Fancy.com, the social-network-turned-online marketplace, has opened its first permanent store, a 2,500-square-foot unit at 57 Bond Street in Manhattan’s SoHo.
While the web site offers about 250,000 products for sale, the store’s assortment is naturally vastly whittled down. However, in keeping with the breadth of Fancy.com, the store’s product drop ranges from a camouflage sofa to a $25,000 Abyss table to fashion from Comme des Garçons Play, See by Chloé, Mara Hoffman and Azalea.
The 1,266-square-foot basement is being converted to an art gallery, according to Fancy.com founder and chief executive officer Joseph Einhorn, who said the gallery is a natural since “we’re based in SoHo.” A room within the store in the center of the space will hold a DJ booth. Another unique aspect is that the store is completely cashless. The only way to make a purchase is through the Fancy.com app or an iPad in store. Fancy.com is one of the few web sites that accepts crypto-currency.
“This is our Colette in New York,” said Einhorn. It’s a lofty comparison. The well-known Parisian store, which was celebrated for its window displays, frequent events and collaborations, closed its doors in December.
“The thing I Iove about retail is multibrand. Kering, which has been a longtime investor in Fancy.com, does multibrand really well,” Einhorn said, adding that Kering ceo François-Henri Pinault is a member of Fancy.com’s board. “We believe that a multibrand selection is the core foundation of Fancy, especially with fashion. The idea is that there’s so many amazing people. Amazon is so amazingly successful with e-commerce, brands and merchandising that creatives need a brand-accretive solution. We’re trying to diversify. I hope we can [offer] a little fashion for emerging talent. We’re constantly trying to iterate on the merchandise. This is not a seasonal approach to retail.
“The broader merchandising is that this is really about unique objects,” Einhorn said, pointing to large wooden crates containing furniture such as a balloon table. “Fashion is one dimension. It’s all this eclectic stuff. We’re dedicated to giving exposure to known artists and emerging artists. What we’re hoping to do with Fancy started on digital apps and the web. We’re a full-time physical retailer. We’re here for good.”
Fancy.com has a history of launching pop-up shops, including its 2017 collaboration with basketball star Dwyane Wade and his wife, actress and producer Gabrielle Union. A 2016 pop-up shop in partnership with Kareem “Biggs” Burke celebrated the 20th anniversary of Jay Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” album.
Einhorn, who is a soccer fan, along with his three sons, partnered with AS Roma for an exclusive collection for Fancy. Sneakers, priced at $1,200, include Air Jordan 1, Air Max 1 and Air Force 1 styles, inspired by colors and patterns that resemble the AS Roma kit. The sneakers sport crafty details such as zippered tongues, custom crest logos and chain-link patterns and were designed and crafted by Rich Franklin, a Brooklyn-based sneaker designer.
“We’ll do a lot more tie-ups like AS Roma that allow men to drive the selection,” Einhorn said. “We’re ready to drive.”
Fancy also offers regular Adidas and Air Jordans, priced from $250 to $500, and Adidas Yeezy 350 V2 Cream White sneakers for $650 and Off-White Nike Air VaporMax starting at $895. There’s a selection of custom Nike Air Force 1 and Nike Air Max 1 footwear created in collaboration with ASAP Mob.
Einhorn, who is enamored of gadgets, excitedly pointed out the Nike Shoe Box, $299, which looks exactly like the carton for shoes, but is actually a safe that’s controlled by a smartphone. Another find is the Lyric Speaker, a Japanese invention that brings music to life by displaying lyrics in sync with the music. “An individual in Japan makes the speakers by hand. We helped him develop his own web site. We don’t know what the next iPhone will be,” said Einhorn, who’s on the lookout and trying to spot it.
“The fashion just reflects voracious consumption by people,” he continued. “Through fashion, we want to draw folks in. We’re hoping to use that as an opening to introduce all this other amazing stuff, gadgets, art and furniture.” Sko Habibi’s sweatshirts and stadium jackets fall somewhere in between art and fashion, embellished with hand-appliquéd designs.
A few years ago, Fancy.com switched from being a traditional e-commerce retailer to a marketplace. “As a marketplace, we no longer have to focus on buying and selling products ourselves,” Einhorn said. “Instead, when a sale takes place on Fancy, the product is drop-shipped by one of our vendors and we receive a percentage commission on the transaction. Our customer finds the product she wants, our vendors open up a new risk-free sales channel and Fancy profits without holding inventory.
“We started as a social network of really cool stuff,” Einhorn said. “When we put in the ‘buy’ button, the international buying took off. International has been underserved.”
Fancy.com is known for its “experience in e-commerce,” Einhorn said, noting that the marketplace has partnered with the likes of Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter to deliver cutting-edge e-commerce experiences to consumers and vendors. “Many companies try and fail to build marketplaces because their core competency is selling goods, not building technology.”
Einhorn declined to discuss sales volume for the Fancy store, saying only, “It’s got to be a viable business.”