If a brand wishes to reach Gilt Groupe, Christian Leone is the one to call.
This story first appeared in the January 7, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Formerly vice president of marketing and communications for the company, Leone is now vice president of brand relations, a new position. He reports to founder and chief merchandising officer Alexandra Wilkis Wilson.
“It’s a very creative role, brainstorming with brands and making sure the brands view us as a true strategic partner, which we’ve certainly become for hundreds of brands at this point,” said Wilkis Wilson.
Leone has wide contacts in the industry, having previously handled communications at Giorgio Armani, Alberta Ferretti and Halston, she said.
“Our relationship with brands has become increasingly more strategic as we partner with them and grow our business,” she continued. “We are actively seeking partnerships with our key vendors and looking at a number of ways to support their full-price business.”
To that end, Gilt has recently been testing full-price sales. Most have sold out quickly, she said, including Versace canvas tote bags for $250 (proceeds went to charity), Fashion Night Out T-shirts for $30 and Flip video camcorders for $229. This week, the company is selling pieces for under $500 chosen by Vogue editors and featured in the magazine, such as a $250 Dooney & Burke cross-body bag, a $148 lace-up ankle boot by Boutique 9 and a $385 See by Chloé high-waisted pant. The most expensive item was a Stella McCartney floral and stripe T-shirt for $475, and the least expensive was a J. Crew fedora at $40.
So does this mean Gilt will morph into something other than an online sample sale? “Time will tell,” said Wilkis Wilson. “We’re looking at new categories, we’re in the research stage.”