32 | GENERAL MANAGER, GILT MAN
33 | HEAD BUYER, GILT MAN
John Auerbach and Chris Wong, the architects of the sample-sale site Gilt MAN, aren't just revolutionizing the way men buy clothing and dismantling the fashion industry's bias against e-commerce, they're redefining the lunch hour. The site's signature flash sales begin promptly at noon, as hundreds of thousands of style-obsessed alpha males try to out-click one another for smartly curated pieces—Billykirk belts, suits from Isaia, overcoats by Phillip Lim. "It's turned into a competition to see who can get something first," Wong says. "It's surpassed our expectations of how into the site guys would be," Auerbach adds. Gilt MAN's model (invitation-only membership, prestige brands rather than mass-market versions, and small inventories to create a limited-edition feel) cultivates an aura of exclusivity—a big draw for luxury brands. "I think a lot of designers were afraid of the Internet before," Wong says. "I would explain the concept of Gilt MAN, and they were like, 'Wait, what?' " Since the site's launch in October 2009, membership has mushroomed, giving Auerbach and Wong the leverage to broker exclusive full-price collaborations with the likes of Brooks Brothers and Martin Greenfield—further stoking the appetite of buyers and redoubling the site's credibility with fashion houses. "Our addressable market is really huge," Auerbach says, "and as big as we are, we're really only scratching the surface."