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Meet Rue La La's most familiar face: Lauren Fitzgerald

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 19, 2012 08:12 AM

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Lauren Fitzgerald may have the glammest gig in Boston's innovation economy: modeling for the "flash sale" company Rue La La, which runs time-limited sales of high-end merchandise via its web site and mobile app. Fitzgerald's an independent contractor, but she typically shows up at Rue for day-long photo shoots 2 to 4 days a week. "I'm at Rue for about 60 to 70 percent of my jobs," she says. "It's the most consistent client I have."

When Fitzgerald first showed up to work for Rue in the spring of 2008, just after the site had launched, she didn't know much about the company. "My agency asked me to go down and meet with them," she says. "At that point, you didn't really have anything to compare it to. Flash sales were just getting started. I got a password, became a member, and I felt very elite."

Since then, Fitzgerald has become a familiar face to the six million shoppers who receive Rue's daily e-mail, or access its mobile apps, to see what's on sale today. When we spoke on Wednesday, she was doing a shoot for Lilla P, a Manhattan-based label, and she'd also recently modeled apparel from French Connection, Kay Unger, and Narcisso Rodriguez. A day of work at Rue typically starts at 8 a.m. with hair and make-up -- "which is a really nice way for a girl to start the day," she says -- and lasts until about 4 p.m. "Typically, you're doing one brand a day," Fitzgerald says, and there are three or four models simultaneously at work in the company's photo studios.

For a city like Boston, which isn't home to many fashion magazines or major retailers, Rue has been "heaven-sent," creating lots of additional work for models that doesn't require them to travel. And she's a true local, having grown up in Medford.

Fitzgerald says she's often a Rue customer herself, though she doesn't get a first crack at merchandise or an insider discount. "The one advantage I have is that I get to try on the clothes first," she says. "And there have been quite a few days when something shows up on the site at 11 a.m. and I'm there waiting to buy it."

Rue La La is 30 percent owned by the auction giant eBay, which recently started showcasing some Rue merchandise on its site.

A few examples of Fitzgerald's work for Rue La La are below:


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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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