Inside Billion-Dollar Gilt Groupe: A Tour Of The Hottest Startup In New York

gilt shoot

With the recent news of its billion-dollar valuation, we decided to check in with Gilt Groupe, one of the biggest startup success stories to emerge from New York.

Gilt Groupe is a flash-sales fashion site that’s more like a living, breathing magazine than an eCommerce business.

Although it’s not yet profitable, Gilt Groupe is reportedly on track to do $500 million in revenue this year, up from $270 million in revenue in the fiscal year ending June 2010.

Last year, we ran through its 200,000 square foot Brooklyn warehouse/office facility, which is where it has its photo studios and shipping operations. When Gilt moved into the space in November of 2007, it only needed 500 square feet.

Given its recent $138 million round, we wanted to revisit how Gilt has become a tremendous success, and what goes on behind the scenes.

Click here for a tour of Gilt’s giant Brooklyn office >
Disclosure: Gilt cofounder and chairman Kevin Ryan is also cofounder and chairman of Business Insider.

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[slide
permalink=”for-a-pretty-glamorous-company-gilts-brooklyn-offices-are-in-a-decidedly-unglamorous-location-1″
title=”For a pretty glamorous company, Gilt’s Brooklyn offices are in a decidedly unglamorous location.”
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title=”Gilt’s Brooklyn offices are in the Navy Yard.”
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[slide
permalink=”this-rusting-building-is-opposite-gilt-groupe-and-runs-the-length-of-the-road-that-leads-you-to-gilt-3″
title=”This rusting building is opposite Gilt Groupe and runs the length of the road that leads you to Gilt.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-big-white-building-is-gilt-4″
title=”The big white building is Gilt.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-closest-train-to-the-brooklyn-warehouse-is-a-twenty-minute-walk-so-many-employees-ride-bikes-5″
title=”The closest train to the Brooklyn warehouse is a 20 minute walk, so many employees ride bikes.”
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[slide
permalink=”heres-our-sherpa-through-gilts-operations-amanda-graber-were-about-to-enter-the-warehouseoffices-6″
title=”Here’s our Sherpa through Gilt’s operations, Amanda Graber. We’re about to enter the warehouse/offices.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff2a7f8b9a7030dd0100″
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[slide
permalink=”as-soon-as-you-step-inside-you-see-rows-and-rows-of-shoes-7″
title=”As soon as you step inside you see rows and rows of shoes.”
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[slide
permalink=”this-is-where-the-action-starts-for-gilt-products-arrive-two-weeks-ahead-of-the-sale-date-8″
title=”This is where the action starts for Gilt. Products arrive two weeks ahead of the sale date.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff2d7f8b9ad82e8b0200″
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[slide
permalink=”employees-pull-the-merchandise-sort-it-by-style-color-and-size-then-slap-individual-gilt-labels-on-each-product-9″
title=”Employees pull the merchandise, sort it by style, colour and size. Then slap individual Gilt labels on each product.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff2e7f8b9a5c2d0c0000″
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[slide
permalink=”gilt-says-we-receive-thousands-of-units-we-touch-every-one-and-we-ship-to-zero-gilt-has-to-touch-every-product-to-maintain-accuracy-so-it-doesnt-over-sell-products-listed-on-the-site-10″
title=”Gilt says, “we receive thousands of units, we touch every one, and we ship to zero.” Gilt has to touch every product to maintain accuracy, so it doesn’t over sell products listed on the site.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff2e7f8b9a922e100400″
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[slide
permalink=”the-gilt-brooklyn-office-is-200000-square-feet-and-it-occupies-3-floors-11″
title=”The Gilt Brooklyn office is 200,000 square feet, and it occupies 3 floors.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff2f7f8b9a3731c10000″
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[slide
permalink=”as-you-wander-through-the-warehouse-you-see-stacks-of-shoes-12″
title=”As you wander through the warehouse, you see stacks of shoes.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff2d7f8b9ad02edf0200″
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[slide
permalink=”theres-racks-of-dresses-all-over-the-place-too-13″
title=”There’s racks of dresses all over the place, too.”
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[slide
permalink=”heres-quality-control-on-high-end-items-gilt-inspects-every-garment-for-the-rest-gilt-checks-about-5-for-quality-if-there-are-problems-it-expands-the-check-14″
title=”Here’s quality control. On high end items, Gilt inspects every garment. For the rest, Gilt checks about 5% for quality. If there are problems, it expands the check.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff307f8b9ad751140000″
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[slide
permalink=”more-quality-control-folks-15″
title=”More quality control folks.”
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[slide
permalink=”this-is-the-most-secure-spot-in-the-warehouse-it-is-where-all-the-jewelry-is-kept-only-a-few-people-are-allowed-inside-and-its-monitored-by-a-camera-this-is-also-where-gilts-brooklyn-office-started-16″
