The last time we checked in with social commerce startup Fancy was back in February, around the time Kanye West tweeted out his approval for “My friend Joseph’s site.” The Joseph in question is ThingD founder Joe Einhorn, the wunderkind entrepreneur trying to create “the Facebook of stuff” as Ben Popper wrote in a profile of Mr. Einhorn in The Observer in 2010. (Somewhere along the way, The Fancy opted to drop the “The.”)
Like Pinterest, Fancy is focused on discovering and collecting images of things. Unlike Pinterest, which relies on affiliate marketing links, anything on Fancy can be bought. You “fancy” a thing and Fancy lets brands and retailers sign up to sell that item on the site. That photo of the Eiffel Tower, for example, comes attached to a deal for hotel nights in Paris.
This novel approach seems to be gaining traction. In the past couple months, GigaOm reports that Fancy has doubled its users to 500,000. It has also enabled 500,000 offers, as well, all the way up to a $10,000 watch. Yesterday, Fancy launched on Android mobile devices. True to its name, Fancy has already inked deals to help power social commerce on the brand sites for Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent.
(Fancy is likewise chichi in its investor roster: parent company ThingD has raised $18 million from Marc Andreessen, Allen & Co and Gucci-owner PPR. And Jack Dorsey sits on the company’s board as does PPR chairman Francois-Henri Pinault, otherwise known as Salma Hayek’s baby daddy.)
The only potential downside of the popularity of Fancy’s “let brands come to you” approach was buried in the end of GigaOm’s post: “[Fancy is] demonstrating real progress with its model and in the process showing Pinterest how to make money through social discovery.” Hmm, isn’t that something Mr. Einhorn would rather Pinterest not learn?