We haven’t heard too much from Fancy.com — a competitor to Pinterest and sites focused on social commerce — since it raised $26 million in October 2012, but this is changing today. Fancy has gobbled up Samplrs.com, a specialist in artisanal foods sold by subscription and a la carte. The news, which we received via anonymous tip, was reportedly sent out in a customer email from Samplrs today. When you visit the site, it now redirects to Fancy.com.
This looks like it might be Fancy’s first acquisition. In August 2012, Business Insider reported that Apple wanted to buy Fancy, but neither side ever commented on those reports, and nothing has transpired.
We are reaching out to both Fancy and Samplrs to confirm this news directly and to find out what happens with Samplrs’ current business but it looks like it has closed down for now. “We will be opening soon,” reads the page that used to describe the different prices for products.
Update: The automatic redirect has stopped, but a note on Samplrs.com now has a link: “We’ve moved to Fancy!”. It redirects you straight to a Fancy food page where you can order a Fancy food box by subscription. These cost $39 per month (a $10 rise on Samplrs’ prices, although they look like they have more items).
This looks to be the latest in the evolution of the Fancy Box — a subscription service that Fancy introduced in September 2012 with the idea being that the items were “curated” (voted on) by its 2 million users. This is modelled on the Birchbox style of assembled boxes of products sold by subscription. We are still reaching out to the company for more details. (original story continues below)
Meanwhile, Jake Siegal, who founded Samplrs, is taking his expertise on sourcing fancy food to Fancy. He now lists his job title as “Foods at Fancy” on his LinkedIn profile. His start date is this month, Feburary 2013, with Samplrs’ time on his background list on the site ending in January 2013.
Fancy can use this to beef up (ahem) the food section of its fashion-conscious social commerce site, and it can use it to steer the site further into direct commerce.
Using Samplrs, you could buy products a la carte each month; users received 4-6 products from “up and coming” local food artisans. These produced ranged from “cookies and chocolates to spreads and sauces.” Users also got cards with recipe and pairing suggestions.
The subscriptions ranged from $29.99/month up to $179.95 for six-month subscriptions. It also offered a concierge service.
Samplrs was founded by Jake Siegal in the summer before his senior year in college at NYU, according to the Wakefield blog. Siegal sounds like he had the business bug from early on. While in high school, he interned at Seamless, and then he worked for a private equity firm in India while on an earlier summer break during university. After graduating, he dedicated himself to Samplrs full time.
Original Samplrs’ home page, and the new Fancy Food Box page below that.