"There's an interesting story about my dress," says Jill Meisner, laughing.
We're inside of Triniti Restaurant and Bar, a geometrically chic South Shepherd eatery. Inside the restaurant's private room, Meisner, public relations director for fashion and lifestyle Web site Gilt.com, and Melissa Liebling-Goldberg, Gilt's editorial director -- stylish in a Proenza Schouler number -- are surrounded by a bevy of fashion writers.
"We're taking time out to meet with the media," said Liebling-Goldberg, to find out what Houston's fashion writers like about Gilt.com and what they think our city's fashionistas want more of from the site.
Back to Meisner's dress.
After seeing the coral-colored WHIT frock, Meisner knew she had to have it, but not for its suggested retail price of $430. Luckily her membership and "inside insight" with Gilt.com let her know what day the garment would be on sale. Meisner waited and waited, even scheduling meetings around its release. Finally, the day came. At noon, the dress went on sale. Two minutes later, it was hers.
That's the great thing about Gilt.com. Every day at noon in NYC (11 a.m. here), the four-year-old site provides 60 percent-off deals -- "sometimes 80 percent off," whispers Liebling-Goldberg -- on designer duds that would normally cost hundreds and thousands of dollars in stores. Think of it as couture discount shopping.
"You can get anything that you want," said Meisner.
And think of Houston as one of Gilt's biggest customers. Out of the 10 cities that Gilt.com markets to, Houston ranks in the top five.
"Houston is such an important market for us," said Liebling-Goldberg. "[The city] has such great fashion. The Galleria is like Madison Avenue under one roof."
Gilt isn't just women's fashion, however. The site takes a "holistic approach to busy women's lives," says Liebling-Goldberg, from kids' fashions to food and home decor. The site, adds Meisner, even offers discounted and VIP packages on "fabulous vacations," like a trip to Peru, just for signing up as a member -- for free.
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