Gilt Group, the luxury flash-sales fashion site, is moving its photo studio from Brooklyn to Manhattan, a company spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.
Gilt’s space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard was initially its primary warehouse and distribution center, but the company scaled it back to a samples warehouse and photo studio after it opened a huge new high-tech warehouse in Kentucky in 2010. Now, Gilt is leaving Brooklyn entirely.
When Business Insider toured the space in 2011, Gilt said it was the largest in-house photo studio set-up in New York City (everyone else rents). The company would receive samples for upcoming sales from brands, photograph the clothes, jewelry, and bags on models for its website, and then re-pack the merchandise to get shipped back to Kentucky before it got sold to customers.
Gilt has decided to move the majority of its photo studio into its Manhattan office at 2 Park Avenue because its lease in Brooklyn will end this summer and space in the office has recently opened up (the company sold its travel site, Jetsetter, to TripAdvisor in April 2013, but the team has only just recently left the building). The move will also allow its creative and merchandising teams to work more closely; Gilt plans to complete the move by spring.
A Gilt spokesperson said that most Brooklyn employees will maintain their same positions in the Manhattan office. The company will also build out a photo studio at the Kentucky facility for still-life shoots that don’t require models (home good products will no longer be shipped to New York).
Since Gilt launched in 2007, it quickly grew to become the first big-name flash-sales site, raising $US263 million total funding and inspiring a slew of other companies with similar business models, like Rue La La and Zulily. In its hyper-growth phase, the company launched several smaller new business lines, including full-price men’s fashion vertical Park & Bond, food category Gilt Taste, and Jetsetter, which have since been folded, scaled back, or sold. The restructuring — and resulting lay-offs — were part of the company’s efforts to focus on its core business and reach profitability.
Soon after, in late 2012, Michelle Peluso became the company’s new CEO, with founder Kevin Ryan shifting to a chairman role. Re/code reported in early 2014 that Gilt planned to go public by the third quarter; those plans did not materialise.
Disclosure: Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman, the founders of Gilt Groupe, are investors in Business Insider.
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