Washington has been privy of late to a surge of retailers, restaurants, and experiences that, until recently, have been reserved for haute-headed folks in New York and LA. As openings and debuts are hurled at smart Beltway citizens at a pace that would make even a senior scheduler’s head spin, where does one turn to find the latest and greatest eatery, nightclub, spa treatment, or fitness program that everyone covets, visits, orders, engages in? Enter Gilt City DC, which launched in August and has quickly become a twice-weekly must-click for Hill staffers, Georgetown ladies who lunch, and everyone in between who needs to know about, well, everything. Its curator: the ever fashionable Marissa Schneider, who prowls the town on behalf of the city’s discerning trend-spotters, style-setters, and scene-stealers in order to offer high-end brokered deals and steals.
On a recent rainy day, Capitol File caught up with the Gilt City guru at Peregrine Espresso in the middle of a packed schedule of chef tastings and boutique scoutings. Schneider and her team at Gilt City taste-test every bite, try out every service, and explore every venue before recommending them on the website. “My job is to know the city’s ins and outs so I can locate the most exclusive, top-tier opportunities the District has to offer,” she says between sips of cappuccino.
Constantly monitoring site comments, tracking sales, and watching clicks, Schneider lives by her members’ feedback, personally responding to every question or comment Gilt City receives. “Our members definitely love the finer things, but every night is not a ‘white tablecloth’ kind of dinner, so we try to change it up to keep everyone happy,” she explains. “Sometimes you just want a pizza, and we are here to tell you about the tastiest in town.”
Each offer lives on Gilt City for seven days, but most do not last that long before selling out. Tickets to a private spa event at the luxurious Bliss Spa in the W, for example, sold out in minutes. New nightlife spot Lost Society, as well as Georgetown Pilates and Renu Med Spa, also registered virtual credit card swipes in record time.
Perpetually e-mailing or tweeting on the go (seriously, she never stops—she describes her daily cardio routine half-jokingly as toting a purse full of jewelry and accessories wherever she goes), Schneider utilizes social media as a way to keep a finger on the pulse of the Washington metro area. “One of our partnerships came from a publicist direct messaging me on Twitter,” says the soon-to-be 30-year-old Washington State native. Her pursuit of the next great deal is no normal 9-to-5, either; evenings of scouting and forging relationships well into the night are all part of finding just the kinds of Gilt-y pleasures Washingtonians deserve.