Greg Spillane is the CEO at Fancy, a curated online retailer for customers looking to discover the coolest and most innovative fashion, accessories, art and gadgets from emerging brands and artists across the globe from their 200,000 + inventory.
Greg has always had a career in technology and started out as an engineer. He founded an agency in 2002 doing custom development as he tried to move away from sitting at a computer for long hours doing production work.
The growth of Greg’s digital agency paralleled with stores beginning to start building their online presence. Without resources like Shopify, going online was a huge undertaking.
Greg and his team built a lot of technology that was new at the time like shopping carts and other online store essentials.
Fancy exists in a very interesting niche and continues to evolve as a company. Founded in 2010, they now have over 12 million people from 35 countries who have signed up to be part of their community.
Fancy started out as an inspirational browsing experience that was more like Pinterest. It wasn’t until their customers began asking where they could buy the products that Fancy evolved into the curated marketplace it is today.
Fancy is host to over 800 brands who are heavily vetted. For Greg, Fancy is a manifestation of the Golden Age for D2C brands. Improvement in logistics and changing consumer habits mean that people have greater access to direct brands and want to support them more than ever before.
Saturation on Google and Facebook mean that marketplaces like Fancy are becoming more and more relevant.
A New Kind of Marketplace
Fancy is a marketplace, but Greg says they have been really serious about vetting merchants so that the Fancy shopping experience can be really fun but also stress free.
They act more like a retailer, ensuring that the customer experience is consistent and positive which is crucially important for the success of the company.
Fancy is owned by an investor group and Greg was brought in when Fancy had started going down a path that wasn’t right for the brand. When he came onboard, Greg stressed the importance of getting everyone lined up with the company’s goals and guiding principles.
He wanted to make sure everyone was going in the same direction so that making decisions could be unified and the team could turn the company around.
Fancy works with a big range of brands—from small studios to massive conglomerates, but Greg says that discovery still drives the Fancy experience.
Even when they do partner with better known brands, Greg says they usually focus on an off beat curation. The company is meant to be a major marketplace for some of these smaller brands to tap into as they grow.
They use a revenue split model and integrate all major eCommerce platforms, making it incredibly easy to sell on Fancy.
Brick and Mortar
For years, Fancy had a very cool and very expensive retail location in Soho and also did a lot of pop-ups. When Greg joined Fancy, he started to pull the company away from the brick and mortar.
Now Greg focuses more on collaboration with brands that often lead to joint retail experiences. Greg says that his team builds really strong relationships with brands during the onboarding process during which time they often find people they really click and earmark for future collaborations.
He also points out that they have a sort of influencer marketing baked directly into the brand since a lot of celebrities actively use the platform with their public profile.
Fancy is also very much a product of its environment—a hip, New York company that sells unique, well made products doesn’t have to work too hard to get people talking about their products.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Email—Fancy has a 1 million person email list and connects with that list on a nearly daily basis.
Tool Top Tip
- Evernote—Greg uses Evernote for Everything. It’s all cloud base and syncs to everything.
Growth Top Tip
- Have an awesome product and create a great experience. Then—get onto the Fancy platform!
- Running a physical boutique store alongside Squarespace eCommerce and the Trouva marketplace
- Temples and Markets’ Judith Treanor on getting to $10k per month in year 1 w/ email and social enterprise focus
- How the world’s largest art gallery do it – Rebecca Wilson from Saatchi Art
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