Dan Ucko's profile

The Fascination - DTC Marketplace

Leading the Go-To-Market Launch and Strategic Exit for Direct-to-Consumer eCommerce Marketplace The Fascination
In 2021, I helped launch The Fascination, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce marketplace that was acquired by StackCommerce in 2022. A quick turnaround for an exit, I know. What happened to get there could (probably) not have been predicted.

Our ragtag team of 10 built a content and reviews platform, B2B whitelisting and advertising business and e-commerce shop that featured only the brands that are #worthit. Consumers showed clear indicators that they wanted an Amazon-like experience that was more curated and more cool. A place for some of us, not all of us. Without the need to hold physical inventory, we created an online store that acted as one-stop-shop for hot new products, from rom Caraway cookware to Golde's superfood self-care. Our first campaigns were a hit, from the friends and family launch to the fall fashion campaign.

While there, I led our ragtag team of 10 in three key areas of the business:

With the release of iOS 14.5 during The Fascination's first year, we were forced to rely on organic channels like email, social and SEO to grow from $0 to $150k in gross merchandise revenue (GMV), 350K site visits and 20k email subscribers in the first 6 months of launching.

Our reviews proved to be so popular, brands like Keeps wanted to pay us to promote the content. So while we honed our SEO for deep-dive product reviews, we found a new revenue stream through whitelisting: a paid media technique where brands partner with publishers and influencers (The Fascination was a bit of both) to run ads for them. A Keeps review from the reviewer makes for a more compelling ad than Keeps trying to convince you its customers love the product.

Inspired by Wirecutter and The Strategist, we built a reviews system that combined freelance writing talent and internal and external SEO resources to offer honest opinions through create engaging content worth reading. 

Ultimately, our runway ($1M in seed funding) limited our ability to scale the multiple business lines more substantially before exiting. Nonetheless, The Fascination found a great home with e-commerce software leader StackCommerce who continue to leverage The Fascination's brand and platform in their work creating and managing online stores for major publishers like CNN and Insider.

The Fascination - DTC Marketplace


The Fascination - DTC Marketplace