The MNY Spotlight

Meet Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-founder of Clerisy, Gilt, & Glamsquad

Introduce yourself!

I am Alexandra Wilkis Wilson. I am a wife and mother of 2 children (+ 1 cute Havanese puppy named Churro). I have spent the past decade and a half as an entrepreneur and operator at the intersection of consumer and technology. I am most known professionally for being co-founder of Gilt although I have done a number of other things including writing a New York Times bestselling book, By Invitation Only. Recently I launched a growth equity fund with a fabulous partner named Lisa Myers. Our fund is called Clerisy and we invest in fast-growing consumer and techsumer companies.

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

Alexandra wears the Shimmy Shimmy Tassel Dress in Sunkissed

You’ve been known for co-founding some incredible companies (Gilt, Glamsquad, Fitz) geared towards catering to women’s fashion and self care. Why is it important for you to empower women?

I have always believed in empowering other women, actively seeking mentorship from women I admire, as well as providing mentorship whenever possible to others. I went to an all girls school in New York City for 10 years from age 5-15. Through that experience, ever since I was a little girl, I learned the importance of collaborating with other women and offering support-- a rising tide lifts all boats.

When you have a great business idea, how do you execute it? And how do you know if it’s viable?

The execution of business ideas is actually much more important in entrepreneurship than the idea itself. I recommend testing out hypotheses as quickly as possible, getting to an MVP (minimum viable product) and learning and iterating as you go. In my opinion, a viable business must have product/market fit. Additionally, to build a successful business it should be scalable.

How do you stay positive through failures and setbacks? And how do you make sure to enjoy the victories?

I am hard on myself, my fiercest critic, but I try to maintain a glass half full, rather than empty approach. I find when I have a bad day, sometimes the best thing I can do is to go to sleep, because somehow, everything always appears rosier to me the next morning. It’s important to enjoy the victories, although I often forget to do that as I am my harshest critic. I am finding that sharing little wins with my children who are now old enough to understand more about my career, helps me to enjoy these positive moments as I can see they are proud of their mom which always brings a smile to my face.

Gilt Groupe founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

Alexandra styles her Shimmy Shimmy dress with gold shoes and gold jewelry. Follow her on IG @awilkiswilson and Twitter @awilkiswilson

What types of innovations in fashion are inspiring you now?

I am really enjoying seeing the urgency created lately through social media channels with live selling. It’s relatively new and companies seem to be experimenting in different ways. I like the authenticity and spontaneity I am seeing.

You are a mom and a business woman - what lessons have you learned in business that you hope to pass on to your children?

As a parent, I strive to teach my kids grit. I am resilient and a fighter. It’s not easy to teach that, but I hope they are learning, especially over the past 18 months while I have been working from home, so they have been able to see my day-to-day firsthand.

Do you have a special moment that stands to you when building any business in particular?

There’s nothing like the moment when your startup has a full price transaction made by paying customer who is not a friend or family member!

What draws you to the Mestiza brand? Where did you wear your Mestiza piece?

I know the brand is inspired by the Philippines, but I also think it has a Latin flare which I love. I love my Shimmy Shimmy Tassel dress, it’s just perfect for a night out on the town in Miami!

Glamsquad founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
Give a word of advice for young people looking to start their own successful company:
Figure out what you enjoy doing and what your professional superpowers are.

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