Peyton Ladt wants to change the way you plan your next party.
By Garry Dow | Associate Director of Communications
When her "ah-ha" moment finally arrived, Peyton Ladt '03 was ready for it. In 2015, she was a 30-year-old transplant living in New York City. Seven years earlier, she had moved to the Big Apple from Sun Valley, Idaho. In New York, Ladt found a professional home at Forbes, then Bloomberg, and eventually Jetsetter, a luxury travel site. At Jetsetter, she was regularly tasked with finding places to bring clients: a quiet brasserie for lunch, a chic bar for drinks after work, a tony steakhouse for dinner. It got her thinking.
"I have always been the unofficial party planner in my social group," Ladt says. "So finding the underground secret bar with the jalapeño cocktail or the veggie burger that (almost) tastes like the real thing became a hobby of mine. After planning several group events over the course of a busy month, I had this epiphany: the process was broken."
In 2015, Ladt left her stable job at Jetsetter for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. "You have to follow your gut," she says. "When you see an opportunity that no one else can see, you have to go for it." Within months, she co-founded Bashed with Brandon Feldman, a former Jetsetter colleague.
Today Bashed is the only place online where you can customize and instantly reserve venues in New York City for private dinners and group events. "It takes the guesswork and hassle out of the booking process," Ladt says. "Bashed puts all of the information you need right up front — menus, photos, pricing, directions — so you can search, discover, and reserve the perfect spot in a matter of minutes." Companies like Hearst, JP Morgan, and Forbes are all early adopters. So are well-known venues like Craft, The Meatball Shop, and Landmarc. Because Bashed works on commission, the site is free for consumers.
Ladt didn't set out to become the face of her company, but over the last two years, that's exactly what she has become. "People want to see and know the person behind the company," she says. "The market almost demands that you tell your story."
"A southerner at heart, but I love NY"
Ladt's story begins in the small town of Paducah, Kentucky, the fourth of five children. Her father, a serial entrepreneur, passed away unexpectedly when she was four years old, leaving her mother to run the family business. "I remember realizing at an early age that without my father's business we would have been in a very tough spot. That certainly stuck with me through the years and inspired me to start my own company."
At Pomfret, Ladt's leadership qualities quickly blossomed. She was captain of the soccer and tennis teams, class president, and founder of the Women's Action Coalition. "Pomfret has without a doubt impacted and influenced who I am today," she says. "I was shy when I first arrived, but the supportive and encouraging environment created a safe space for me to step outside of my shell."
When it came time for college, Ladt headed west to The University of Denver to study business and communications. "I wanted to live somewhere I had never lived before." She graduated from college having no idea what to do next, and after a brief stint working in Sun Valley, Idaho, Ladt arrived in New York City.
As a current member of Pomfret's Alumni Association Executive Council (AAEC), Ladt continues to maintain a close relationship with her classmates and her school. "I feel forever indebted to Pomfret for all that it did for me, and I want to and will continue to give back in any way I can. The only downside is that I get extremely jealous of the current students because Pomfret keeps getting better and better!"
But can I can bring my dog?
Bashed gets compared to Open Table with some regularity, but there are a couple key differences. For starters, Bashed is built exclusively for groups. "We handle all the inventory Open Table does not," Ladt says. Second, Ladt and her team hand-pick every venue listed on the site. "There are a myriad of venues to choose from in this city, but the place where you'll take your clients to lunch is likely different from the venue you'd choose to celebrate your birthday party," she says.
After plugging in the date, time, dollar amount, and group size, Bashed allows you to refine your search — by neighborhood, by seating type, by cuisine, by occasion, by décor — all the way down to the smallest detail. Case in point: Let's say you're in the mood for a boys' night out at a Belgian-style restaurant in Midtown Manhattan with long tables, a casual dress code, and a server who doesn't mind if you bring your dog. No problem. Bashed suggests a restaurant called BXL Zoute. It even gives you the option to reserve the room, pay the bill, and leave the tip, all before you ever step foot inside the venue. "At the end of the meal, you just get up and leave," Ladt say. "It's a very cool way to end it."
Peyton's Top 6 NYC Venues
- White Street for entertaining clients
- Harding's for getting together with friends
- DBGB for celebrity chef food with a downtown vibe
- The James Hotel for their dynamic use of space
- Public for something elegant
- Shelter for when I want to feel like I'm après-skiing out west