Lake Nona local Jolene Taracatac is the founder and CEO of a new fashion app, Style Squad. This app allows users to take a photo of their outfit on their smartphone, upload it into the app, and get instant feedback from other users about the outfit and how they would rate it. Currently, the app is available only on iPhone IOS, but there are plans for Style Squad to launch on Android later in the year.
Taracatac is no stranger to the fashion industry, having more than five years of experience in the management of clothing stores as well as through her studies at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. With help from her developer, Scott Hanlon, who she found at a digital conference, the maturation of an idea to a tangible iPhone application began.
“There was actually quite a period of time between the conception of the idea and development. When I came up with the idea, I had the fashion and business expertise but no tech background. I was living in LA at the time, and shortly after I came up with the idea, I totalled my car and was struggling financially,” said Taracatac in an email interview. “I ended up moving back with my dad and had a lot of free time, so I decided to take some online coding classes. I knew it would be a long time before I would be able to code the app I had in mind, so I started researching other options. I researched different development firms, but they were very costly. That’s when I started to really put myself out there in the business and tech communities of Orlando.”
Once the app hit the ground running, Taracatac found herself struggling to work through the kinks that arise when building a startup from the ground up and working through some of the more technical aspects of establishing an IOS application. “To get where I am, I’ve had to overcome a lot of fears and obstacles. Being an entrepreneur requires you to stretch yourself and to constantly put yourself out there. It is especially a struggle as a natural introvert. But if I can do it – anyone else can, too!” said Taracatac.
As Style Squad develops, users can look forward to updates that include having an affordable access to a larger network of wardrobe stylists and, of course, the launch of the app on Android products in the near future. “For me, fashion is a form of art and self expression. I love how clothes have the ability to tell stories about people,” said Taracatac. “I want to live in a world where people own who they are in everything they do, and [they] love themselves for who they are. I think fashion and style is one way people can do this.”