Forget following friends (Facebook), experts (Quora) or celebrities (Twitter), the Fancy is all about following trendsetters in the world of fashion and style. A hub for trendsetting style curators, The Fancy creates and catches personal style-streams that its 2m members can follow.
Gucci brand owner and JV partner of luxury e-commerce site Yoox, PPR has already invested $10M in the venture. With early round funding, that brings the total to $44M.
Will it work? The Fancy is experimenting with a couple of interesting PR services for luxury brands – product seeding and product placement offers – a subscription commerce product (6000 subscribers at $30/month) designed to get stylish samples into the hands and on the lips of people that get copied and listened to, and an affiliate program for fashion bloggers talking about products on sale via The Fancy.
Currently, the Fancy is bringing weekly sales $200K (annualised $10M) in e-commerce revenue.
But given that old-style Variety magazine has just been sold for $25M, we think the $26M invested in the Fancy makes good commercial sense, if The Fancy decides to lead the charge in reinventing the style magazine. Style magazines are the staple for luxury marketing – you buy ad space and you get editorial coverage, and you keep contributors sweet with freebie samples. It’s a proven model, but one that needs to be reinvented for the tablet generation. The Fancy is well placed to lead the charge.
In our view, what The Fancy needs is dedicated readership (yep, it should acquire ASW, the struggling upscale social network), and for that it needs compelling editorial content – more compelling than Pinterest-esque streams of product picks.
More Monocle and less Pinterest is the profitable future of The Fancy.