Lessons in leadership from Gilt Groupe co-founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

Gilt Group speaker - fashion in Cleveland

On Sept. 30, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of the flash sale website Gilt Group, visited Cleveland as part of the FUEL leadership conference. She shared how a love for Filene's Basement combined with an MBA from Harvard Business School helped her turn Gilt into a successful global enterprise. 

When she was a young girl, Wilkis Wilson would go bargain shopping at Filene's Basement with her mother and grandmother. One of her most memorable purchases was a Prada skirt for $50, which she bought when she was 12 years old. This love of a great deal helped fuel her passion behind building Gilt.

"When you love what you're doing, it doesn't feel like work," she said.

Wilkis Wilson's tips for entrepreneurs included:

  • Be able to sell; sell your products, your vision, your company. "It's one of the most important qualities for an entrepreneur," she said.
  • Use your network, even if it's not in your nature to be overly outgoing. "Push yourself to meet new people and stay connected," Wilkis Wilson said. You never know how a relationship could benefit you (or how you could help someone else!)
  • Don't be apologetic when asking for something, whether it's business advice or partnerships. If you don't unapologetically ask for something - you definitely won't get it.

Wilkis Wilson's newest entrepreneurial project is GLAMSQUAD, an on-demand, app-based beauty provider that brings hair, makeup and nail services to your front door. It is currently only available in New York City, but will be expanding soon (hopefully Cleveland is included in those expansion plans!)

Monday, October 5, 2015