Who’s on your team and how did you find each other?
Daryn Hillhouse – CEO
Nick Rattermann – CTO
John Gordos – Technical Advisor
Daryn: I recently moved to Cincinnati from Cape Town, South Africa. I have a background in operations and logistics and run a successful events company in South Africa. I was introduced to Nick by James Fisher, CEO of Roadtrippers. Nick worked for Roadtrippers when the company started 4 years ago at The Brandery, and more recently worked at a defense contractor as a software programmer. John Gordos and I met through through a combination of networking / office hours events organized by The Brandery, as well as through introductions made by local and ex-Brandery startups.
Jessie Deye – CEO
Kelsey Pytlik – Chief Experience Officer
Rachel Bauer – Chief Creative Officer
Kelsey: Rachel Bauer McCreary, Jessie Deye, and Kelsey Pytlik (myself) are on our team. We all met a few years ago when I moved to Cincinnati from my hometown in Cleveland, and Rachel returned to Cincinnati after being away for college, traveling abroad, and grad school. Jessie is originally from Cincinnati and had been working here since graduating from UC. We never really talked about starting a company, but it was clear that we were all looking for “something more.” So when the idea for GILD Collective popped into Rachel’s head and she texted us (yes, a text was the start of our company) it was easy for us all to get excited and get on board.
What is your company?
Daryn: We are Üluntu (which means “Community” in the African Zulu language). We are building a social platform for the mass-participation events industry. We build highly engaged communities around their event experiences.
Kelsey: GILD Collective! We offer women a fun reason to get together in the spirit of creativity by throwing awesomely curated craft parties. We provide all the supplies and instruction, and our party hostesses just provide the space and the friends.
What attracted you to apply to The Brandery?
Daryn: I think it was a combination of what The Brandery offered in terms of providing the environment to build a product and brand, and the revival currently taking place in Cincinnati, particularly in Over-The-Rhine. Being surrounded by like-minded, positive, young people all contributing to building a better future for themselves and the community, is a super powerful attraction.
Kelsey: We knew very early on that our branding was going to be critical for the success of our company. People need to associate Gild with feelings of fun and excitement, but also with confidence and creativity. Knowing that, we felt like the Brandery would be a great fit for us. Also, being just an “idea on a napkin” around the time of applications, we were eager for mentorship and guidance since we were beginning down a path that we had never been before. It’s also pretty awesome that we have a top accelerator in our back yard, given that we all live just a few minutes away!
What’s been the best part?
Daryn: The network. It’s not everyday that you can get on the phone to the Marketing Director of the Dollar Shave Club, CEO’s of the largest Venture Capital firms in the country, or ex-NFL superstars like Dhani Jones. The access to an incredible network of mentors and investors who are genuinely interesting in your success, and willing to assist wherever needed, again, is an incredible privilege.
Kelsey: For me, the best part of the Brandery has been the intense support that we have been given. Support can look a lot of different ways – we have an amazing creative agency who has delivered us work that brought us to tears, we have mentors who reassure us when we’re not sure we’re doing the right thing, and we have other teams beside us building us up when we need it the most. We also have the support of the Brandery team, who has not only helped us learn the language of ‘startup’ but more importantly put their faith in us as a company and lit a fire in us to succeed and move quickly. Without The Brandery, we would probably have had a couple parties that nobody paid for, but with The Brandery we’ve had over 20 parties and we’re generating revenue.
Work aside, what’s your favorite thing to do in Cincinnati?
Daryn: I really enjoy being able to walk to work. On the weekend, it has to be taking a #CincyRedBike and riding through the parks along the river, then heading back to OTR for some Eagle chicken, washed down with a Rhinegeist Truth. What more do you need? Cincinnati has everything.
Kelsey: Is eating an okay answer? :) It seems like there is always a new restaurant opening up to try, so it is fun to make your way around to those. There’s also something different to do in Washington Park any day of the week (City Flea, workout classes, movies in the park, CRAFTS IN THE PARK!!) And… I like to run down along the river. The pathways have just been expanded yet again and it is quite beautiful.
Meet Üluntu and GILD Collective in the flesh! Üluntu is throwing the first-ever 5k that combines both physical and mental prowess. Get a team together (anyone can participate, not just the super-fit Spartan Racers) and sign up. Plus, the last Sunday of the month, GILD Collective does crafts in the park for just $20. Registration will open soon for the September 30 event.
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Photos in this post by Zackariah Cole Photography.