NEW YORK — Nearly two years after being pushed out at Self magazine as editor in chief, Lucy Danziger really wants people to get the hint — that is, her new Web site Hintd.
Halfway through what she expects will be about $1 million in seed financing, Danziger is running the start-up from Wework in Midtown with the help of three staffers. Having reeled in 6.5 million uniques each month to the Self site, Danziger aims to take the guesswork out of gift-giving with Hintd. The site is also meant to chip away at the 68 percent of online shopping carts that are abandoned, according to The Baymard Institute.
“We want to put the woman at the middle of the conversation so that she is the one editing, curating and in control,” Danziger said. “It’s curated content meets user-generated content, which is really what I learned at Self. We would have a dialogue with women — here’s what the editors are giving you and we want to know what you want.”
After going live in the summer primarily for user-testing and tweaks, the site essentially acts as a registry of gift ideas across 16 categories and links users to individual sites for purchases. Hintd users can select a maximum of 22 suggestions for their individual lists. Along with areas like Fashion, Beauty, Gear and Tech, there are more unexpected ones like Pets, Charity, Entertainment and Fitness (as in buy-me-a-class at Flywheel, SoulCycle and other boutique gyms). Another category, Priceless, is along the lines of help-me-move-to-my-new-apartment or come-cheer-me-on-at-my-marathon.
There are 20,000 products on the site, with users continually adding their own finds or pulling from others’ lists. Shooting for a sense of discovery, Danziger said, “Honestly, when women get marketed to too much, we just turn off the messaging and become annoyed by it or sort of fatigued by it.”
With her brother Peter Schulte, founder of the New York-based CM Equity Partners, helping with the investor search, Danziger said she is not creating something in order to flip it. “We need a two-year runway to look for profitability. Any start-up has a growth curve, so our growth curve is steep. But we’re a very efficient business model. We’re not doing transactions, unlike some sites that have to hold inventory. We’re really a publishing platform, and we work with sponsors, affiliate sales and data sales,” she said.
Geared for the 24- to 34-year-old age bracket, Hintd is made up of 60 percent women and 40 percent men. To help spread the word, Hintd has brand ambassadors at schools like Cornell, Harvard, the University of Virginia, the University of Southern California and Southern Methodist University. The latter was chosen since alumna started Reward Style. More established ones include Tory Burch, Bobbi Brown and India Hicks with “Tory’s Sporty Set,” including a selection from the designer’s new Sport collection and The Shambala Estate in Bali. For foodies, actress and Foodstirs’ founder Sarah Michelle Geller has a Baking Bets and The Food Network’s Katie Lee has a Delicious Life one. Cosmopolitan’s resident astrologer Aurora Tower has zodiac sign-inspired ideas. Danziger said, “To me, cash is crass but giving somebody what they really want, shows that you are paying attention and listening to what they’re hinting.”
Aside from “the camaraderie and collegiality of the creative process and being part of a large team,” she said she isn’t missing the magazine life. “I love magazines and I loved working at magazines, but for this new chapter, I really just want to focus on digital innovation and launch. I’ve always been interested in incubating new ideas,” Danziger said.