Have you ever had a fantasy about being like Ashton Kutcher? Ours involve the emo-induced time travel powers from “The Butterfly Effect,” but some version of “untold startup riches” or “dating Mila Kunis” are also acceptable.
New York City-based startup The Fancy* is trying a different approach. In September, the commerce-minded photo-sharing network–which lets users post pics of products and in theory purchase the items directly from the site–went the Birchbox route with a monthly subscription service. The idea being luring in users with small-scale affordable versions of the pricey, aspirational goods like garcinia cambogia that The Fancy tends to attract.
But recently, the Pinterest competitor announced that any user can now curate their own monthly subscription box. The company will handle the transaction and take care of packing and shipping and you get to keep half the profits from sales. It’s kicking off this off with an A+ box of “the dopest stuff on the Fancy” from its investor, Ashton Kutcher. For $45 a month, buyers will get $90 worth of Beardo hats, headphones, and stickers, by the looks of it.
Wired explains how to follow in Mr. Kutcher’s monetizing footsteps:
“You can sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and once they set you up, you get to pick from a list of popular products on The Fancy, or add anything else you like from the internet, so long as isn’t deemed inappropriate by the startup’s staff (think offensive t-shirts, weapons, or drugs). The Fancy says it is looking for all kinds of people to make boxes, says a company spokesperson. That might seem like a risky business decision, but the company won’t procure any of the products for a box until one sells.”
Attaching bold-face names to subscription services is de rigueur. Just ask Kim Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle/every other startup in L.A. But the idea of empowering users to make (some) money and share links to the Fancy is the kind of hustle one expects when Kanye West is advising you on “social, mobile, swag.” Funny, though, this sounds like exactly the kind of business model that would do really well on Pinterest.