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How Gilt Led the Way for Women in E-Commerce

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The Fold Bond dress in black leather

"When we started there were not a lot of female-founded [online] consumer retail companies," Gilt Groupe co-founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson told the Financial Times. Gilt, of course, is huge now—and in addition to revolutionizing online shopping, FT is suggesting that the company has also provided a much-needed model for MBA students and other women headed into the business of fashion.

"There now seems to be a path to follow," says Christina Wallace of newly launched e-comm site Quincey Apparel, which she founded with Harvard Business School classmate Alex Nelson.

The Financial Times also spoke with founders of The Fold, another new e-comm site created by friends Cheryl Mainland and Polly McMaster, who bonded after finding themselves the only two women in their London Business School study group. The Fold specializes in professional clothes for women that eschew the traditional business-woman uniform in favor of more fashionable looks that are still boardroom appropriate.

"As a businesswoman, it is important to look a certain way—it makes a difference," Mainland said. "You are going to stand out because you are a woman, [so] might as well do it on the best foot."
· MBA Graduates Put Their Best Foot Forward [FT]