Close your eyes and picture your perfect vacation: We'd be willing to bet there's a beach involved (preferably one with cold cocktails), complete with the perfect swimsuit and a one-of-a-kind accessory to bring back and flex on your friends about your recent travels. Feels good, right?
Now, there's an e-commerce site looking to capture precisely that feeling: Golden Edit. The site is founded by Elise Labau Topaloglu and Florencia Cavallo, who were working together at a fashion PR firm when they realized they could make their shared love of travel into a viable business. While trolling Instagram for travel inspiration, they would find brands that didn't ship to the U.S. or that had hard-to-navigate e-commerce pages.
"We started to realize that, while there was so much stuff out there, those really good, unique, special pieces were really hard to find," Cavallo says. "We were finding these great brands that we didn't have access to. At the same time, there were so many sites where you'd be scrolling through pages and pages and pages of like, a black, classic triangle bikini top. It's kind of exhausting; as a consumer, it's overwhelming."
The idea began to nag at them: What if they created a place where those brands could live under one roof? Just 18 months later, the duo is officially launching Golden Edit, where they've curated some of their favorite resort brands.
"We know that this girl, our girl, she's busy. Golden Edit, in a nutshell, is as simple as, 'Here are 10 summer essentials that we've curated for you,'" Topaloglu says. "They're all living in one place, one click away. We've essentially done the ground work for you."
It wasn't easy, of course; the money that once went toward great vacations ("I think we can both safely say that we always worked to travel; that paycheck would always go to travel," Cavallo says) changed to being seed money for the website, and the duo worked a lot of nights and weekends while keeping up their PR jobs. The bulk of the work, according to Topaloglu, was finding those special brands that Golden Edit would feature. While they're interested in bringing smaller brands to a bigger customer base, and like to keep sustainability in mind, ultimately it was most important that the product be something beyond just the basic swimwear available at other retailers.
"From the beginning, something that both Florencia and I felt strongly about, we didn't want it to be something where there would be hard lines or boxes we had to check — that's something that's exciting about what we're doing," she says. "We're passionate about this element of discovery and bringing her something that she hasn't yet seen that she hopefully falls in love with; at the end of the day, Florencia and I have to fall in love with the product first and foremost."
Golden Edit is launching with 12 labels coming from places like Turkey, Colombia, Australia and Ecuador, ranging from up-and-coming brands to more established ones. Topaloglu notes that it was essential for Golden Edit to purchase the inventory outright rather than drop ship to better control the overall user experience.
To bring in that extra-special travel feel, Topaloglu and Cavallo will also be stocking Golden Edit with extremely limited runs of one-off items they discover on their own vacations — think thick Turkish towels or handmade woven baskets made from recycled plastic found at a market in San Miguel de Allende.
"It's funny, because it's usually a bit of a cheeky, selfish thing that you find something really cool [on vacation] and all your friends are jealous," Cavallo says. "Now, you don't have to go to San Miguel to find them. You can get them on Golden Edit and they feel really special."
"That's really exciting because that's something where we essentially get to bring the customer on a journey with us. It's like she was at that market in Greece or the bazaar in Istanbul," Topaloglu adds. "She gets a piece of that magical place, and that's it — if you're too late, it's gone. It'll be something else, and it'll be something that will keep evolving and will follow us. We want that to be as organic as possible."
The co-founders haven't ruled out the possibility of working with these artisans on a bigger scale at a later date. In the meantime, they're excited to officially launch Golden Edit and get to meet their customer, who they envision to be women very much like themselves. There will be a space on the website where they will interview fellow travelers about their favorite spots and their vacation must-haves.
"She's our consumer, but we kind of want to be friends with her, we want to get to know her," Cavallo says. "She lives for discovery, whether it's discovering a city, it's discovering a beach or discovering a really cute new swimsuit brand. It's someone who's a little cheeky, and they're playful; they have that wanderlust sort of energy that makes them really fun to be around."
Even if we're not shopping, or vacationing, at least now we have a virtual place to go and cure our winter blues.