Build a Billion-Dollar Business
Do you have a billion-dollar idea? The founders of Gilt Groupe explain how they changed the rules of retail.
Scaling a business is akin to balancing a set of fine china while walking a tight rope; it’s a fragile operation requiring precision and skill. It must be carefully planned and maneuvered and the cost of one wrong move may be small–or it could be devastating.
Yet businesses across the globe are successfully traversing this virtual tight-rope by combining ingenuity, creativity, calculated risk, and a lot of dedicated, hard work. And one thing for certain is that these entrepreneurs don’t do it alone. They surround themselves with successful people, talented employees, and experts who believe in them–such as coaches, mentors and peers.
“If you don’t have a great team in the midst of hyper-growth,” Alexis Maybank, co-founder of Gilt Groupe, tells me. “your customer demand can outpace what you can handle and your business will grind to a halt.”
Gilt Groupe took only four years to take the fashionista crowd by storm, revolutionize both the fashion and e-commerce industries, attract five million members, and earn a $1 billion valuation. This members-only website brings the rush of shopping at exclusive New York City designer sample sales to the Internet. The idea caught on like wildfire–but the task of getting the concept off the ground was no picnic.
“Our first task was to convince designer brands to partner with us and sell in a way that was completely unfamiliar and unconventional, both to them and to the marketplace,” says Gilt co-founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson.
Alexis and Alexandra, friends since attending Harvard Business School together, knew that this would be a challenge. Nonetheless they succeeded in bringing these impressive brands on board and built a website that would transform the typically leisurely pace of shopping into a competitive sport. At Gilt.com members love vying for luxury brand items designed by the likes of Valentino, Christian Louboutin and Zac Posen, along with many other formerly “untouchable” designer labels. The fashion-loving duo swiftly brought their concept to market, blending their unique skills and weaknesses to manage the demand of suppliers, engineers, marketers and potential investors.
Continue reading this article at INC.com after the break!