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GILT TRAVELS: “We’re almost like an airport,” said Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Gilt Groupe founder and chief merchandising officer, at a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y Thursday night. “We have slots. We can’t sell every designer we want to.”
It’s kind of like a bank, too. The $100 million company, which has already raised $5 million and projects it will do $400 million in sales this year, is just closing on a second round of funding for $40 million. It is not yet profitable, but expects to become so in the next four months.
The company’s forthcoming discount contemporary site, Fuse, will double those “slots” from 30 to 60, said Wilkis Wilson. In March, the company launched a Japanese site (with a team and merchandise overseas) and now has 2,000 members there. Gilt Groupe is researching other markets, and plans to launch a travel site for niche hotels, ski chalets and summer rentals soon.
The intense interest in discount fashion sparked by the downturn also has been good to the evening’s other panelist, Michael Townsend of New York’s NoLIta outlet store Inven.tory. The 750-square-foot, one-year-old space is known for its minimalist decor and carefully edited selection, including the full Cheap Monday line at regular price. Two employees who came from 3.1 Phillip Lim and Trovata plan to design an in-house fast-fashion collection. “We didn’t always want to focus on overstock price points and we wanted to focus on trends,” said Townsend.
The panel was moderated by Racked’s senior editor Izzy Grinspan. — C.T.C.