A Culver City, Calif., software company hopes to help raise the profile of costume designers among consumers with its new site that launched today.
Wymsee Inc.’s site, which shares the same name as the company, provides articles about on-screen outfits, video content, profiles of costume designers and their work and also helps customers shop certain looks worn by their favorite TV or film characters.
It’s a way, Wymsee hopes, to help costume designers showcase their work to a broader audience of TV and film fans right alongside fans of fashion.
“It’s really anybody who is interested in TV and film,” said Wymsee cofounder and chief executive officer Alex LoVerde, of whom the company is trying to reach. “What’s happening in the age of social media, there’s a pulling back of the curtain of what happens behind the scenes and who the creative artists are.”
The site’s current stable of designers numbers 25, the majority of whom are represented by Matchbook Company, which helps costume designers on branding and collaboration deals. However, LoVerde said that network of costume designers will broaden as the platform grows.
One of those designers includes Janie Bryant, whose work can currently be seen on “Hot and Bothered,” but her list of credits also includes AMC’s “Mad Men” and the HBO series “Deadwood.”
“I think that costume designers in the past have not gotten enough recognition for all the work that we do,” Bryant said. “I felt like [Wymsee] was such an important place for people to really understand what our job is.”
But then it also becomes an exercise in brand building for the designers.
“Another really interesting aspect of the Web site and another key reason I wanted to be involved is because it is a place not only for people to see my work as a costume designer but also to be able to see the other branding endeavors that I’ve been involved with and may be doing in the future,” Bryant said.
The commerce component of the site will be embedded throughout its editorial content in the way of featured designer products that may have made their way onto a scene or top picks direct from a costume designer. Wymsee doesn’t hold any inventory and instead directs consumers to affiliates’ sites—of which there are more than 100 currently—to do the actual shopping. These sites include ShopStyle, Rakuten, Nordstrom, Target and Shopbop.
The company is in active discussions with studios about making set closets shoppable and hopes to make that feature available within the next few months, according to LoVerde.
Wymsee, which has a staff of about 24 companywide, originally started in Boston, where it still has an office and most of its software engineering team. The company’s raised $5.4 million to date with its most recent venture round, totaling $2.94 million, closed in late September.
LoVerde, along with chief marketing officer Jeff Impey and chief technology officer Brett Beaulieu-Jones, started the company three years ago to build a software tool, called Sync OnSet, that could be used by costume designers and the rest of their department to manage inventory. The software serves as a database for every garment on set and also organizes each piece by character and scene. It’s been used in more than 1,500 productions globally, according to LoVerde, replacing tasks that had previously been done by paper.
“We help studios and networks organize character closets during production,” LoVerde said, “and our vision is to open that up on Wymsee.com.”