What does it mean to transform customer experience? How did one woman revolutionize the way that women interact with luxury fashion and beauty services? And how is her model changing the relationship consumers have with medical aesthetics?
Alexandra Wilkis-Wilson, founder of groundbreaking companies, Gilt, Glamsquad, and most recently, transformative consumer service, Regi, is doing just that.
A powerful entrepreneur, and business developer with years of experience and talent, she seems unconquerable and an inspiration to anyone looking to create their own opportunity set.
But how did she get inspired? Gilt was born at a Harvard Business School mixer where Alexandra and cofounder, Alexis Maybank, reconnected over their love of the high energy and elite world of luxury fashion and entrepreneurship. Alexandra had previously worked for luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Bulgari and loved everything about the world of luxury fashion, in particular consuming it. However, knowing the world of luxury goods was perceived as elitist and inaccessible, they were inspired by the thrill of sample sales of luxury products. At sample sales, shopping luxury was fun, fast-paced and affordable. The only problem was that sample sales were rare, inaccessible. Knowing they were not alone in their desire for a more accessible sample sale, the two decided to bring this world online.
Gilt was born. Gilt is a virtual space where consumers can buy discounted luxury goods in flash sales broadened the desirability of luxury goods while expanding consumer access to them.
The business was a huge success and inspired them to co-author the book, By Invitation Only
“We had created a website that could potentially change the rules of retail, for both shoppers and brands. If shopping was traditionally a slow, leisurely activity that might consume an entire day, it would now be competitive, addictive, urgent, thrilling—a rush delivered at the same time each day. Shopping would become not just easier, but so much fun.”
Not only did Gilt cater to a consumer need, they have created a new category in the world of fashion. Alexandra and her co-founders were hailed for their innovative idea and it allowed her to shatter the norm. It gave her a sense of her own power in bringing her own ideas and desires as a consumer to create new strategies in business. She was inspired to design and develop innovative models to enable the luxury products and services industries to evolve.
After Gilt, Alexandra knew that she wanted to keep creating and evolving. She started Glamsquad, a solution for time-starved women who needed quality beauty services at short notice at home. Glamsquad is designed such that it just requires a working woman to find a small window in her day to get her perfect beauty service. Inspired by the current on-demand, Amazon-inspired consumer climate, Glamsquad lets the consumer be in control. Bypassing traditional limitations of the beauty service industry, the consumer takes advantage of the wide array of available services that their city has to offer and has the unique ability to tailor the experience to themselves.
In today’s world where women often seek fashion and beauty inspiration from social media sites like Youtube and Instagram, the niche culture for boutique treatments and specific styles has obviated the monolithic, traditional beauty salons.
Reflecting on her successes, she recognizes that it is much harder for women to be respected and treated equally in the business world. As a female entrepreneur, she is passionate about dispelling stigmas and educating her consumers to drive toward a future of greater equality. Alexandra’s own development reflect her passions.
Now SVP of consumer strategy and Innovation for Allergan, Alexandra has brought her knowledge of the consumer to develop a new brand strategy that is transforming pharmaceuticals. As part of Allergan, she launched Regi, a revolutionary new concept in medical aesthetics. Regi, a specialized Netflix-style concierge service, educated consumers on recent advancements in aesthetic medical products and procedures, and provides easy, local services tailored to the consumer’s wants.
Alexandra believes in the importance of looking your best. When transitioning to Glamsquad from Gilt, she told InStyle that working on at-home services changed the way she understands a woman’s relationship with her appearance and performance. She says, “services like getting your hair or nails or makeup done can really not only transform your appearance on the outside, but more importantly on the inside.”
Alexandra’s most recent venture, Regi brings a new dimension to the realm of expedient beauty service. She noticed the lack of information and communication that consumers have with medical providers, products and procedures. She wanted to change the way the industry operates. Regi connects consumers with a hand-picked selection of local, vetted professionals in their area, as well as information about each specialized treatment option. From a consumer perspective Alexandra has completely changed aesthetic service experience for the better. No longer are consumers required to navigate complicated and confusing medical information and the site redefines and demystifies an industry that has a complicated and sometimes opaque history.
Alexandra’s business strategy speaks to her personality as a business owner, investor, and strong woman. By helping women enter the business world by both hiring them, and building businesses that serve them, she has turned her passions into her successes. Through her knowledge of consumer demand by being her own target audience, she shows that successful startups can be built from simple, resonant ideas. Sometimes, all it takes is to ask, ‘what’s missing in the world?’
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