We want to share how we think and work at Gelato. This text will hopefully help you understand what it will feel like working here and help you when deciding if you would like to join us on this journey. We hope you find this useful in getting to know us and making your decision.
The market for customized products is expected to grow from $230 billion to more than $320 billion by 2025, according to Gelato estimates, fueling a surge of creators and entrepreneurs who sell customized products online. While platform companies such as Shopify and Etsy have paved the way for these companies to sell their products, and the likes of Stripe and Adyen have solved the issues of online payments, our platform gives companies and entrepreneurs an instant global reach through local production and distribution anywhere, anytime. By bringing the production of customized products to local markets all across our planet, we empower ecommerce sellers and the creator economy to serve any customer, anywhere, in a way that is much more cost-effective and sustainable - transforming global manufacturing as we know it.
This also helps level the playing field for creators and entrepreneurs, allowing them the opportunity to scale globally with no upfront investments in inventory, manufacturing or logistics, while achieving the same profit margins as larger competitors.
The Gelato Group also includes our consumer brand, Optimalprint, which sells customized products such as photo books, clothing, cards, and wall art to consumers. Optimalprint is what has enabled us to perfect the process of handling millions of micro orders and expand into a global ecommerce business. It also allowed us to grow our network of local production partners across the world to serve our growing customer base. This network of more than 100 production hubs has become the core of the Gelato platform - now accessible to millions of ecommerce merchants worldwide who want to build and grow their own global business.
Like all great companies, we strive to hire, develop, and retain the best people. We believe in collaboration and learning from others. These are some things we want you to know about us:
Our mission is at the heart of who we are
We think as a team first
We value speed over perfection
Change and agility
Our entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving
We learn from others to “grow the apple tree”
We own our development
How seriously we take hiring the right team members
Our mission is to empower global ecommerce and the creator economy to serve any customer overnight with any customized product. It is a big and ambitious goal, but one that connects the entire team working at Gelato.
The way people manufacture and distribute customized products has not changed. Products are still being sent all across the planet, which takes a long time and is unnecessarily expensive and wasteful. The transportation industry alone causes 25% of total global carbon emissions, and because much of these products are overproduced and end up in the landfills this further contributes to global waste and emissions.
Through our software, local production, and delivery network we rethink global manufacturing and distribution and offer a solution that not only speeds up delivery times and is more cost-efficient, but that helps reduce waste, transportation distances and carbon emissions. Faster, smarter and greener.
There is a long distance to travel between having a great idea and building a great company. We embrace the hard work required to deliver on our mission. We know that we do not have all the answers. We enjoy this because we problem-solve, innovate, and operate as a team.
We seek brilliant people who are also great team members. We do not have room for arrogance or self-oriented people. We believe that the cost of working with such people is just too high. We strive to improve and develop just like athletes. Yesterday’s achievements are no measure for where we aspire to go.
At Gelato, we sometimes disagree, but we always treat each other with respect. We have no hierarchies. When you build a company you have more questions than answers. In that environment, hierarchies increase the risk for poorly thought through decisions. Hierarchies also have a tendency to silence people which results in reactive thinking. In Gelato, we want people to think on their own and make decisions as a team.
As we move rapidly between challenges, we rely on our culture of entrepreneurship and the fact that you are an owner of this business. As Formula 1 driver Mario Andretti said: “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough”. We move with ferocious speed. We constantly worry about who is “driving behind us” and when we will be overtaken. This can happen when you least expect it.
We know that this way of operating can be highly motivating for some and uncomfortable for others. For us, speed is one of the most important aspects of working here. We love speed. Sometimes we make mistakes. Then we change. We rethink. We start again.
We want to deliver on our key milestones to build this company and gain the necessary knowledge as quickly as we can. If you love the feeling of going faster than feels comfortable, if you love pushing yourself, and you want to be part of a team who enjoys working with this same pace and urgency, Gelato could be a great place for you.
