Three Men and a Website
Want Rachel's outfit from Glee? New Houston-based shopping site tracks what TVcharacters wear
A sitcom about three Houston software engineers-turned-style-website-mavericks isn’t on the new fall television roster, but it would make for an excellent premise. Especially when the trio’s fashion knowledge could be condensed into the Cliffs Notes version of Fashion for Dummies.
Cue the laugh track.
Kevin Whitley, Nick Palacios and Kenneth Rutland have gone from the corporate environment of Chevron to an office environment where the logarithmic mean gives way to Louis Vuitton. Their site, FindThatStyle.com, tracks down head-to-toe items from television shows, celebrities and brands, so shoppers can buy the look themselves.
FindThatStyle.com, tracks down head-to-toe items from television shows, celebrities and brands, so shoppers can buy the look themselves.
Wonder where Kyle from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills got that cocktail dress? Find That Style knows.
Think the prep-school skirts and knee socks Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) wears on Glee would make your wardrobe sing? Search the site.
Because even though Find That Style is very much about fashion, all that glimmers is still about technology. The fashion site is built around database technology originally used in the oil-and-gas business and adapted by the founders to suit the needs of retail business.
Whitely says the idea came from a former girlfriend who fell in love with a shirt she saw on Dexter. It got his wheels spinning and after conducting market research, he decided to start building the site, which meant leaving the lucrative oil and gas field behind. He happily brought his “rock star” program designers with him.
“Everyone questioned my decision, but I didn’t have the passion for what I was doing,” Whitely says.
Their team of fashionaholics, "tech junkies and pixel pushers" (their words) has grown from six to more than 30 over the past year and the founders have refined the site, sharpening its focus.
“We connect the dots and become a portal for women who see what they like on television and then connect them to brands,” he says.
Shoppers can customize their pages based on favorite shows, brands, celebs and looks which can then be shared with other members of the Find That Style fashion-hungry community. Searches can be as broad as “jeans” or as detailed as “Swarovski crystal platform pump” and the site will bring up information about the item, where to buy it and what show it was on or who wore it.
It’s an unlikely product from three guys who admitted they didn’t know a lot about fashion before launching the site, but they don’t come across as dotcom dweebs at all. Affable and cute, they are toddling into the fashion realm and learning plenty about labels and the opposite sex. Just organizing the female-centric site was a revelation.
“And rompers? We had never heard of a romper before this,” Palacious says. “And hobos are a shape of purse. We had no idea.” He also admits an appreciation for the red-bottomed genius that is a Christian Louboutin.
“If you asked me how many kinds of shirts there are, I would say there’s long-sleeve, short-sleeve and a polo, because for guys that’s what we wear,” Whitely says. “But we talk to the women on staff and they tell us we have to consider things like color and there are a lot more than just three shirt styles.”
Other surprises since starting the site?
“Did you know there’s hot and then there’s haute?” Whitely says.
“And rompers? We had never heard of a romper before this,” Palacious says. “And hobos are a shape of purse. We had no idea.”
He also admits an appreciation for the red-bottomed genius that is a Christian Louboutin.
Rutland is the quietest member of the group, but comes across self-assured, despite the site’s subject matter. Dressed in dark jeans and a short-sleeve button-down shirt with shoulder epaulets, he says his personal sense of style veers toward “metro.”
While the site caters to women, a greater focus on men’s apparel and accessories will soon be available. The trio has other plans for the site as well.
“We want to expand to other areas, so if you are watching a show and see a couch or piece of art you like, you can find it on the site,” Palacious says.
For now, they are in the business of reaching out to new brands and are still surprised by the shows and products that resonate with viewers.
“One of our most popular shows isParks and Recreation. People really wanted the sunglasses worn by Adam Scott,” Whitely says. “This is a Pandora’s box of brand, design and fashion.”