I love a bargain, and I try not to pay full price for anything that goes on my body or hangs from the crook of my arm. So, the day Amelia invited me to join Gilt Groupe, a members-only, designer sample sale website, was one of the best days of my life. How did I, a woman who prides herself on being able to find a bargain in a haystack or jumbled Loehmann’s rack, not know about it? I pondered this question for about a half-second because you have to be fast on Gilt to beat the other 999,999 members. Some people probably wonder why (and how) Gilt is causing such a frenzy, especially in a recession. But I’d ask those same people: Why not?I would argue that getting a deal on the site is better than any orgasm you’ve ever had because it lasts longer. Fashions from designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Vera Wang, Alexander McQueen, and, my personal favorite, Ali Ro, were out of my reach until I joined the site. I love the thrill of shopping on Gilt. My heart starts pounding as I scan the sale page, left to right, while scrolling down. And when something catches my eye, I click on it. I don’t even read the description before putting my size in my cart, in case another hunter across the country or in the next cubicle is eyeing my treasure. A few more clicks and the item is on its way to me. And I did it all from my desk. How easy! The race to the checkout satisfies my love for competition.
I prefer to buy one or two quality items from Gilt than go on a shopping spree at a trendy mall store for the same amount of money. The recession is forcing more luxury brands and designers to seek other ways of selling their wares, branching out to discount sites like Gilt. I like to think my Gilt obsession is helping the economy in some way.
Gilt pays attention to the small stuff. I enjoy the ritual of releasing my purchase from the signature black tissue paper and reading the thank-you note, gold ink scrolled on black paper, every time. Then, I try on the item, creating the outfit I had imagined in my head while I was deciding whether or not to make the purchase a few days earlier
The site has excellent customer service. I recently wore a dress for the first time and noticed the fabric had several flaws. I emailed Gilt and had a response by the next morning — full refund in the manner of payment. You can’t get that at Forever 21!
Since shopping on Gilt Groupe is a competitive sport, here are my rules:
- Don’t buy anything if you can find something similar for cheaper.
- Develop a shopping strategy. I learned that it’s best to start from the bottom of the sale page and scroll up.
- Use your debit card, not your credit card. You’ll know whether you can really afford an item if the full price is immediately deducted from your account.
- Buy dresses, which are almost complete outfits, instead of separates.
- And when shopping a final sale, hit up the designers you know fit well first.
- Log-on immediately when the sale starts. The good stuff generally gets snapped up in the first 15 minutes.