At Gelato, you will not observe the more traditional ways of management such as “let’s ensure we build the right process for this before we start,” or “how do we create reporting lines for this project?” Things change so fast that these formulas and structures are many times obsolete before they are implemented.
Rapid change and development do not mean poor planning. These constant adjustments are the result of our aspiration to constantly seek the right way forward. We do not spend much time thinking about processes and organizational structures, but believe that too much structure might actually slow us down. Where we lack formal processes, we cover the gap with self-motivated and empowered team members.
Entrepreneurship means many things, for example, constantly moving forward and never standing still. We operate under difficult and demanding conditions. We are doing something that has not been done before. We need to identify new opportunities and solve new problems every single day. There is no end in sight.
Being an entrepreneur also means thinking and acting like an owner. Every employee at Gelato is a shareholder. This amplifies the feeling of purpose and belonging. You will never hear someone say “that’s not my job”. Our partners and customers entrust us with their business and data. If we mess up, miss a deadline, or slow down, it matters. We take that responsibility seriously, just like any business owner should.
Being an entrepreneur with a global ambition will also mean thinking, building, problem-solving outside of ordinary working hours. If you are an entrepreneur, you seek the ability to influence and change things. Adding to this exciting mix is the fact that being a global company means operating with a global team and colleagues connecting from the U.S. Brazil, China, India, and all over the world. To us, this is super energizing because we all want to work in an international environment. It sometimes requires that meetings may happen early or late at night. Our business is intertwined with the global economy, so while team members are on holiday, Gelato is not.
At Gelato, you will be surrounded by extremely motivated and driven people. If you compare yourself to others, you will almost always see someone investing more energy, having bigger ambitions, or getting better results. We do not compare ourselves to one another. The value of a team is leveraging each other’s strengths and differences, while always striving to develop and improve, both individually and together.
Few people have ever grown an apple tree. Therefore, if you find yourself wanting to grow one, listen to a person who is really good at it. Accessing this knowledge and experience will save you years, even decades. Speed without direction is counter-productive, which is why we always seek guidance and inspiration from the outside world.
We learn from others and respect what they have built. By growing the apple tree, we avoid reinventing the wheel and save years in product development - accelerating our ability to create values for our partners and customers. Even if we worry about being overtaken by other race car drivers, we do not obsess over our competitors. We invest heavily in understanding how other companies in other industries are spearheading rapid innovation and changing the world.
We encourage a “growth mindset” in everything we do. We always want to keep learning because it helps us challenge our own experiences and beliefs. We know how quickly the world is changing, and the growth mindset helps us seek solutions and implement ideas when other people give up. We change until we win.
This mindset generates continuous and rapidly implemented improvements. We never settle because we know further improvements are just around the corner if we search hard enough. When everyone shares this sense of responsibility and stays curious, we end up doing the right things.
We give our team members a lot of autonomy, both in the work they do but also in their personal development. However, do not confuse the lack of top-down direction with a lack of interest from the top. High performers are recognized, enabled, and rewarded - often with more responsibilities and bigger autonomy. There are conventional forms of recognition also, but experience tells us that our team members get most excited when given more responsibility and the opportunity to work on interesting and high-impact projects.
We have a very rigorous interview process. We utilize questionnaires and assessments in the interview process to aid us in objectivity. Our goal is to search for diverse experiences and not “lookalikes”. Studies have shown that when lacking rigorous interview processes, hiring decisions are made subconsciously within the first 4 to 20 seconds of meeting the candidate. Assessments bring objectivity to the interview process by helping to combat unconscious biases.
Our approach to hiring is that it is about a mutual fit. It is about us finding the right candidate, and about the candidate finding the right company. We invest significantly in our recruitment process and we expect each candidate to do the same. It doesn’t mean we are satisfied with our current process either. We know that there are still improvements to be made and we would welcome any input that you have on how we can improve.