The obvious benefit to shopping brick-and-mortar locations is that you can see the materials, dimensions, and overall look in person — how do you do this while virtually shopping?
"The biggest error I think people make is really not paying attention to the scale or the dimensions. And I think we've all done this before: You didn't really look closely and you order the thing, and it shows up and it's like whoa — this is like doll-house size. So, what I do is actually tell people to get your tape measure out. And if it's a piece of furniture, not only measure but tape it out on the floor with blue tape if it's a sofa or something.
Basically, draw a floor plan for yourself before you get started. And, there's software now: There are iPad apps — I think I have one called [Magic]Plan — and then there's something online called Icovia, in which, basically, you can draw your room to scale and you can plop your furniture in, so you can make sure you're not buying a sofa that's going to overwhelm a room or just look really dinky. And my general advice with scale is err on the side of being too large. For example, if you're in your starter apartment and you need to get a sofa, a 6.5-foot sofa might fit perfectly well right now, but this isn't the apartment you're going to stay in forever. A 7 foot, which is more of a standard size, is probably a better bet."
What's the Gilt curating process like?
"The first thing is to be really thorough. We have a team of buyers — myself and the buyers — who attend major trade fairs...so, we really know what's out there. And then we really know what our customers are looking for, because we're online and they're flash sales — we get to know really quickly what our customers are responding to. It's really fun. We get better all the time with this process of understanding our customers and really focusing on what they need."
For people who can't go to trade shows and fully immerse themselves in the industry, where should they go for inspiration.
"People have a lot more places now to look for inspiration — all the home blogs are making it easier than ever to just get inspired. So, in addition to the magazines that have been around for forever, there are also blogs."
What are your favorite blogs to look at?
"People always ask me this, and it gets me in trouble. Refinery29 is at the top of my list [laughs]. I do look at Remodelista a lot. And, I love...Emmas DesignBlogg. During [Hurricane Sandy], I basically spent three days online just going through this girl's blog. I love it! And she has all these sources you'd never know about like some weird shops in Sweden and even some weird Japanese shops that are selling Swedish design and vice versa."
What's a decor gem — either brick-and-mortar or online — that everybody should know about?
"There's Funkis.com. I think I found this on Emmas DesignBlogg. There are just beautiful things."
If you could pick any designer or brand to feature on Gilt Home, who or what would it be?
"Well, I'd probably pick something that does not sell. [Laughs.] It'd be too expensive. But actually I love Michaël Verheyden, who's not that expensive. There's an obscure showroom in New York called Avenue Road, which is the worst name ever, that sells his stuff. I love the site When Objects Work, because it offers sleek and decorative objects by notable architects and product designers that you can't really find anywhere else. I would love expand on this on Gilt someday!"
Now that you know how to shop the goods, don't miss the Gilt Home Collection — all designed by Delavan himself — which goes on sale this Sunday, July 28 at 9 p.m. (EDT).
Photo: Courtesy of Gilt.