By Alexis Maybank
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Extra info for By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop
This is because word-of-mouth marketing is fueled by two intuitive truths: First, people who are passionate about something talk about it a lot, whether it’s cars or fashion. And second, a personal recommendation from a friend or trusted source will always be more powerful than any other mode of advertising. So Alexis traveled regularly to places like South Dakota, where she attended the weeklong Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which attracts half a million bikers. There she tried to turn bikers into eBay converts—and encouraged them to tell their friends.
We’d both excitedly soak up as much local culture, shopping, food, music, and nightlife as we could, making friends along the way. The more time we spent together, the more we confused our classmates, who, apparently thrown off by our similar hair and height, started calling us by each other’s names. Instead of being annoyed, we simply learned to answer to both. By the end of our time at HBS, we’d turn around in unison when someone cried, “Alexis, Alexandra, Alex—” Luckily, we both thought it was kind of flattering to be mistaken for each other, because this continues today in the halls of Gilt Groupe’s 2 Park Avenue offices, where many new employees and even the veterans confuse one of us for the other and then turn bright red upon realizing their mistake.
Eager for a mental break but not wanting to appear unprofessional to her boss, a managing director named Pacho, she wrapped a copy of the Financial Times around what she really wanted to read, American Vogue. She thought she was being clever, but Pacho wasn’t fooled. “Alexandra,” he said gently, “please promise me that after you get your MBA, you’ll go into fashion and not back to banking. ” She never forgot that. When she got to Harvard Business School, Alexandra was determined to graduate from it with a job in fashion.
By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop by Alexis Maybank