In November of 2010 a little invitation-only photo blog, TheFancy.com, made its way to the heart of the elite. It was the first launched product of ThingD (which stands for Daemon – a computer program that runs as a background process) the parent company of Fancy.
Last year, The Fancy secured a 10 million round of funding from lead investor Pinault Printemps Redoute, the $16 billion French multi-national that owns some of the world’s biggest fashion brands, including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.
“Where Google is an index of websites, and Facebook is a database of people, we want to be the database of everything,” Joseph Einhorn, founder of The Fancy said, describing how the site differs from others.
The Fancy has more than 5,000 tastemakers and celebrities upload and tag images of their possessions, as well as the baubles they’d like to own when it started and since it has opened its doors to the public, they have more than a million registered users which continuously grows by 10,000 per day.
But it’s not just bags, shirts, shoes that you’d find on Fancy. You can also see cool destinations such as the Canopy Tower in Hong Kong, the Eilean Donan Castle in Scottland, the Abu Simbel Temples of Egypt or a photo of the Porto de Galinhas Beach in Brazil. Yeah, they offer hotel bookings by presenting you awesome photos tourist destination spots.
“What we’re saying is, let’s find out about the coolest stuff in the world through people who have amazing taste, and then we’ll ‘fancy’ it, and, if merchants and brands are seeing demand forming around a place or product that they want to sell, they’ll come to us,” Einhorn said in an interview with Forbes.
Others are comparing The Fancy to Pinterest, stating that it’s just the fancier version of Pinterest since most of the stuff found there are quite pricey. It doesn’t help though that it launched months after Pinterest. But what differentiates them is that it’s easier to get in Fancy than Pinterest. All you need is to login with either your Facebook or Twitter account or your e-mail add and you’re good to go. No need to wait for Pinterest to approve you.
Another thing is that buying stuff on Fancy is safer than through Pinterest, since you won’t be charged unless the seller approves your order. Here’s how their system works: When a user uploads a photo, say for example a Leica M9-P Hermes edition camera, to his Fancy feed, it’s linked to the Hermes site, and filed under the Gadgets category. When the photo goes live, people see it as well as a sales rep from Hermes, and if they see a high demand for their product, the item is more likely go on sale on Fancy but first, the sales rep from Hermes needs to create a listing for the product, tag it with key attributes and then submit it to Fancy. Fancy then checks to ensure the link between the photo and seller is legit and the product for sale is of high quality. Then when it goes on sale, the user’s alerted, and when he clicks on the item to buy it remains in escrow until the seller approves the order. Upon approval, that’s the only time when the person is charged and the item is released. Fancy takes 10% as commission.
Another edge that Fancy has over Pinterest is that its mobile app is available on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore as well as on Apple’s App Store, while Pinterest’s app is only for iOS devices. Mobile is going to be key for Pinterest moving forward, as well as integrated services geared specifically for businesses. Tie in analytics, and Fancy could very well hold a lead over Pinterest, should its user base ever catch up.