Tonight, Thursday September 13, 7pm EST, the best design ideas will be chosen at a special Quirky Eval.
Friday September 14: After Quirky’s newest inventors have been selected, a real-time design workshop will begin, with Quirky designers and members collaborating round-the-clock to design and refine each invention pick into a final Quirky product.
Saturday September 15: Ben Kaufman himself will fly the results (3D models, renders) of this design process to Quirky’s factories to get the manufacturing process kicked-off.
Wednesday September 19, 3pm EST, just 7 days after the iPhone 5 was announced, Fab launches a special sale featuring the newly design accessories.
At @Fab we believe that the best user experience gets out of the way.
For 15 months now, visitors to the Fab.com website have had to login in order to view the products on our website. This helped us gain 7 million registered members, but it was not a great user experience. Great user experiences get out of the way and help people get shit done. Our mobile experience has not required login — that was the right way to do it.
As we get 50% of our signups from social sharing, having this signup requirement to view products was really frustrating to users and shooting us in the foot. There’s not much worse than getting excited about a product your friend shared on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter, then clicking through to view and buy the product and getting a huge login blocker. Lame. This was a huge source of complaints on Facebook and Twitter.
There are now nearly 10,000 products on Fab every single day. Why are we hiding them?!?! Duh! We want nothing more than for people to come to Fab and discover and find everyday amazing design finds that make them go Wow! (Btw. Ikea boasts having 9500 products on their website.) We’re building the world’s greatest design store. We should be making it as easy as possible for people to shop it! Again, just get out of the way.
So, today we’re putting our customers first, and we’re fixing this.
We’ve always said that Fab will win in the long term by putting the best interest of our customers first. It’s not about us. Today we’re doing one of those walk-the-talk things.
Here is what the Fab.com homepage looks like now. You can browse the entire website and participate in the Fab social commerce experience without any login required. An account is only needed if you want to add a product to your favorites or buy something.
The Fab Live Feed - Logged Out.
Example Product Page - Logged Out.
The signup to browse requirement is now removed from Fab.com in the U.S. We’ll do the same in Europe in 10 days.
Fab and the Quirky community have teamed up to design and develop a new line of Apple iPhone 5 accessories and rapidly bring them to market.
How fast? Fab fast.
Submit and vote on designs today and start buying the best ones in just 1 week!
Submit Ideas & Vote.
Head to Quirky to vote for your favorite iPhone 5 accessory designs. Voting will start Wednesday at3pm ET, and end Thursday at 6pm ET. Have an idea? Submit your design!
Buy on Fab
Next Wednesday, 9/19, Fab will launch an exclusive Fab & Quirky sale featuring the most popular iPhone 5 accessory ideations.
Fresh off the assembly line, your Fab & Quirky exclusive iPhone accessory designs will be delivered to your door, just in time for your equally fresh iPhone 5. Smile!
Who’s Quirky? They’re The Guys Who Make Stuff Like This.
Apple, iPad, iPhone and iPod are trademarks of Apple Inc. Quirky, Inc. & Fab.com, Inc. are independent companies which have no affiliation or association with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by, Apple Inc.
The future of shopping is in your pocket and on your tablet - and it's about to get even better
When we started Fab all of 15 months ago we set out on an ambitious mission to help people better their lives with design.
As designers ourselves, we also put a heavy burden on us: To try to build the world’s best-designed online shopping experience. We told ourselves that if we were going to sell the world’s best designed stuff from the world’s most exciting designers, we ourselves needed to step up to the plate and design some pretty amazing and seamless shopping experiences. I’d like to say I knew we could do it, but the truth is we were nervous as hell. We had a whole lot, “we’re not worthy,” and “will they like us?” going on for a while. I mean, come on, our website had to be good enough to host the likes of Milton Glaser and Kartel and Herman Miller. Design legends. A tall order, indeed.
We started in June 2011 with the Fab website and then we added to that with our mobile apps in October 2011.
Our design philosophy was inspired by the late great ceramics designer Eva Zeisel. When asked once how to make something beautiful she replied, “You just have to get out of the way.” That’s our design approach at Fab. Our website and our apps try to fade into the background while putting the primary focus on the designs and the designers. It’s not about us. We try to just get out of the way and help people discover great designs. To this day, even with nearly 500 Fab employees and with a team of some of the most talented user experience designers and web/mobile developers on earth, I still personally review every new user experience, and I do so always with an eye towards making it simpler and just making sure we are getting out of the way of the user. As you add features that gets harder and harder. But, it’s that important. It’s everything. We’re only as good as our own design.
