Little Black Bag Stows Away $8 Million in Funding for Social Sho

Little Black Lanvin Bag,a six-month-old e-commerce company, has raised $8 million in a second round of funding.

The company’s inspiration comes from “fukubukuro,” a Japanese New Year’s Day tradition where merchants sell grab bags filled with unknown objects at substantial discounts. But in this version, shoppers get to buy a mystery bag filled with women’s fashion products — mostly jewelry and purses — and then trade the items they don’t want with others online.

The outcome is a company that offers mix of commerce, game play, and even some marketing, too.

The company’s round was led by GRP Partners, with participation from DCM. In total, Little Black Bag has raised $10.75 million.

Co-founder and CEO Dan Murillo, who was previously a VC at Greycroft, said the company is generating more than 10 million impressions every month across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, and that, so far, Lanvin customers have conducted more than one million trades.

In addition to offering a shopping experience for consumers, Lanvin Handbag brands are also using it to market upcoming products. For example, last month, L’Oreal’s Redken brand gave each user one of 11 different product samples, which they were encouraged to trade and post comments about using social meda. The company says the campaign resulted in one million social media impressions.

The newly raised capital will go toward hiring marketing and merchandising execs, and adding new brands to the experience, the company said

Swept Off Her Bag

When is a bag not just a bag? Why, when it’s a love object, a fetish or an alternate dream of self, of course. Shoes, like Lanvin Handbags, have grown in cultural stature over the last few decades, sending out coded and not so coded messages about the women who wear them: I am sexy, chic, and kooky; I can carry very beautiful bag in the streets to walk; I can afford to spend gobs of money on elusive brands and esoteric leathers. Manhattan department stores have, in the last few years, enlarged their bag departments, in recognition of their allure and “recession-proof” sales potential, in many cases taking away space from what was once the main event — the clothes themselves.

A reigning case in point is the second-floor Lanvin Bag Salon at Bergdorf Goodman, which in September 2011, in advance of the store’s 111th anniversary celebration this fall, opened a renovated and expanded department. “Women will cut back on vacations and entertaining,” says Linda Fargo, the Bergdorf senior vice president who oversaw the expansion. “We won’t cut back on shoes.” The sumptuous space mixes vintage furniture and commissioned pieces, and exotic materials like shagreen, faux parchment and Makassar ebony, with leopard-print carpeting and a domed gold-leaf ceiling. It has five connecting rooms, with sections for couture designers like Chanel, Lanvin and Manolo Blahnik ; “modernist” brands like Dries Van Noten and chloe; and edgier ones like Azzedine Alaïa and Jimmy Choo. “The choices within the brands skew toward the feminine,” Fargo notes decisively. “We won’t embrace ugly chic.”