Ivan Gilkes


ivan gilkes

hi there!

let's work together :)

Do you think my experience is relevant to an area you need help in? I'm here for you! Whether you're a brand that is looking for help preparing for sales or an individual that is seeking help with graphic design or building a website, I'm here for you!



Enterprising Leader, Creative Voice & Customer-Focused Business Strategist with success in creating and driving the vision that positions a carefully crafted brand aesthetic as authentic and relevant within the highly competitive omnichannel global market. Draws upon industry insights and deep knowledge of emerging trends, a distinct design point of view, and a commitment to operational excellence in leading go-to-market and product/service differentiation strategies that produce revenue and market share growth.

Brand Ambassador recognized for initiative, tireless work ethic, willingness to take on new challenges and explore new ideas, the ability to quickly build relationships of trust, and skill in guiding growth initiatives from concept to reality. Engaging collaborator who leverages a wide range of influences to positively shape consumer buying decisions and the customer experience. Builds brand value by customizing messaging and curating products that engage Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, baby boomers, and other lifestyle-driven segments.

Select Achievements

Co-led successful launch of brick-and-mortar retail business from concept, earning recognition as Best New Store by New York Magazine. Secured startup investment, formed exclusive brand relationships, and sustained operation for 4 consecutive years in the midst of rapidly growing competition. Pivoted location to Soho’s Nolita neighborhood, driving increased awareness and volume.
Achieved 100%+ growth in annual revenue for wholesale business in <3 years. Identified and acquired emerging brands in line with aesthetic and price point, developed relationships with top retail stores, successfully placed product, and co-led expansion. Drove the shift to a multiline micro trade show concept to enhance profitability and create a highly customized buyer experience.
Tripled brand’s sales in 1 year by representing and leading the successful positioning of brand with 15 top retailers.
Successfully presented and promoted independent brands at premier industry trade shows in New York, Paris, and Los Angeles.
Created and managed a press and marketing campaign that established business as a top NYC retail destination and indie boutique as recognized by Elle, Racked, Refinery29, Garmentory, California Apparel News, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar Brasil, and others.
Led development and gained buy-in for innovative business model, creating a platform for a portion of profits to be donated to nonprofit partners in support of urban development, community outreach, and youth empowerment.
Industry thought leader selected as a guest instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the area of wholesale best practices. Featured speaker on various industry panels. Invited to judge work of emerging designers at Charleston Fashion Week.

career progression


Co-founder, january/14 - Present
Multi-concept retail/wholesale business featuring emerging designers

•   In collaboration with business partner, wrote business plan, including development of brand aesthetic/story, and secured funding from a private investor. Selected site, co-led build-out of operational infrastructure, and launched venture.
•   Designed unique brand concepts for retail and wholesale lines, including digital/printed collateral, advertising campaigns, marketing materials, store design, and online presence that gave customers a destination for product research.
•   Leveraged former wholesale experience (Aikaz Showroom), labels, and inventory to jump-start onsite showroom business.
•   Researches and selects nascent and differentiating labels to feature/sell; grew portfolio from 25 to 40+ independent vendors.
•   Manages all aspects of the wholesale business, including the identification and qualification of new designers and the negotiation of market-exclusive relationships. Connects brands with strategic retail partners in NYC and Los Angeles.
•   As neighborhood faced decline, led effort to relocate store to a higher-traffic Soho address in 2017.
•   Guided business in transition from costly, permanent sales-focused showroom to a more profitable, seasonal micro trade show model representing 30+ labels in New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. Supported pop-up trade show in Los Angeles.
•   Provides art direction and determines design aesthetic for product photo shoots; occasionally serves as session photographer.
•   Developed and cultivated relationships with editors, stylists, influencers, and adjacent brands to secure press placement:
-       http://nymag.com/bestofny/shopping/2015/womens-non-basics-in-support-of/
-       https://www.racked.com/maps/best-ny-shopping-stores
-       http://charlestonfashionweek.com/support
-       https://www.whowhatwear.com/under-the-radar-brands-summer-2017/slide17
-       https://americanfashionpodcast.com/2015/03/040-camp-capsule-continued-the-american-fashion-podcast/
-       http://thestyleline.com/in-support-of/

Mega Mega Projects

Sales Manager, july/13 -  january/14
Fine jewelry and accessories wholesale showroom

•   Selected as the first hire for rapidly growing showroom. Personally managed 15+ jewelry and accessory wholesale brands.
•   Leveraged relationships with large retailers (e.g., Anthropologie, Barney’s, Free People, Henri Bendel, Intermix, Shopbop, Steven Alan) while developing new partnerships with specialty boutiques (e.g., ABC Home, Creatures of Comfort, Personnel of New York).
•   Transitioned brands and retailer relationships from Aikaz Showroom to Mega Mega Projects.
•   Researched new retail partners and connected brands with stores in alignment with each label’s aesthetic and price range.
•   Represented brands at trade shows in New York and Paris. Secured appointments and orders with buyers.
•   Bridged the gap between designers and wholesale customers in facilitating product development discussions/initiatives.
•   Led showroom’s entry into lingerie market.

Aikaz Showroom

Sales Agent, january/11 -  june/13
multi-line showroom with a focus on emerging independent brands designed and produced in new york and the u.s.

Developed relationships with stores such as Oak, Bonnie & Clyde, Azalea, Stel’s, Helen Yi, Harvey Nichols HK, & Restir among others.
Researched and targeted stores that match represented brands aesthetic and price range.
Secured appointments and orders with buyers.
Suggested orders based on knowledge of brand performance and store feedback.
Represented brands at trade shows: Project and Capsule in New York, Project in Las Vegas and Coeur in Los Angeles.
Scheduled and attended road appointments in secondary markets to bolster sales; specifically Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
Rebuilt and maintained showroom website to more accurately reflect the company operations and aesthetic.
Updated social media (Wordpress, Twitter, and Facebook).

Nars Cosmetics

Assistant, august/09 - february/11
french cosmetics and skin care company; subsidiary of shiseido

•   Supported Account Executive in the planning and management of wholesale business across a tri-state region that included NYC.
•   Served in an analyst capacity, producing monthly reporting to monitor team progress and identify opportunities to elevate sales.
•   Conducted payroll for 40 freelance sales representatives managing in-store business across the region.
•   Gained in-depth understanding of luxury retail environments including Barney’s, Lord & Taylor, Henri Bendel, and Saks.
•   Created marketing and publicity materials for special promotional events.


Areas of Expertise

Brand Strategy Design & Execution
Creative/Art Direction
Customer Experience

Growth/Go-to-Market Roadmaps
Market Trends/Insights
Innovative Business Models
Product Strategy/Quality
New Product Launch/Commercialization
Product Sourcing
Contract Design & Review
Cross-Functional Team Collaboration
Vendor/Supplier/Designer Management
Public/Media Relations
Strategic Communications
Able to positively influence brand value through photography, social/digital media, and website design.
Proficiency in various design programs (inquire for specifics)



new york university

Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, Urban Design, Architecture Studies & Middle Eastern Studies, New York University, 2009

Studio Art minor (photography and jewelry making); member, NYU Presidential Honors Scholars Program (thesis required)




Email: ivan@insupportof.us

instagram: @ivangilkes

based in brooklyn