Now, to be 100% honest and transparent about it, our mobile apps to-date have mostly been just smaller versions of our website. We took the best of what worked for Fab on the web and just form-fitted it as best possible into the iPhone, iPad, and Android formats.
And to be equally honest, it’s been just incredible to see how people have taken to Fab on mobile. We never could have predicted just how important mobile would be to our future. And, how quickly mobile would take on such importance. After launching in October of last year, mobile usage quickly grew to 15% of our overall usage by year-end 2011, then 20% earlier this year, 25%, and then 30%. And, mobile is carrying the same weight in terms of orders and in terms of revenue. Yep, we’re getting 30% of our sales from mobile less than 1 year from launching our mobile apps.
iPad has been particularly out performing. We have half the iPad users and daily logins as iPhone users, BUT, iPad is almost neck-and-neck with iPhone in terms of orders and revenue. iPad conversion rates are off the charts. 6% to 7% of all Fab iPad visits result in a purchase. Think of that. Around 6.5% of every time someone opens the Fab iPad app they make a purchase. And, they buy more than two items per order on average.
Sometimes I feel like I should just buy everyone an iPad with the Fab App loaded on it. Hmmmm.
And, it’s been a thrill to watch how users have responded to the design of our mobile apps. Again, they’ve just been mini mobile-app-optimized versions of our website, but we’ve updated and enhanced them about 10 times in the past 10 months, trying to deliver regular updates in response to users’ feedback and suggestions.
And we recently have been astonished to find that less than a year after launch, Fab’s app is the #10 bestselling of all free iPad Lifestyle App and #18 for iPhone.
Again, we’re not worthy!
Ok, we’ll take it.
But we can do better.
At Fab, we believe that the future of shopping is in your pocket and on your tablet.
And, for the past 6 months we’ve been hard at work rebuilding Fab’s apps from the ground-up as mobile-first apps. We’ve rethunk (love that word) the entire Fab experience for the mobile user. We’ve designed a new experience special for iPad users.
And, if all goes swiftly with the Apple approval process, before the end of September, we’ll show it to you.
And we hope you’ll like it.
And we promise to absorb your feedback and to keep making it better and better and better.
You see, 30% of visits and sales coming from mobile might be cool, but we’re still at just the very beginning of mobile commerce and Fab hopes to be a leader. We see a day when mobile is more than 50%. And, we want to be the world’s leading mobile commerce innovator. A driver. A visionary. That’s a lot to sign up for, but we’re confident yet humble enough to do it.
When it comes to mobile commerce, we’re on the cusp of huge huge market disruptions. And, we really are just getting started.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Fab’s new mobile experience hits the app store in just a few weeks.
By now, it’s probably apparent that we’re color fanatics (what gave it away—a pop-up shop solely dedicated to the subject? Bradford, our chief design officer’s Instagram homage to his blue period?). And if you’ve noticed our obsession with bold, bright hues, you’re probably aware of our penchant for partnering with the best design brands, across the globe, big and small. So, it should come as no surprise that we’ve got another one up our sleeve for September! Drumroll please…
Just in time for back to school—the best time of year for revamping your workplace and buying office supplies as well as a smattering of other awesome organizational tools, many of which, ahem, can be found in our Back to School Pop-Up Shop—Fab is partnering with design darling Blu Dot to present a line of their desks, tables, chairs and lighting in Fab custom colors.
A huge Fab thanks to John and Maurice for welcoming us into their Minneapolis offices a few months ago where the idea for this unique collaboration was hatched. We’re thrilled and honored to be your partner. More and bigger to to come.
A few days ago Forbes named me one of the top 10 most transparent CEO’s in the world. I accept that and wear it as a badge of honor. Transparency is one of our core values at Fab and I believe wholeheartedly that the more people know about your company the more it humanizes it and enables them to understand it and get behind it. Especially in the age of social media, it’s about the conversation and the journey, not the transaction. Brands are built around relationships.
While I’d like to fancy myself as an angel investor the truth is that I’m too busy running Fab to effectively evaluate deal flow.
As such, I’ve adopted a very simple investment thesis:
I only invest in products that I use.
Until recently this thesis had led me to invest in only 2 companies beyond Fab: Twitter (via its TweetDeck acquisition - I was an early angel investor in TweetDeck) and RJ Metrics. I use TweetDeck/Twitter all day everyday. I use RJ Metrics daily as well.
