Written by Jerred Ziegler.
With the difficulty inherent in starting a new company, entrepreneurs need to learn as much as they can from those who have done it before. Jessie Deye, Rachel Bauer McCreary and Kelsey Pytlik are hoping to do just that this summer as they make their way through The Brandery, a nationally ranked accelerator and Ohio Third Frontier partner in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The three women have created a company called GILD Collective, which takes the online craft world cultivated by sites like Pinterest and Etsy and brings it directly into women’s homes. Think of GILD Collective as a more expressive jewelry party – instead of buying a new necklace, party guests follow step-by-step instructions and create a craft together, with the GILD Collective team providing all of the materials. They also provide all instructions, whether in-person or via videos/photos. Party hosts are able to choose a craft from a defined set of GILD Collective projects, a list the company hopes to grow continuously in the future.
“We believe that when you exercise creativity it builds confidence and makes you a more well-rounded human,” said Deye. “We wanted to bring this directly to women to help them achieve balance in their lives.”
GILD Collective’s co-founders envision their company as a fun alternative to a monotonous wine-and-dinner girls’ night.
“I think sites like Pinterest and Instagram have led to creative anxiety among women,” said Deye. “People share so many of their creations online every day, and while many women ‘pin’ or ‘like’ them, they’re often too intimidated to try making them on their own. Our product is trying to solve that problem and let women harness their creativity.”
Deye, a Cincinnati native, knew The Brandery was the perfect fit for her company. As CEO, she met with the accelerator’s team to validate the idea behind the business and determined that it was a viable, scalable startup. As a result, the company applied for and was accepted to the Summer 2015 class. A couple of weeks into the program, Deye said they have already learned a lot about what it takes to build a startup.
“When you have an idea and a concept, creating a successful company seems so clear cut. In your mind you have a proven business model and market,” said Deye. “We’ve quickly learned that we can’t believe our model is correct. It needs to be continuously refined and tested for the right market fit.”
GILD Collective’s main objective at The Brandery is to grow the company and prove that their team has created a service that consumers actually want.
“We want to change the craft industry by making it more accessible,” said Deye. “The Brandery surrounds us with people who have revolutionized industries before and who can guide us through this journey.”
GILD Collective’s co-founders are hoping to pay it forward and help other entrepreneurs by allowing Ohio Third Frontier to follow the company through The Brandery this summer. We will be documenting the team’s journey as they evolve and discover the benefits to taking part in an accelerator. Check back to see the company’s development, learning experiences and challenges.
“We are testing and changing things about our company each and every day,” said Deye. “We’re all very interested to see what GILD Collective looks like by the end of the program.”