When I first read about image tagging website TheFancy.com, I noted that 60% of their users are male. Compare this to Pinterest where 75% (or much higher, by some accounts) are women. These statistics called out to me as a challenge.

How could TheFancy become more attractive to women?

Why IS it more popular with men?

How does their E-commerce twist work?

Could the ability to buy the products you have “pinned” (“fancied”) be a promising design feature?

Even though I don’t have the ability to buy regularly from local vendors, could I use my “pinning” hobby to help promote British Columbian businesses?

These days I am very cautious about joining new social media sites.  So many prove to be disappointing and are a waste of effort.   In this case I dived in and have neglected my Pinterest account since then. Or I could say that I have refined my ideas about what I want to put on Pinterest.

Here is what I have noticed so far:

ENGAGEMENT

If you like to open a social media site and see coloured numbers and notifications of interaction, TheFancy is the site for you. The users that are on this site are busy and they’re keen to connect. In two weeks I had one new connection find me on Pinterest. On TheFancy hundreds connected to my profile. In the short time that I’ve been using the site, over 1,000 people have connected to my account! I would love to build momentum that fast on Facebook or Twitter.

THE LOOK

The design of the website is clean and elegant. The image shown above is not from their main page or from Ashton Kutcher’s main profile page. Contrary to one criticism I read, the site does not have a Tumblr feel. The latter, incidentally, cannot make an exclusive claim regarding websites with white backgrounds. There is a good balance between negative and positive space and the feel is quite different from the designs you find at other sites like Pinterest.

THE USERS

There are currently over 300,000 users on this website who, collectively, tag a million images every week. Soon after I joined, the first person who connected with my page was a Milanese man in in his early 40s who has exquisite taste. How can you go wrong with that kind of start?

The largest user group includes people in their mid 20s to early 30s; however, this is a site that could appeal to other demographics. The images, products and locations that users feature are simply gorgeous. If you like to sigh looking at sumptuous photography in the best magazines, TheFancy will meet your needs. There are many ways that the design of this site could be improved.  I will write more about the growth areas in another post.

One area needing work is related to member profiles. It can be hard to know where all the users are based, but you get hints from their names and other details. They are an international crowd who have fabulous taste! Every day you will discover something new without having to buy a pricey Wallpaper magazine.

THE SHIFT

This isn’t, for the most part, a website where you tag a photo of cupcakes, an infographic or a photographic collage about making a craft. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for these types of images. Lately I’ve experimented by adding in some of the over 100 quote images I’ve collected while cruising the Internet. Even if they resonate with a few people, it is worth adding them in. What you will find on this site are tempting images of vacation hot spots, sleek architecture and industrial design, and clothing you wish you could own after you throw out everything in your closet.  If none of these topics interest you, do take a look because there are many other types of images.

THE GOAL

The founders of this website have been cataloging objects – thousands of them. To quote a recent piece in the New York Times, it is a “new scrapbooking and shopping site, where users can share photographs of covetable objects and experiences — a velvet Burberry trench coat, sparkly gold nail polish, a room at the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong — and, it is hoped, buy them.” The founders at TheFancy aren’t trying to create another Pinterest.  They’ve got their sights set on Amazon’s business.

THE TONE

Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or TheFancy, when it comes to tone, I am all about being positive and upbeat when using Social Media.  I use a more critical eye on a Twitter account focussed on educational policy research and politics, but otherwise I’m not interested in engaging with people who have unnecessarily sharp, nasty and/or negative attitudes.  For the most part, the users on TheFancy are positive and happy in their outlook.  There are some design improvements that could help users – especially female users – customize their experience so that they could connect with like-minded, positive individuals.  This is a growth area for this site.

THE FOUNDER

Soon after I joined the site, I had to write Customer Service.  Within less than 12 hours, the founder, Joe Einhorn, sent me a reply.  I don’t care if there are two people in their New York City headquarters or 200.  When it comes to caring about your users and customer service THAT is the type of approach that separates the cream from the coffee.

SUCCESS!

My main goal starting my TheFancy account was to promote British Columbian products and services.  I decided that if I am going to spend time “pinning” and tagging, I might as well put my efforts to some use.  I do not make any money through this account, but it is my way to support small businesses in this province.  I love the work of local artisans, artists and entrepreneurs and have discovered many businesses I did not know existed in the Pacific Northwest.  Today two of my “finds” on TheFancy were featured on the home page.  In less than 12 hours 1,600 people have tagged these images – over 700 focussed on a local Vancouver furniture designer’s work.

IT’S IRONIC

It’s ironic that this feature would happen today. I was starting to wonder why I couldn’t create any traction when talking about this website.  There didn’t appear to be any interest amongst the women I know online or my friends. The few times that I have mentioned the site to other women – especially women who publish their own sites – I haven’t encountered keen interest.  Increasing the appeal to women, who drive many areas of the Internet, is a growth area for The Fancy.

For now I’m happy knowing that so many people are seeing the work of a Vancouverite in the comfort of their homes around the world.

I feel obliged, before closing, to mention that Ashton Kutcher is one of the investors backing this company and keeps a profile on the site. OK – you don’t fancy following what Ashton is up to. Just thought I’d mention it.

We’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy! You can comment about this posting using the comment function below or visit us at our Facebook page.

Daily Dish Archives
: Pamela Chan/Publisher, BCfamily.ca

RELATED

TheFancy.com: A Virtual Closet Website

Joe Einhorn speaks with Hypebeast

There are many more articles about this website on the Internet and it is hard to pick the best ones.  Here is a search result that includes the founder’s name.  This will give you more interview pieces. Happy searching!

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