I say no to dozens of investment opportunities because they don’t pass my “do I use it?” test.
Today I’ve gone long on Facebook, investing a good chunk of money in Facebook stock at $19.20 per share.
My Facebook investment thesis is as follows:
Hundreds of millions of people use Facebook every day. I am one of them. Facebook is not an app, it is the app that ties together the social web. I don’t know hardly a single person who doesn’t spend at least 30 minutes on Facebook each day. That’s time they used to spend watching TV or consuming some other form of media.
Fab spends millions of dollars on Facebook advertising and we get a great return on that investment. It is a fantastic channel for us and it delivers real ROI with high conversion rates to purchase and then super high viral sharing rates. Facebook advertising works if you know how to use it and stick with it and turn it into a science. And it keeps getting better. We’ve seen big improvements over the past few months. 75% of Fab’s advertising is on Facebook and we will continue going big on FB as long as it remains a productive channel for us.
Smart vision + smart team + smart execution = potential for amazing results. I really do believe that the smartest most creative teams win. The key for Facebook will be to keep its employees focused and incentivized for the next and next and next big things. Don’t become AOL (where super rich managers lost their way). Become Google where hiring standards were kept high, fresh managers were heavily incentivized to develop the business, and where the leaders constantly pursued an innovative agenda. I believe that Zuck and Sheryl will do this.
The naysayers question Facebook’s ability to evolve towards a mobile world. Facebook’s latest iOS upgrade shows already that Facebook is adopting a mobile-first strategy. The new FB app is 10x better than the previous version.
And, then there’s instagram. Instagram is THE mobile photo sharing network. Facebook just got mobile in a big way. I have no doubt that Facebook will figure out mobile in time. Heck, I’m on a tour bus right now in Rome and everyone on the bus is on Facebook on their mobile, and they’re taking all their pictures using Instagram.
In terms of valuation, I’m long. I believe that 10 years from now Facebook can be worth $200B. I don’t care if it takes 10 years to get there. My own math says that FB is worth around $30/share today. But, again, I’m long.
Facebook today actually reminds me more of Amazon in 2000 than Google. Amazon had an opportunity to define an industry, ecommerce, and they have. I believe that Facebook has a similar opportunity to define the social web for decades to come.
Disclaimer. Fab will continue allocating our marketing dollars based on the channels and platforms that deliver the best return on investment, despite where I personally invest my own money.
Chris and I are heading to Rome tonight where we’ll be meeting up with 20 friends and heading on our “friendymoon” cruise (like a honeymoon, but with friends).
Which brings me to the topic of Vacation.
You absolutely positively MUST take vacation. It is a requirement. It is not optional.
At Fab I have gone so far as to literally require every manager to take a vacation between the months of August and October so that everyone is rested and ready for the holiday push. My message to Fab’s managers is clear: If you don’t take vacation during this period, you’re fired. Seriously.
I take one vacation every quarter. During my vacations I try to get my mind off of work but in reality I’m constantly thinking about how Fab needs to evolve. My quarterly vacations help me get out of the daily grind and think up where we need to go and what we need to do to get there. Some of my best ideas and insights have come while on vacation. It’s critical. In addition to my personal vacations with Chris, Bradford (Fab’s other founder) and I have a regular practice of taking days off together to brainstorm Fab’s future while in a relaxed setting or while visiting some new foreign city. It’s critical. Major shifts in Fab’s business and new initiatives and projects were hatched while on vacation. It’s critical.
At Fab, we have 400+ team members who work passionately and tirelessly to help people better their lives with design. As CEO, a critical part of my job is to set the right tone and pace and make sure we don’t burn people out along the way.
Smile, you’re designed to take a break every now and again.
p.s. Anyone who says, “I’m too busy to take vacation,” is too busy doing the wrong things.
Fab & One Kings Lane & Mutual Respect & Managing Hyper Growth
Bradford and I had the pleasure of having breakfast this morning with Susan Feldman, founder of One Kings Lane.
We love Susan and we have a ton of appreciation and respect for what she and Ali and Doug and their team have built.
While the casual observer might expect there to be some competitive juices flowing between Fab and One Kings Lane, that’s not the case. We’re actually big mutual admirers. We are both disrupting huge markets for home and lifestyle products. We’re more quirky and modern. They’re more traditional. We both know our respective missions and target customers really well and we’re both laser-focused on our own one thing.
