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Fancy That


“It’s not about being a site fueled with expensive stuff,” Joseph Einhorn says of his Web site,, which he once described to a San Francisco Chronicle writer as a digital “catalog of everything in the world.” To be clear, The Fancy has plenty of luxe offerings in its online marketplace, from hybrid Saint-Tropez boats to Hermès scarves to Bonsai Couture, but the site’s extensive database of things is largely fueled by a social experience, created by its 250,000 registered users.

Let François-Henri Pinault, one of the site’s board members and investors (along with the likes of Twitter creator Jack Dorsey and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes), explain: “[It] is the best place to discover and curate beautiful objects and places from around the Web. It is a stunning combination of social networking and a visual magazine,” he tells

Today marks the next big step for The Fancy (launched in early 2011), in part due to the support from PPR. “We are taking a deep dive into commerce; we want to turn commerce on its head,” Einhorn says. How it works: Any brand or merchant can bid to fill the demand for the items listed on the site, offering to sell as few as one of the items, or hundreds. The consumer will then get notified when a merchant or brand wants to sell them the items they ‘Fancy.’ With PPR’s involvement, The Fancy has brought top-tier luxury brands like Yves Saint Laurent into the mix, with plenty more on the way. “We believe this is the next big wave in online commerce,” Pinault says. (For good reason: According to the site, in the last week alone users have Fancy’d more than 1 million times.) How is it different from a top luxury-goods e-tailer like Net-a-Porter? “We want the Net-a-Porter convenience—you can buy all your favorite brands from one site in one place—but we want the buyers to be more like your friends,” Einhorn says. For emerging designers and artists, there is good news here, too: “They can get a full-service merchant account, where they can list things for sale and monitor their orders, print shipping labels, do taxes, etc.,” he says. “It’s a top-of the-line merchant system.”

Photos: Courtesy of