When it comes time to discuss tech and social media innovation and news on IFB, I am more often than not left drawing a bit of a blank. It can feel like we've said all there is to say about our most beloved social networks, and that the latest upgrades and fancy new gadgets are either out of our price range or totally irrelevant to blogging. Furthermore, when something new does come around, many of us just sit back and watch to see if it actually takes hold – then merrily jump on the bandwagon when it looks popular enough.
From the looks of it, The Fancy is the next stage of development in the image sharing evolution. First came Tumblr, encouraging users to clip and post images from around the Internet, that are viewed and able to be shared through a scrolling dashboard. It developed into an online culture of it's own, and for a while traditional fashion bloggers were content to have Tumblr as their secondary site to post and browse inspiration. Next came Pinterest – which streamlined the clipping and posting process with its navigation bar tool and the ‘Pin It' button. Bloggers embraced Pinterest for the fun of it – then leveraged it into a business opportunity once it became easy to upload images with affiliate links.
So what sets The Fancy apart? You can actually purchase items you clip from anywhere on the web (everything on the site is user-generated). Retailers, artists, designers and vendors can also run exclusive deals and sales through the social commerce site.
Where Pinterest has not been able to monetize it's massive community of users and tens of millions of pins – The Fancy lets users purchase “Fancy'd” items directly from the site – and The Fancy can take a percentage of that sale (according to Forbes).
We're keeping our eye on The Fancy for a few reasons:
The site is not currently a network that you can monetize, but according to the founder of The Fancy, Joesph Einhorn, that's soon going to change.
“We are going to launch a new tool for bloggers to very simply embed items for sale onto their blogs, so next time you are reading your favorite blog and see something you like you will be able to buy it right there through our system.”
Also, it was announced in November that their biggest investor (to the tune of $10 million) is PPR, “the $16 billion French multi-national run by Francois Henri-Pinault, which owns the globe’s biggest fashion brands, including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.” (via BetaBeat)
We asked Einhorn what it means to have a such a prominent fashion company as their top investor. “It's just a great opportunity to learn from the best. Mr. Pinault knows more about the fashion business than anyone in the world so for him to join our board and give us guidance really is a game changer. Remember, every tech startup dreams about making waves in the fashion world, and PPR is giving us a chance to make that dream a reality.”
Einhorn also noted that more than 50% of the content on The Fancy is fashion-related, which makes it not so surprising that they've brought Rich Tong, the former Fashion Director of Tumblr onto their team.
If you look at the brands and stores page of The Fancy, it's clear that the retail fashion community has embraced this new platform for it's social commerce opportunities – but will we – the consumers, the bloggers, the browsers and the share-ers – follow suit? In an interview with Complex magazine, Einhorn said that their company believes that searching is an old way of doing commerce, and “discovery in the stream” is the new way.
Do you think social commerce in fashion is the way of the future? Would you make a purchase through a site like The Fancy, rather than directly from an e-commerce retailer?
[Image Credit: Carven swimsuit, on The Fancy]