Why Park & Bond, Gilt Groupe’s Full-Price Men’s Retail Site, Will SucceedAugust 12, 2011
by Raquel Laneri
Meet Park & Bond, the newest addition to Gilt Groupe‘s ever-expanding e-tail empire. Park & Bond is Gilt’s first retail venture that doesn’t follow the 36-hour flash-sale model that has made Gilt such a success. Nor does it sell deeply discounted designer duds. Instead, Park & Bond offers a selection of full-price, carefully curated menswear, along with some one-of-a-kind vintage threads or watches. Here are the reasons why it will be a success:
It’s a menswear site
I was surprised when I learned that Gilt’s first foray into full-price, traditional e-tail was in menswear. Yet it makes sense: The women’s e-tail market is crowded, while niche or luxury menswear sites are more rare. Gilt has 3.5 million members; about 30% of them are male, according to the company. That’s 1.1 million customers right off the bat (not to mention fashion-savvy females shopping for their boyfriends or husbands).
Furthermore, says Tyler Thoreson, Park & Bond’s editorial director, guys are getting more and more fashion savvy — and willing to spend money on clothes. GiltMan’s revenues this year are estimated at $100 million — not too shabby. (Gilt’s total annual revenues are an estimated $500 million.) And because men shop less but are more likely to buy big-ticket items than women, a full-priced retail site of high-quality menswear makes sense. “There’s a new generation of guys dressing well not because they have to, but because they want to,” says Thoreson. “And we’re here to help them with that.”
It mixes retail with editorial
Just because guys want to dress well, however, doesn’t mean they necessarily know how. That’s why Park & Bond is chock-full of editorial content. Photo shoots of guys out on the town (on a stoop, in a bar, etc.) demonstrate how to put together the disparate clothes available on the site. For these editorials, Park & Bond has enlisted Josh Peskowitz, who has worked for magazines like Esquire and sites like Style.com, as its style director — and they’re nicely done. Guys — and gals — can also click on any part of the model’s outfit to go to the item’s page and add it to their shopping cart.
Q&As with style-makers like designer Michael Bastian provide inspiration. And advice columns show how to pack a suit in a carry-on or how to select the right summer shirt. And like men’s magazines such as Esquire and GQ it offers a variety of features on culture and food, for the well-educated, well-rounded man.
Its merchandise is extremely well curated and diverse.
Traditional English footwear by Loake, riffs of classic Americana by Billy Reid, avant-garde designs by Junya Watanabe, high-fashion by Versace, iconic brands like Ray-Ban and Macintosh — oh, just look at the list of designers here.
It still offers one-of-a-kind items
You may have more than 36 hours to snap them up, but Park & Bond will also have one-shot dealslike its sibling flash-sale sites like GiltMan. It has a section devoted to vintage watches, as well as a temporary shop curated by Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs, of the style blog Street Etiquette, with their vintage-clothing finds.
Is anyone else tired of sample sale sites?
Of course, I love a good deal as much as the next person, and I still — and will always — shop on Gilt, but I feel that the market is getting a little saturated. Saks just launched one, and instead of jumping for joy I just shrugged my shoulders. For Saks! That’s a bad sign. This is the right time for Gilt to brand into something else.
To get a bit of male perspective, I asked one of my acquaintances what he thought about the site. (Within minutes of the site’s launch he was e-mailing me links to sunglasses he wanted — and he’s not even that into fashion!) His verdict: “I like that it’s centered on men’s stuff because Gilt is very women-centric,” he said. “But it’s cool. It feels lik e Esquire … without the bullshit.”