes make the outfit!! I could be rocking the George line from Wallmart but if I have nice pair of heels on it totally completes the whole package. Of course I can't afford Louboutins at retail price therefore any discount will let me acheieve my dream of owning a pair that much closer. A close 2nd after a great pair of shoes are handbags! That Gyrson 'Mia'handbag is gorgeous & would make a great travel companion, who needs a travel buddy with a bag like that:) Cheers!

    99 months ago

  • 1984520 says

    HI,i want to know that is anybody shop on web-store? i wanna buy a handbag there. CAN ANYBODY GIVE ME SOME SUGGESTION? THANKS

    84 months ago