RewardStyle ‘Hackathon’: Where Style Meets Technology

rS hackathon posterPaige Corwin


Listen up, fashionistas: Have a great idea for a fashion media-related app, but don’t have the technological know-how to create it yourself? Check out the latest from Dallas-based rewardStyle — a ”hackathon” the weekend of April 5-7 will pair stylish entrepreneurs with tech gurus to create new apps for the fashion industry.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, most of you probably know or have heard of SMU alum Amber Venz and her innovative fashion-monetization company rewardStyle. The rewardStyle hackathon will continue all weekend until Sunday when the winner is announced.

Now, I know I’m not the most tech-savvy person, but this idea really caught my eye. So what exactly is the rewardStyle hackathon? To find out, I spoke with another SMU alum — Meg Jones, a rewardStyle account strategist.

“It [the hackathon] is an opportunity for developers, designers and entrepreneurs to spend the weekend teaming up to build amazing apps for the fashion industry,” Jones says. “The challenge is to take a fresh idea and build out a prototype in one weekend. The team who executes their idea the best will take home the grand prize.”

FYI, that would be $3,000 in cash.

Jason LeBlanc, rewardStyle lead designer, says the team collaborated late last fall and the concept of the hackathon was born.  “We released our API [application programming interface] in late 2012 for other companies to integrate with our platform. At this hackathon we wanted to release our API to local talent for them to do the same.

Or, in non-technical language, as Dallas continues to progress as a fashion-forward city, rewardStyle will stay true to their roots and continue to foster local talent. Now that you know exactly what the hackathon is, let’s get to the juicy stuff:

In addition to the cash prize, the winning team will have the chance to present their app at the rewardStyle conference on April 19, an event that will be attended by some of the world’s top fashion bloggers.

I spoke with one of the lead panel judges, Forrest Jordan, who described the prospects this will provide for the winning team.

“This opportunity will provide the winners the chance to pitch their newly built application to an audience capable of turning their weekend hack into a profitable venture,” Jorday says. “This is their target audience so it makes this time extremely valuable.”

So what will the judges be looking for? Jordan described some of the qualities judges would be looking for in the apps. “The value created by the application is most important. The app should provide publishers a more convenient way of accomplishing some task or provide them with the ability to do something that previously was not possible with existing tools. There are numerous ways to accomplish both goals.”

In the fashion and technology industry, where time and convenience is of the essence, it’s crucial to provide publishers with the most innovative and efficient tools to manage their business.

rewardStyle, being the ideal combination of fashion and technology is the perfect business platform for the hackathon. They have the experience, the tools and of course, the fashion. We cannot wait to see what the hackathon weekend will produce!

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