title=”This is the most secure spot in the warehouse. It is where all the jewelry is kept. Only a few people are allowed inside, and it’s monitored by a camera. This is also where Gilt’s Brooklyn office started.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff327f8b9a4a2cd50300″
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[slide
permalink=”heres-where-the-product-gets-prepared-to-be-shipped-first-its-tagged-17″
title=”Here’s where the product gets prepared to be shipped. First its tagged.”
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[slide
permalink=”then-its-boxed-up-18″
title=”Then it’s boxed up.”
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[slide
permalink=”then-its-scanned-to-make-sure-its-right-then-its-put-on-a-conveyor-belt-19″
title=”Then it’s scanned to make sure its right, then its put on a conveyor belt.”
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[slide
permalink=”from-there-it-goes-to-the-first-floor-and-its-put-on-a-ups-truck-and-shipped-to-your-home-20″
title=”From there, it goes to the first floor, and it’s put on a UPS truck and shipped to your home.”
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[slide
permalink=”heres-a-rack-of-shoes-for-models-to-wear-21″
title=”Here’s a rack of shoes for models to wear.”
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[slide
permalink=”gilt-has-numerous-photo-studios-in-its-brooklyn-offices-it-has-the-largest-in-house-studio-set-up-in-new-york-everyone-else-rents-22″
title=”Gilt has numerous photo studios in its Brooklyn offices. It has the largest in-house studio set-up in New York. Everyone else rents.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c2cb2527f8b9a3c205e0000″
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[slide
permalink=”gilt-shoots-models-and-merchandise-day-and-night-in-two-separate-sessions-heres-where-the-models-sit-for-hair-and-makeup-23″
title=”Gilt shoots models and merchandise day and night in two separate sessions. Here’s where the models sit for hair and makeup”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c2cb2537f8b9a2420f90000″
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[slide
permalink=”gilt-uses-models-instead-of-mannequins-because-customers-connect-better-with-real-people-they-say-gilt-lists-the-sizes-of-the-models-on-its-site-so-people-buying-the-clothes-know-how-to-think-about-the-fit-theyre-seeing-24″
title=”Gilt uses models instead of mannequins because customers connect better with real people, they say. Gilt lists the sizes of the models on its site so people buying the clothes know how to think about the fit they’re seeing.”
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[slide
permalink=”heres-where-they-shoot-bags-and-jewelry-these-are-harder-than-clothes-a-model-wears-clothes-which-gives-the-clothes-a-certain-amount-of-action-bags-and-jewelry-just-sit-there-25″
title=”Here’s where they shoot bags and jewelry. These are harder than clothes. A model wears clothes, which gives the clothes a certain amount of action. Bags and jewelry just sit there.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c2cb2597f8b9a3e44460000″
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[slide
permalink=”a-big-part-of-gilts-appeal-is-that-its-not-using-stock-images-provided-by-companies-gilt-shoots-40-pieces-per-day-from-3-different-angles-26″
title=”A big part of Gilt’s appeal is that it’s not using stock images provided by companies. Gilt shoots 40 pieces per day from 3 different angles”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c2cb2587f8b9a5022300500″
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[slide
permalink=”this-photo-was-from-the-roof-and-it-gives-a-nice-illusion-of-being-on-a-beach-27″
title=”This photo was from the roof and it gives a nice illusion of being on a beach.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c2cb2597f8b9acd43950200″
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[slide
permalink=”music-was-pumping-in-the-background-and-gilts-employees-took-a-dance-break-here-and-bid-us-farewell-28″
title=”Music was pumping in the background, and Gilt’s employees took a dance break here and bid us farewell.”
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[slide
permalink=”heres-an-exterior-shot-of-gilts-neighborhood-as-we-leave-like-we-said-its-not-much-to-look-at-29″
title=”Here’s an exterior shot of Gilt’s neighbourhood as we leave. Like we said, it’s not much to look at…”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c2a12b17f8b9adc33590000″
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[slide
permalink=”but-these-exteriors-are-useful-for-the-photo-shoots-gilt-uses-on-its-site-take-a-close-look-at-this-shot-its-very-possible-gilt-will-use-this-same-angle-for-an-upcoming-photo-shoot-30″
title=”But, these exteriors are useful for the photo shoots Gilt uses on its site. Take a close look at this shot, it’s very possible Gilt will use this same angle for an upcoming photo shoot.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c29ff287f8b9a5b2d110000″
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[slide
permalink=”check-out-aloft-new-york-brooklyn-opening-soon-31″
title=”Check Out Aloft New York Brooklyn – Opening Soon!”
content=”Learn more >>

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[slide
permalink=”want-more-office-tours-check-out-32″
title=”Want more office tours? Check out:”
content=”Gawker Media: 394 Million Pageviews, 1 Steampunk Office
Get Your Groove On At $250 Million Groupon
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c1a35167f8b9a2e2d420000″
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[/slideshow]