IQ news: Online Style Directory Debuts

Web directory and search site was unveiled yesterday during a launch party at New York’s Four Seasons hotel. The Los Angeles-based company hopes to satisfy the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for all things fashionable and stylish by offering an editorially selected directory of links to upscale and hard-to-find Web sites. The site also will feature original content, such as fashion/celebrity profiles, and 24-hour customer service.
According to the site’s co-founders Terron Schaefer and Andrew Leary, existing search and directory sites like Yahoo! have inadequately addressed the style-conscious market or often produced too many irrelevant links. “We were frustrated with how difficult it was to find anything on the Web and appalled by the Internet’s complete lack of style,” said Schaefer, who has 25 years of marketing experience, having consulted with retailers like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Harrods.
Leary, who previously worked as a defense attorney in Boston and most recently as a talent agent at ICM, said the vastness of the Web was no reason to keep it and its users from finding style online.
The site has been under development for more than a year, but Schaefer said that while the site is now officially launched, additional features and functions–including an e-shop called, which is slated to launch in Q2–will continue to roll out as the directory expands.
The current iteration of focuses on four areas of interest: fashion, interiors, travel and leisure and indulgences. The prototype for was designed by world-renowned designer and artist Massimo Vignelli, who has designed for American Airlines, IBM and various museums. will be ad supported, but Leary said, “There will be no banner ads on the site.” Instead, ads will mimic the proportions of print ads. “We thought long and hard about advertising and how it’s treated online,” said Leary. “We’ve created ad ratios similar to those offline so that advertisers do not have to recreate their advertising for the Web.”
All ads receive editorial adjacencies, much like print fashion magazines. At-launch advertisers range from Hewlett-Packard to high-end furniture maker Palazzetti.
While high style is emphasized on the site, Schaefer claimed that the directory is not only about expensive products and services. “We are not focused only on the big names but also on lesser-known names,” said Schaefer. “It’s not about luxury; it’s about function, design and style.”