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From Innovation to Closure: The Rise and Fall of Polyvore

Polyvore: A Social Commerce Platform for Fashion, Beauty, and Interior Design

From its inception in 2007, Polyvore quickly gained popularity as a social commerce platform for fashion, beauty, and interior design. With millions of active users, Polyvore allowed its users to curate and share their favorite products from different brands, creating unique collections and inspiring others in the community.

However, after ten years of operation, Polyvore faced declining user base and decreased profits, leading to its abrupt closure by parent company Verizon in 2018. Let’s explore what Polyvore was and why it went away.

What is Polyvore? Polyvore was a web-based and mobile application that enabled users to browse and add fashion, beauty, and interior design products to their curated collections, as well as to browse and follow other users’ collections.

The platform had Community Spotlight, which featured trending collections, users, and brands. Furthermore, Polyvore regularly hosted contests to motivate user engagement and inspire creativity, awarding users with prizes such as clothing, makeup, and accessories.

Polyvore’s tailored recommendation algorithm suggested products and collections to users based on their individual preferences and engagement history. Additionally, Polyvore allowed users to integrate their collections with their websites, blogs, and social media accounts, enabling them to showcase their personal style and share their opinions with a broader audience.

Why did Polyvore shut down? Despite its popularity, Polyvore struggled to maintain a stable revenue model due to the platform’s mostly advertising-driven business strategy.

In addition, the rise of social media platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, that provided similar services contributed to Polyvore’s declining user base and engagement. The shift towards mobile-first user behavior also negatively impacted the platform’s performance, as Polyvore’s mobile application had limited features compared to its desktop version.

Verizon, Polyvore’s parent company, purchased Yahoo, which had acquired Polyvore in 2015, in an attempt to salvage Yahoo’s significant financial losses. As a cost-cutting measure, Verizon decided to shut down several underperforming properties, including Polyvore, despite the platform’s loyal user base that rallied for its continued existence.

Polyvore’s Impact on Fashion and Social Commerce

Polyvore had a significant impact on the fashion and beauty industries, as the platform democratized access to these industries and created a community of influencers and enthusiasts. Polyvore’s curated collections represented a wide range of styles, price points, and demographics, and served as inspiration for users to discover new products and brands.

The platform’s emphasis on user-generated content and authenticity differentiated Polyvore from traditional advertising-driven publishing, positioning Polyvore as a key player in the emerging era of social commerce. Moreover, Polyvore established a new format of online shopping, social shopping, where users could engage with products and brands in a social context.

Social shopping leveraged the community’s collective knowledge and style to facilitate shopping discovery, decision-making, and purchase. Social shopping ultimately provided value to both users and brands, as it streamlined the shopping process and increased brand awareness and conversions.


Polyvore’s closure marked the end of an era in social commerce, as the platform’s unique features and community-driven approach will be missed. Nevertheless, Polyvore’s legacy and impact on the fashion and beauty industries will continue to influence and inspire new social commerce ventures.

The rise and fall of Polyvore are an essential lesson in innovation, adaptation, and resilience, reminding us that even successful businesses are subject to rapid changes in technology, consumer behavior, and industry trends. What Happened to Polyvore?

Polyvore was founded in 2007 by Pasha Sadri, Jess Lee, Yuan Guangwei, and Jianing Hu. The founders aimed to create a social commerce platform that blended fashion, beauty, and interior design into a community-driven experience. After receiving Series A funding from Benchmark and Harrison Metal, the founders quickly grew Polyvore’s user base and incorporated partnerships with brands like Topshop and Forever21.

As the platform experienced rapid growth, Polyvore established partnerships with various websites, including Facebook. The Facebook integration allowed users to share their Polyvore collections on their Facebook profiles, expanding the platform’s reach and user acquisition.

Furthermore, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff joined forces with Polyvore to promote its products on a new section of her website, “The Minkoff Edit.”

Polyvore’s growth throughout its lifespan was significant, with the company achieving profitability in 2012. This milestone played a crucial role in attracting funding from DAG Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and Benchmark.

In 2015, Jess Lee, one of the original founders, became Polyvore’s CEO and increased the company’s focus on profitability. Polyvore continued to expand its features and platforms into the mobile realm, launching an Android app and a mobile shopping application developed specifically for iOS.

Polyvore’s home decor category was introduced, increasing its reach into interior design. The mobile app also allowed users to access Polyvore’s website and personalize their shopping experiences.

Personalized recommendations were made available for users through a machine learning algorithm, which analyzed users’ browsing data. In 2015, Polyvore was acquired by Yahoo, which was leading the charge in a series of acquisitions as it sought to revamp its brand’s impact.

Yahoo had plans to integrate Polyvore into its online fashion magazine, Yahoo Style. However, Yahoo struggled to manage all its acquired businesses, leading to internal friction that caused certain companies, including Polyvore, to suffer.

After four years under Yahoo’s ownership, Polyvore was abruptly shut down in 2018 by Verizon, Yahoo’s parent company. The closure of Polyvore was a result of decisions made by Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, and her mismanagement of the company’s acquisitions.

Many speculated that Polyvore’s closure was the result of lack of profitability under Yahoo’s profits, making Polyvore unsustainable, and the company was subsequently liquidated. The aftermath of Polyvore’s closure included criticism of the mismanagement of Yahoo under Marissa Mayer.

Users who relied on Polyvore were also frustrated, as their collections, which they had spent years curating, were no longer accessible. However, Polyvore’s user data was still useful, and as a result, Ssense acquired it, which left some users uncomfortable.

Many user communities felt like Polyvore customers were undervalued by Yahoo’s mismanagement, and the trade that Ssense made further validated these fears.


Polyvore’s journey from a nascent social commerce platform to a community-driven enterprise demonstrated the potential of innovation and creativity in building a successful brand. As Polyvore experienced growth, it demonstrated the possibilities of a future that blends fashion, shopping, and social media.

However, Polyvore’s closure also highlights the impact of leadership decisions, particularly concerning acquisitions, on a company’s stability and sustainability. Nonetheless, Polyvore’s legacy as a social commerce pioneer and its influence on the fashion and beauty industries remain vital, as other platforms continue to use it as a reference for innovation in social media and commerce.

Polyvore was a groundbreaking social commerce platform that enabled users to browse and curate fashion, beauty, and home decor products. Despite Polyvore’s success, a combination of declining user base, profitability issues, and Yahoo’s mismanagement led to the platform’s closure in 2018 under its parent company, Verizon.

Polyvore’s significant impact on the fashion and beauty industries and its legacy as a driving force in social commerce continues to inspire new ventures. The rise and fall of Polyvore serve as a crucial lesson in innovation, adaptation, and resilience, and highlight the importance of leadership decisions on a company’s viability.

Polyvore’s story emphasizes the need for companies to prioritize adapting to changing technological and consumer behavior trends to remain competitive.

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