The Fab and One Kings Lane stories both share a lot of commonalities. We both have two founders. Bradford and Susan are both merchandising visionaries. Bradford and I took a huge flyer on Fab, pursuing a hope and dream that we could make inroads into the design market. Susan and Ali did the same for home products.
And, we’re both growing like crazy.
Between Fab and One Kings Lane, we’ll do more than $300M in sales this year. Think about that. That’s more than $300M in online sales of home and lifestyle products that was done elsewhere just a couple of years ago. We’re disrupting big, big markets. And, we’re both just getting started.
We both also now each have more than 400 employees. That’s 800 people who have been put to work the past few years because of Fab and One Kings Lane.
We also both have worked with thousands of thousands of designers, manufacturers, and makers. That’s thousands of people who have seen a boost to their own sales and to their own business because of Fab and One Kings Lane. We’re market makers.
A lot of our chat today was about merchandise. Bradford and Susan both choose products that they love, not just products that they think will sell well. That’s a big reason why Fab and One Kings Lane are so successful so far. The products we sell are the authentic representation of Bradford’s and Susan’s unique points of view.
And, we spoke a lot about managing hyper growth. Here are a few things we discussed:
Pace. Very few companies operate at the pace of Fab and One Kings Lane. We both effectively create and launch an entirely new store each day, 365 days per year. Think of your favorite offline store redoing the store window and the merchandise inside each day. That’s what we do. It’s fast. We have to make sure we hire people who can keep up with the pace while also not burning our teams out.
Perspective. As fast and as big as Fab and One Kings Lane have grown, we’re both just small fish in a much bigger pond. Tens of millions of people have never heard of either of us. We know we have a long long way to go to become long-lasting businesses. I like to say that we have Ikea-sized ambitions at Fab. Take Fab + One Kings Lane and multiply sales by 100 and you start to approach Ikea size. We have a long way to go.
Culture. The key to managing rapid growth is maintaining consistency in company culture. That’s not easy. It’s actually very, very hard. But so important as we grow.
Leadership. We spent the most time talking about how we work differently now vs. a year ago (or a few years ago in Susan’s case). Bradford and I have actually found a way to have more control over the important details while controlling less of the overall work that gets done. That’s a key to our success. We are more in control than ever while at the same time empowering more than ever. Susan expressed a similar sentiment.
It’s just awesome to see how both Fab and One Kings Lane have come out of nowhere to have such a big meaningful impact on our industry.
This Gay CEO Is Getting Married This Weekend - And Why That Matters
I am a proud gay CEO.
I am a proud gay CEO who is getting married this Saturday, August 18, 2012.
As noted in today’s New York Times, I’m hopeful that my being visible, vocal and active will help further the push for marriage equality. I’m hopeful that my actions will spur other gay entrepreneurs and executives to use their own unique positions to support this important movement. We’re on the right side of progress on this issue. National polls now show a clear majority of Americans are in support of marriage equality. Young people especially support marriage equality. In time, we will prevail.
But, it will also take many more fights and a whole lot of effort to get there. Change will come, but only with a lot more hard work ahead.
My fiance, Christian Schoenherr, and I got engaged on April 22, 2011. At the time, we promised ourselves that we would get married when it was legal. Two months later, in June 2011, New York State became the largest state to legalize gay marriage. Chris and I quickly set August 18, 2012, as the date for our big day.
Over the last few months, as our wedding day drew near, Chris and I went searching for the perfect wedding gift for each other. We wanted to give each other a gift that would help more people in more towns and more cities and more states get legally married.
We’re excited to announce that as our wedding gift to each other, Chris and I are the founding/principal donors behind TheFour2012.com, a new social media campaign launching soon in support of marriage equality in the four states where it is on the ballot this November. TheFour2012.com is a new online effort focused on creating and distributing cutting-edge social media content to excite pro-equality voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State. This November, as the country goes to the polls to elect a President, Maine will be voting on whether to legalize same sex marriage, Maryland and Washington voters will decide whether to confirm or reject marriage equality laws enacted by their legislatures, and Minnesota will vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality.
TheFour2012.com is the first marriage equality campaign squarely focused on reaching and influence younger voters via social media with original online content.
