“The Startup Stock Exchange model allows all of our clients at FancyBox, those who have bet on the project, to become our partners,” explained Marc Sorli in an interview this week with PulsoSocial. Sorli is the CEO of FancyBox, the latest startup to open up its shares via Startup Stock Exchange.
Founded in Spain, FancyBox is an e-commerce platform for cosmetics and beauty. It is currently operating in Argentina, Chile, Colombia Peru and Mexico, offering more than 200 brands and 5,000 products. The company made its debut on SSX last month, and the team is currently touring Latin America to discuss its IPO and proposal.
FancyBox was launched in 2012 out of business incubator BeFactory in Europe, where Sorli fleshed out his business concept and received the technical support he needed. Mid-year, the startup made its debut in Argentina, initially starting out with a subscription beauty box model – much along the lines of what Birchbox does in the United States. Within six months, FancyBox expanded its presence to five countries, picking up local competitors along the way. Then, it hit a road bump.
“We hit a point where the box model left no more room for growth,” Sorli explained. “We had more demand than offer. There were more users trying to buy boxes than samples brands were able to provide. That model was putting a ceiling over us that didn’t allow us to grow.” In other words, it was time to pivot.
The FancyBox team began working on the move towards an e-commerce platform in October 2013 and made the complete switch about two months ago. While the company still has limited edition boxes available, its focus is now on an online retail model, where the sky is the limit.
Thus far, the decision to make the change is working. The platform’s conversion rate ranges from 0.82% to peaks of 2.26% in Argentina and Colombia. Average ticket values have doubled in the past three months, with a repurchase rate of 25-35%. It has gathered a community of over 250,000 social media followers, and its average gross margins are 35%.
FancyBox has also gotten quite creative with its marketing strategies. In each country in which it disembarks, it partners with a female celebrity as a co-founder and platform ambassador. In Colombia, it works with Monica Fonseca and Ingrid Wobst, in Peru, Alessandra Denegri, and in Argentina, Florencia Torrente. Not only does this help with advertising efforts, but it also fosters confidence among consumers, many of whom remain weary of e-commerce in Latin America.
The FancyBox brand has secured strategic joint ventures and media and public relations partnerships with a number of organizations, including ClickOnero in Mexico and Grupo Santo Domingo, through Quantum Media Brands, in Colombia. In Chile, it works with Grupo Copesa, and throughout the region, Hola Magazine. Deals include media equity, traffic drivers and brand licensing.
Currently, Argentina is FancyBox’s top market “by nature,” Sorli explained. Chile and Colombia follow, the former having a higher average ticket value and the latter driving more volume. Peru and Mexico are still developing for the company, and the team anticipates impending partnerships to make a major difference.
As is to be expected, 90-95% of FancyBox’s buyers are women. But that doesn’t mean it only offers products for them. It also features items for men and families – other demographics for which the platform’s shoppers may be buying. “It’s women who make purchasing decisions, especially in Latin America,” Sorli affirmed.
The FancyBox team hopes that the move to join Startup Stock exchange will, in part, inspire the women who purchase on their platform to become investors and accompany them on their journey. Shares have been initially priced at US$1.75, and anyone can invest.
Of course, the decision to raise funds via SSX goes far beyond the FancyBox community. Sorli shed some light onto his reasoning:
As an entrepreneur, most of the time you spend is funding, and funding is really time consuming. The people at Startup Stock Exchange help a lot with that, preparing information for possible investors, deciding what the focus of the investment should be. They campaign in the entire process.
Those interested can now invest in FancyBox on Startup Stock Exchange. Learn more here.