Today I'm on my way to Los Angeles for the premiere of Post Grad, starring Alexis Bledel (Rory Gilmore, is that you?), and for the after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel, which Gilt is co-hosting. I've packed Christian Louboutin gold wedges, Citrine by the Stones bangles, an opera-length necklace and long, long earrings, all bought from Gilt. I thought I'd look suitably L.A.
The Post Grad event is a chance for us to promote our latest venture, Gilt Fuse. We want to reach out to the young, West Coast crowd we think would love our new companion site. Gilt Fuse has the same business model as Gilt -- discounted fashion on sale for 36 hours -- but this time we offer more accessible brands at an even lower price point.
Our first Gilt Fuse sale went live on Wednesday, August 12, and it was such a cool experience. But there's a different feeling to the Fuse launch compared to Gilt's debut. I can't quite place it -- it feels less risky but still very exciting.
When we founded Gilt Groupe two years ago, we had no idea what to expect. We sent out 15,000 emails and hoped someone would buy from our website, but we didn't know for sure if people would really get the concept. Now we have over 1.3 million members.
Back in November 2007, our chairman Kevin Ryan ceremoniously folded the first Gilt Groupe customer order, a Zac Posen dress, into a mailing box in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Now for Gilt Fuse we have a warehouse in Massachusetts where robots pack orders.
When Gilt launched, Kevin left champagne on our desks. This go-round there was no champagne (Kevin, there's still time!), although I did hear a rumor that our project managers were drinking beer at midnight the night before the Fuse launch.
Instead of champagne and Zac Posen, this time we've got Modern Amusement boyfriend cardigans, Kova & T stirrup leggings and Kelsi Dagger lilac suede and snakeskin heels for $59. I'm having fun with these new labels, and I just love the way the new site looks. The models wear less makeup, they stomp around in Doc Martens, and they just look like they're having an awful lot of fun.
It makes sense that the Gilt Fuse launch feels so different. But I'm looking forward to many more Gilt Groupe milestones in our future. We have teams of extremely bright people who are working hard to bring to market new online ventures very, very soon. So stay tuned. Then I'll tell you what the next launch feels like.