Zola, the new wedding registry startup emerging from Gilt And AlleyCorp founder Kevin Ryan and a group of former Gilt employees, has raised $3.25 million in Series A funding led by Thrive Capital. Joshua Kushner, founder and managing partner of Thrive Capital, will join Zola’s Board of Directors. Ryan, who led the seed funding for the startup, is also contributing to the A round, we are told.
Zola, led by former Gilt employees, Shan-Lyn Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi; is trying to reimagine the wedding registries for couples. It’s part content, part Pinterest-like inspiration sharing, and part wish list/registry. The result is a well-designed. easy to use wedding registry that tells a story of a couple.
When you visit the site and sign up for a Zola wedding registry, you can do some of the same things you would do with your wedding website, including designing a home page with a customized URL, photos, and more. The design of the registry homepage is highly customizable, or you can choose to use some of the stock photography that Gilt provides. You can then create collections of different types of categories you want to set up in your registry, including kitchen, food, experiences, honeymoon, furniture and more. You could even create a cash fund to buy a home and accept donations. The user experience is strikingly similar to creating a board on Pinterest, except you are adding items from Zola.
Within each collection, Zola allows you to simply add items from categories of products to collections. So if you were registering for kitchen items, you could add an array of utensils, china, glassware, kitchen tools, gadgets and more (including those from brands like Cuisinart or Le Creuset). Zola partially operates as an e-commerce site, as they are sourcing all the products from the brands themselves.
Of course, you won’t find the kind of selection of home goods you would on a Bloomingdale’s, or Macys.com, but Zola has ambitions to carry and add more inventory (the site currently lists about 1,000 items to register/buy). Plus Zola allows you to add additional items to your registry that you wouldn’t find at a traditional store, such as cooking classes, music lessons, gift certificates to KitchenSurfing, bicycles, massages and more.
You can also denote certain objects to be items that groups can buy, or to which individuals could contribute a portion of the purchase price. This is especially useful to high-priced products like furniture. And couples using Zola have the ability to control shipping times, with the site notifying couples when items have been purchased and allows them to receive the gifts immediately or at a later date.
There are a number of others aiming to disrupt the wedding registry space, including RegistryLove, but Gilt has an experienced team with an eye for design and ease of use.