There’s a palpable sense that this is a big, big moment for the marriage-equality movement. Never before have a majority of voters in any state elected to legalize same-sex marriage, but polls in Maryland, Maine and Washington suggest that majorities there do indeed support it, and the issue has caught fire nationally in a whole new way over the last year. The timing seems better and more hopeful now than ever before.
I left Minnesota out of the above paragraph because the vote there is about a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Its defeat—which is what marriage-equality advocates are working for—wouldn’t mean the legalization of same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
But Maryland, Maine and Washington could indeed join the six states, along with the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is currently legal. In Maryland and Washington, state lawmakers earlier this year passed same-sex marriage bills that were then signed by the states’ Democratic governors, but voters are now being given a chance to overrule that.
Whether they do could boil down in large measure to turnout: in particular, to the turnout of young voters. Support for marriage equality is much, much stronger among people in their 20s and 30s than among people in their 60s and 70s. And part of what’s interesting about the effort that Goldberg and Schoenherr are helping to set into motion is that it’s directed at younger voters.
Dear betashop reader:
I would love to have you participate in this important new initiative with us. We hope it will help bring marriage equality to more Americans by exciting our supporters in these four states — and finally winning these initiative contests, which have previously been so challenging.
You can now make a donation of any size online by going to this splash page (the main site will launch soon). Your $5 could go a long way towards helping millions of people benefit from marriage equality.
Fab Appoints Allison Rutledge-Parisi as Global Chief People Officer
One of the biggest challenges we face at Fab is maintaining our modern, colorful, quirky, and passionate company culture as we grow our team. Fab today is 420 people worldwide. Last year at this time we were fewer than 50.
We take this company culture stuff very seriously. We know that if we are truly going to build a brand for the decades, Fab has to be Fab has to be Fab everywhere and in everything we do. From the design of our website and apps, to the design of the products we sell, to the design of our operations, supply-chain, logistics, and service, to the design of our team, it all has to be Fab.
To that end, I’m thrilled to announce today that Allison Rutledge-Parisi (we like to call her “ARP”) has joined Fab as our Chief People Officer. Allison will work closely with our management team to help make Fab Fab everywhere we operate.
I like to say that Fab works by joining together the hardest working, smartest, bunch of misfits and colorful personalities and then guiding them all towards our common mission of helping people better their lives with design.
She made her acting debut in the short film Swingin’ in the Painter’s Room in 1989. A year later, she was cast as Jane Clark in Metropolitan. In 1991, Rutledge-Parisi appeared in an episode of NBC’s Midnight Caller, with Gary Cole. (She was credited as “Allison Parisi”.)
In the early 1990s, Rutledge-Parisi gave up acting and enrolled at Columbia Law School in New York City, where she was named a Harlan Fiske Scholar.
After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, Rutledge-Parisi clerked for Judge Robert W. Sweet in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. After working as an intellectual property lawyer for the firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in Manhattan, she joined Kaplan, Inc. in 2004. Three years later, she was promoted to Kaplan’s chief administrative officer.
Rutledge-Parisi is married to Dr. James Marion. They have two daughters and live in Manhattan.
We have asked every potential Fab employee to answer a very basic but telling question before we agree to hire them at Fab: Why, of all the companies in the world, do you want to further your career at Fab?
Here’s ARP’s answer:
It’s immediately clear this is an incredible business that engages folks (me included) with its color, delight, and imagination.
I have encountered a leadership team that is deeply serious about product, customer experience and culture - a rare trifecta.
Jason and Bradford clearly have the right perspective on technology and social commerce. Fab is doing it better and differently from others. This is a team that is wired for quality of experience for both customers and its people. (Thanks ARP!)
Clincher is an incredible culture at the very beginning - so that this Chief People Officer role can have a great impact.
She nailed it.
Here’s to making Fab Fab everywhere for years and years to come.
Fab added a record 1 million members in July, bringing our total to 6 million.
That’s 20% growth off a big base in 1 month. Wowza!
Why and how did Fab grow that fast in July which is typically the slowest month of the year for e-commerce websites?
A big reason was Facebook. In July and thus far in August Fab activity on Facebook has skyrocketed, growing by 1,448%, through some new and deeper product integrations and our just getting smarter about how to leverage the FB platform.
Hopefully signs of even greater things to come as Fab member continue to share their favorite design finds with their friends.
More than 6 million people around the world use Fab to discover everyday design products at great prices, to connect with the world’s most exciting designers, and to share their favorite design inspirations.
