Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

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I still do love a good sample sale. I don’t know if I have that much patience or time, but there are a couple designers I’d wait for.
— on traditional bricks & mortar shopping.

Founder & Head of Strategic Alliances, Gilt Groupe.

Her luxury e-commerce site has completely revolutionized the way we shop. In 2007, online shopping was a relatively new concept, but Gilt's members-only designer flash sales (think Zac Posen & Diane von Furstenberg goods at prices that dreams are made of) proved too alluring for fashion lovers to resist and they signed up & bought in droves. Fast forward to present day and the site's popularity hasn't waned; in fact, womenswear, menswear, home decor & travel goods are all now devoured to the tune of nearly one billion (yes Billion) dollars. FGI Toronto recently brought the fashion & business guru to Toronto in celebration of her new book, co-written with business partner Alexis Maybank, By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop, and I was lucky to have an opportunity to chat with the mom of two. She shared some business-savvy pearls of wisdom:  "Find your complement as opposed to your copy or mirror" and "It's not so much the balance of everyday it's more about the balance over periods of time"; and I of course also had to ask her about the details of her personal style. Here's what she had to say:

Do you have a signature style or do you prefer to keep 'em guessing? 

I do like to change things up, I don't like to get bored with fashion. But there are definitely go-to classic pieces that I have held on to for years and will hold on to for years to come. Maybe I'll pass them on to my daughter. 

Heels or flats? 

Both. I'm a New Yorker – I'm always wandering around the city and walking so I usually have a pair or flats and a pair of heels on me at all times. 

What's in your purse? 

Key, wallet, MetroCard, business card holder, iPhone, Mophie (spare battery), ChapStick, Prada sunglasses, almonds & pictures of my kids. 

What designer coup made you feel like Gilt had made it?

It's hard to explain the exhilaration of "Oh my gosh we just signed up this brand!" each time we signed a new brand. A big moment for us was when we sold Christian Louboutin as a brand. That was incredibly exciting and our numbers went crazy; I wish we had thousands of more pairs of shoes. The first time we sold sold Diane von Furstenberg was so exciting as well.

Now & Again: Tunic

Leah Alexandra