There are a lot of things that a person has to grapple with in life. Big, universal questions about self, love and identity. And, probably most poignant of all struggles: the impulse to throw away a stupid bobblehead that was a present from Snoop Dogg.
With the opening of the brick and mortar Birchbox store earlier this summer, the general consensus has been either excitement or confusion around the subscription box hype. For those not in the know, Birchbox is a subscription box makeup service: a box full of the hottest makeup samples are sent to subscribers via mail. Like a magazine, but with stuff.
If your bank account isn’t completely depleted from overdoing at the Gap Factory store on Black Friday, there’s always Cyber Monday. More than 131 million people are expected to spend money they don’t have (us, included) on unnecessary crap this year. But, hey, that portable solar kit isn’t going to buy itself.
So, to enable your bank busting ways, we’ve assembled a list of New York-based companies who’ve slashed their prices to ease your holiday shopping list a bit.
Shopping Site Goes Shopping Back in 2011, Khoi Vinh, the former design director for The New York Times’s website, attempted to launch an iPad collage maker called Mixel that even Taylor Swift would love. The interface was kind of clunky, and the company soon pivoted to a smoother iPhone product, which became fairly successful. And now Mixel has been acquired by the custom product giant Etsy.
No, you won’t be creating any collages of your twee collectables any time soon. According to AllThingsD, The Mixel team is being acquired for its stellar mobile talents. Mr. Vinh and his cofounder Scott Ostler, along with employees Akiva Leffert and Roy Stanfield, will all make the move to Etsy’s Brooklyn offices. Mixel will be shutting down the social side of its app, but will leave up its collage-making tool. In an email to Betabeat, Etsy CTO Kellan Elliot-McCrea explains, “We expect our mobile traffic to surpass desktop traffic by the end of 2014.”
Game Over? There seems to be a mass exodus at Zynga. It was reported yesterday that Wilson Kriegel, the former chief revenue officer of Omgpop, has now left the company. In the last 30 days, the company has lost its COO, CCO, and two vice presidents. Maybe it’s time for them to “draw something” different, like a new management plan.
A New Hope? In much better Zynga news, the company has partnered with Food Network’s Robert Irvine to help beef up its Chefville game. Mr. Irvine has introduced a series of challenges to help improve the game where you run your own restaurant. “I couldn’t be more honored to have an avatar of myself and Restaurant: Impossible be a part of ChefVille,” Robert Irvine said in a press release. “As we lend insight to players on what it takes to create their dream restaurant while earning my approval.”
Oh You Fancy Huh?
Local digital scrapbooking startup Fancy may not be as well known as Pinterest. But on one corner of the Lower East Side, the New York site endorsed by Kanye West is dominating its behemoth competitor. This photo popped up on Instagram featuring the founder of Instagram itself, Kevin Systrom, along with Thrive Capital’s Josh Kushner*, who is invested in both companies, and magician David Blaine, because of course. The trio is leaning against some graffiti commissioned by The Fancy and drawn by Tats Cru. In a nod to the graffiti culture’s tradition of spraypainting over a rival’s tag, the wall features Pinterest’s red logo covered by “FANCY” in bloated letters. The full image is below.
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.