Shopping for jeans is not fun. It’s a task. I usually try on dozens of pairs before finding one that fits just right. But since the perfect pair of jeans is an essential staple in the American woman’s wardrobe, we must press on, past the muffin tops and the baggy butts and the suffocating skinny jeans.
Several years ago, Bellevue’s Rian Buckley became keenly aware of women’s’ struggles with jean shopping.
“I spent years traveling all over the world modeling,” Buckley said. “When I spent all these hours on set, I started realizing there’s this huge disconnect with what women were seeing in the photos, mainly of jeans, and what they’re actually getting online when they shop.”
“We are on set being clipped and pinned and photoshopped, and I was listening to the retailers complaining about returns, and I thought, hey, there had to be a better way,” she said. “What if we can really get women into the jeans that fit?”
When 27-year-old Buckley was 24, she founded Fitcode, a website that helps you find the perfect pair of jeans by asking you four simple questions about your body type. No measurements needed.
“So we eliminate all that noise when you go into Nordstrom, or you’re online, and you see hundreds of products and you’re like, ‘Where do I start?'” Buckley said. “‘How do I know looks good on me?’ That’s where Fitcode comes in. We say, hey, this is what you should look at, this is what you should buy.”
Fitcode focuses on the shape of your body, rather than your size, since we all know that size doesn’t always mean much. I mean, at least when it comes to jeans. I wear jeans in sizes ranging from two to eight, and they all fit.
“That’s a huge thing with Fitcode, too,” Buckley said. “We standardize across brands. Right now there’s no standard in women’s denim. So you can be one size in one brand and another size in another and Fitcode comes in and says, let’s focus on fit not size.”
When you find the perfect pair, and they have many brands available, you don’t actually buy them from Fitcode.
“We’re actually not an E-commerce website,” Buckley notes. “What we kind of think of ourselves as is the nutritional label of shopping. So you look through Fitcode, you find the jeans you like based on style and then we have little ‘shop now’ links and they kick you right back either to nordstrom.com or the brand website itself. We make money through our partners, they pay us subscription fees every month. We help their consumers get into jeans that fit and buy more, return less.”
So how do you become a 24-year-old CEO?
“I had a pretty non-traditional path to becoming a CEO,” Buckley said. “I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in political science and then I went modeling all over the world. From there I just started realizing there’s this huge problem with Ecommerce and I had a unique position to solve it and if I didn’t do it someone else was and I’d always regret not taking that first step.”
She found an angel investor to help her launch her startup, and doesn’t let the fact that she’s the second youngest person at the company get in her way.
“The company is going great,” she said. “We have over 30,000 active users now, we have a 10-person, full-time team, and office space.”
Buckley still models for brands like Lulu Lemon and Tommy Bahama.