If you can credit Gilt City Chicago with helping you discover your go-to nail salon, planning an epic date night that helped you land your now-fiance, or igniting a love affair with aerial yoga that might otherwise have gone undiscovered … and all at like, half off, then there’s a good chance you have Laura Kujawa to thank for it. Laura has the enviable task of “curating” the city of Chicago — finding the best restaurants, undercover boutiques, zen-inducing spas, and random-but-awesome fitness classes — working with them to create a deal, and presenting it on the Gilt City site. Cool, eh?
Here, we talk to her about how she landed in her current role, what is takes to be successful in a sales job, the go-to Chicago spots she’s discovered through work, and more.
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR ROLE WITH GILT CITY?
I’m a market lead at Gilt City Chicago. We connect with cool brands, businesses and hotspots around the city to provide our members with exclusive experiences at insider prices. From spa services to gym memberships and the best new restaurants – Gilt City is a city guide for anyone looking to experience Chicago without maxing out their credit card.
2. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
I start each day by checking my email and calendar, and of course… coffee. The morning is when I usually feel the most energetic and inspired. I make a to-do list for the day and always try to take a few minutes either in the morning or towards the end of the day to read blogs and local news sites to stay on top of any recent openings or new hot spots. The in between is always different! Some days are spent in the office lead researching or in meetings while others may be spent meeting with business owners or checking out a new fitness class or spa service.
3. BEFORE GILT, YOU WORKED FOR MAGAZINES LIKE VOGUE AND GLAMOUR. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
My first job out of college was at Redbook magazine as a sales assistant. From there, I moved to LA and landed a job at Vogue, Men’s Vogue and eventually W Magazine working in ad sales. These were brands I found really inspiring. Although working in the cut throat world of advertising isn’t as glamorous as one might think, I had an amazing experience that helped me get where I am today.
4. WHY DID YOU MAKE THE JUMP FROM MAGAZINE ADVERTISING INTO A JOB AT GILT?
I moved back to Chicago from L.A. and shortly thereafter discovered the Gilt City curator position. I met with the team and couldn’t have found a better opportunity. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Gilt brand and company.
5. WHAT HAS A CAREER IN SALES TAUGHT YOU?
Patience, persistence and you have to have thick skin! It definitely takes a particular kind of person to make it in sales. Not all days are going to be good days. To me, the most important thing is to love what you do and love what you sell.
6. WHAT SORT OF PERSONALITY TRAITS DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN A JOB LIKE YOURS?
Persistence, patience and confidence. We’re also curating packages and experiences for our partners and have a lot of freedom with this so creativity is also very important.
7. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT THE JOB?
Gilt City has offered me amazing opportunities and experience. I can be creative, I have flexibility, opportunity for growth, and a voice that is heard. The company culture is great and I love the talented and inspiring people I work with every day. I’m constantly meeting new people and helping local businesses so that feels really good. (The shopping discount is a great perk too!)
8. WHAT’S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The role of a curator can easily be a lifestyle – I could work all the time if I let myself. I try to leave work at the office and not work too late in the evenings or too much on weekends, if possible. I could be better about putting me phone down. But hey, we are all guilty of that!
9. WHAT’S THE COOLEST RESTAURANT, SPA, BOUTIQUE, ETC. THAT YOU’VE DISCOVERED THROUGH WORK?
Presidio is absolutely amazing – please go now if you haven’t experienced dinner or brunch there yet! My favorite spa discovered through Gilt City this year is Spavia in Lincoln Park. It’s my new go to when I need to de-stress. Another absolutely amazing and unique place to treat yourself is Yamato Foot Massage & Bar!
10. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT CHICAGO?
The only thing I don’t love about Chicago is the winter! Although this one hasn’t been bad at all. Chicago is really just an amazing city all around. I’ve traveled all over and can’t find a city I love more. We’re lucky to live in one of the best cities in the world when it comes to dining and shopping – both things I love to do very much. 🙂 I love the Lincoln Park Zoo, the MCA and Art Institute and the Aquarium. I love going to the Garfield Park Conservatory. This is my winter “happy place”. And the summers here are just incredible. We have the Lake and so many great streets festivals and outdoor events in the summer, there’s never a shortage of things to do.
11. WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Work smarter, not harder. Also, if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.