Inspiration and innovation can come from anywhere. In the case of Gilt Taste, the idea came from the home team.
In December 2010, at one of the regular Gilt Groupe town-hall meetings, Kevin Ryan, founder and CEO, asked, “What is our next business?” Shan-Lyn Ma replied “Food, gourmet food.”
Ma was a part of the new products team that developed mobile apps. But when she was away from the office, she was wandering farmer’s markets, discovering new restaurants and reading food magazines. She surfed the internet looking for sources of inspiration and ingredients, but she could never find exactly what she wanted. None of the websites or retailers could equal her real life experiences. As she searched for her ideal culinary destination, she realized that it did not exist. Perhaps, she thought, others who shared her passion for food, were feeling the same.
Ryan and Ma began meeting once a week to talk about a Gilt shop for artisan foods, curated by chefs, writers and farmers. They talked about evolving the Gilt Groupe model into a marketplace of special and rare products, accessible to everyone.
Offering a selection of exceptional products was the first goal. Inspiring people and giving them the confidence to cook and taste something new was the second challenge. Why stop at a few recipes and how-to videos? Why not create a groundbreaking digital-magazine-catalog hybrid?
The list of candidates to guide the editorial side was a list of one, Ruth Reichl. Reichl has the unique background of having cooked, criticized and editorialized food to international acclaim. Reichl and Gilt Groupe chairman Susan Lyne were already friends, making introductions as easy as pie.
With Reichl on board as Editorial Advisor, Ma began assembling her dream team. She invited her engineering and design colleagues from the new products department to help conceive the site and hired buyers from four-star restaurants and retailers to curate the market. To create the voice and stories, Ma assembled a passionate, curious team of writers and editors.
One day people are talking about their passions and innovation. Five months later, we are launching a new online experience. Food inspired us to build Gilt Taste. We hope it inspires you too.