Alexandra Wilkis Wilson Brings in the Gilt-ed Age

Growing up in New York City, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson was a determined entrepreneur: She sold lemonade, bracelets and had a baby-sitting business. “An entrepreneurial spirit comes from within,” she says. “It’s hard to teach that or learn it in school. It’s almost a personality trait!” That innate drive took her to some of the most prestigious schools in the country, including Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard.

After college, Wilkis Wilson worked at Merrill Lynch for a few years. But she ditched the world of finance for fashion, snagging posts at top-notch labels like Bulgari and Louis Vuitton. Then in 2007, Alexandra teamed up with her best friend to launch Gilt.com. Today, the company is valued at $1 billion and grows at a staggering pace. Here, Wilkis Wilson shares three tips that all mujeres can apply to find success:

Pursue your passion: “Life is short. In an ideal world, you love what you do professionally. Figure out areas that you’re passionate about, and figure out if you can build a career around them.”

Pick the right business partner: “In our book, By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop, we have a checklist of important points to consider when partnering with someone. They include: ‘Have you seen your partner handle difficult situations?’ ‘Do you have similar energy and work ethic?’ and ‘How do you fight?’”

Embrace uncertainty: “One of the best lessons I learned from my father is to exhibit resilience in the face of adversity. Entrepreneurship is filled with highs and very low lows. Being flexible is one of the best qualities an entrepreneur can have.”

by Stephanie Eunice