Gin Lane Pioneers the Future of Connected Commerce by Jenna Abdou

What do Warby Parker, Shake Shack, and Micheal Kors have in common? They’ve all partnered with Gin Lane, the digital creative agency powering consumer experiences we immediately text our friends about. 

Located in Chinatown — an eclectic area that reflects the agency’s reach -  Gin Lane works with top brands to create cohesive interactions spanning our mobile, online and physical experiences. 

Take Sweetgreen, for example, the fast-growing organic restaurant chain that Gin Lane helped institute online ordering. 

Despite not being able to purchase my food (I’m in San Diego, and the closest Sweetgreen is in Los Angeles) my online experience was seamless.

I started noting my allergies (Much appreciated!) and chose to customize a salad. 

This was my receipt. 

As someone with medical dietary restrictions, I deeply appreciate Sweetgreen’s emphasis on quality sourced products. The team’s nuanced approach and transparency are what attracted Gin Lane to the brand. 

The agency’s mantra is “Bet on the jockey, not the horse.” 

According to Emmett Shine, Gin Lane’s Founder and President, the team aspires to work with forward-thinking partners who are marketing notable products and experiences. Most importantly, they have to be comfortable and excited to push the envelope. 

These are the questions Gin Lane uses to evaluate partners. 

  • What are the team’s ethos? 
  • Do they treat their employees well? 
  • How are their products made? Are they transparent, responsible and ethically sourced? 
  • Does their product or experience make the world better? 
  • What are the values grounding their vision? 
  • The deal breaker: Are they assholes? 

Emmett sums it best when he says, “No bullshit. Just solid, nice, good people who want to do work for the right reasons.”

Once Gin Lane partners with a brand they operate as “method actors, working inside the problem outward,” he shared. 

By bridging our online and physical experiences, the team is pioneering the future of connected commerce. 

The agency operates an in-house studio in Sunset Park’s Industry City where they produce digital first interactive content. 

You can see samples of their work here

Each time you visit Gin Lane or one of their partners’ apps, websites or storefronts you can feel the team’s pursuit of perfection. 

Despite the interactive photos being eye-catching (It’s okay if you keep re-loading their homepage - I do too!), Gin Lane’s work is tethered on balance.

According to Emmett, we’re still exploring the world of digital interfaces. Despite our pressing desire to control our experiences, as consumers, we still need a reliable GPS to help us navigate what Emmett identifies as triangulation - Our experiences on our phones, computers, and in reality. 

Brands should use interactive experiences - such as moving photos and gesture-driven interfaces - as surprises, throughout a consumer’s experience.

Five years in Emmett's favorite role remains starting things off, choosing Gin Lane’s partners and assembling teams. He places his energy in the initial phases, investing time to “catalyze projects, making them go from static to kinetic.” 

Since launching in 2010, Gin Lane’s partnered with high profile brands such as Tom Ford,  J. Crew, and Stella McCartney. The team of 30 is equally bullish about startups and recently collaborated with Hello Alfred, Reformation, and Everlane to creatively share their stories. 

This June they launched Gin Lane Ventures, the next chapter in their own story, to cultivate long-term relationships with their partners. 

“It’s really hard to get so involved with projects and not be able to see them through as they grow. When you believe in something, you want to take it to the level that you know it can go...Getting into joint venture will allow us to do that,” Emmett explained on Techcrunch. 

Moving forward, Emmett hopes Gin Lane will actively place brands at the forefront of the connected commerce revolution, enabling them to receive high valuations and make a lasting impact. 

To learn more about Gin Lane and the future of connected commerce tune into Emmett’s 33founders interview and follow the brand on Twitter here

Further Reading
  • How Inclusion Made Food52 the Web’s Hungriest Community — Before launching Food52, Amanda Hesser, and Merrill Stubbs spent their nights and weekends testing over 1,400 recipes for The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century. The experience laid the foundation for their co-founder relationship which is as fluid as the ebbs and flows of two chefs collaborating in the kitchen.
  • The Power of Explosive Creation: How to Harness Your Creative Callings — If Steve Martocci could give everyone a fortune cookie with a customized saying inside he’d write: “Lost cookie. Please Return” with his name and address. “Imagine if I managed to reach the billions of people in the world. I’d love to see what kinds of letters I’d get back if I gave them a feedback loop,” he says.
  • How Gatheredtable is Designing an Intuitive Product to Streamline Meal Planning — As someone who suffers from over 50 food intolerances, the convenience of meal delivery and planning services has yet to become a reality for me. While its impossible to accommodate circumstances like this at scale, my family and I are are equally in search of a service to streamline our meal planning efforts.

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