In bid for new users, social shopping site Polyvore adds home design vertical

Polyvore, the social shopping site that lets fashionistas mix and match clothing in online collections, is moving into new territory. On Tuesday, the company said it had added a new vertical for home décor and design.

Since launching in 2007, the site has focused on fashion and beauty products, but co-founder Jess Lee said the genesis of Polyvore was in interior design; another co-founder cited his own overwhelming experience in home decorating. The site included home goods at launch, but Lee said they focused on fashion and beauty after it became clear that those two categories were gaining traction the fastest.

But Polyvore’s addition of a home goods vertical isn’t just about returning to its roots: the company is hoping the new category can lead to more advertising dollars and more users.

Last November, in announcing a new mobile app, the startup said it had reached 19 million monthly unique visitors. But, one year later, the company reports that it has only added one million more users.

It’s still a strong number and Polyvore says other metrics are positive – in the last year, the number of “sets” (or collections of content created by users) has grown from 3.3 million to 4 million and outbound clicks have grown about 20 percent. Lee also said that a shift to mobile and changes in Google’s algorithms have affected traffic. But, last year, the company reported 90 percent growth in monthly users and, this year, it seems that growth has slowed considerably.

In the home design category, Polyvore will compete with companies like Gilt Groupe and One Kings Lane, but the fact that it already has a strong user base will serve it well.

“There’s quite a lot of overlap between people who care about fashion, as well as what’s in their homes,” said Lee. “But we expect to add new people, too.”

As with its fashion and beauty categories, home design users can create sets, as well as “like” content and search its well-curated and -tagged database of products.  The startup declined to share any metrics on conversion or repeat customers but says it’s been cash flow positive since 2012.