Hot Summer: Fab.com Adds 1 Million Members In July
Forbes. Startup Fab.com is not seeing any traditional retail summer slowdown in its business. Fab added 1 million members in July–a 20% increase in total members in one month fueled by mobile and social growth.
The New York company had forecast July as its slowest month of the year due to typical seasonal trends. Instead, memberships and sales have taken off. “It was far and away our best month ever,” says Jason Goldberg, founder and CEO at Fab.
Fab now has 6 million members, a remarkable number considering the company launched in its current form in June 2011. The company had 3.5 million members in April when I wrote a feature on Fab. The last week of July was also Fab’s best sales single week ever.
The 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house looks like a real-life representation of his company’s Web site, with carefully edited arrangements of furnishings in eye-popping hues.
“I love color,” said Mr. Shellhammer, who was wearing bright purple pants and aquamarine sneakers on a recent afternoon. “I think it’s very important to live with color. If you don’t like color, I feel bad for you.”
Fab Promotes Maria Molland to Chief European Officer
I keep a set of buttons on my desk designed by one of my favorite artists, Trey Speegle. The buttons have a simple yet profound message on them: It’s Not About You.
Just as I’ve endeavored to build Fab around the taste and sensibilities of my creative muse, Bradford Shellhammer, I’m constantly looking to identify, elevate, and empower senior leaders who are better at what they do than I could ever be.
With that in mind, I’m thrilled to announce that Maria Molland is now Fab’s Chief European Officer. There is no one more capable than Maria to lead Fab’s European expansion.
Maria joined Fab in April to lead our global growth plans. She quickly established herself as the go-to person for organizing and leading our European rollout. She has been my right-hand on all things Europe. As David Lapter likes to say, Jason sleeps at night (at least sometimes), knowing that Maria is there working with the Fab teams in Europe, representing me and Bradford, and making it Fab.
(Note: This is the part of the post where the PR flacks encouraged me to write a piece noting that Maria follows in the footsteps of other successful female leaders like Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. Whatever. Maria is just brilliant. Her being a female has nothing to do with it, nor does it make her appointment any more or less interesting. That’s like making a big deal about the CEO of Fab being gay. Gay. Female. Whatever. We’re just Fab. It’s not about us. It’s about the designs, the designers, and the people who love them. It’s about making people smile.)
Maria will be working out of our Berlin office where we now have 105 employees, with plans to grow that team to 150 by the end of this year. Fab is now selling in 24 countries in the European Union. Fab’s growth in Europe this year has been nothing short of amazing. 1.4 million of Fab’s now 6 million members are now in Europe. We’ve grown our European membership from 60,000 to 1.4 million in 7 months. We fully expect Europe to contribute at least 20% of Fab’s 2012 revenue and we have plans for Europe to be a $100M+ business for Fab in 2013.
One of the key measures of the health of our business is repeat buying behavior. 67% of Fab’s daily purchases in the U.S. are from repeat buyers. Most remarkably, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in repeat buying behavior in Europe the past few months. 50% of our weekly sales in Europe are now from repeat buyers and we hope to achieve the same repeat buying levels as in the U.S. in the coming months.
The other major development we’ve seen in Europe is our rapid expansion into other markets outside of Germany. You’ll recall that we first launched Fab in Europe in Germany & Austria and German-language-only at the end of February. We then expanded to English and to the rest of the EU this summer. While Germany still accounts for the majority of our European sales (75%), other markets are growing fast. Just weeks after acquiring London based Llustre, the UK now accounts for nearly 10% of our European sales.
Into this huge opportunity to build a massive Fab business in Europe steps Maria.
We’re on a mission to help people better their lives with design. 6 million people around the world use Fab to discover everyday design products at great prices, to connect with the world’s most exciting designers, and to share their favorite design inspirations.
We believe that design is a universal language. It’s a lifestyle. It’s global. And Maria is the perfect person to help us build out our global brand in Europe.
Prior to joining Fab, Maria was Global Managing Director of Lipper and Digital Ventures, two subsidiaries of Thomson Reuters. Prior to that she was the General Manager of Marketwatch and Barron’s online (two subsidiaries of Dow jones). Maria also had successful stints at Yahoo Finance and Disney Internet Group. She got her MBA from Harvard Business School (don’t hold that against her!) and she currently lives in both Paris and London — and soon to be Berlin.
I first met Maria in 2008 when she was leading digital ventures for Thomson Reuters. Her team looked at acquiring my company at the time, socialmedian. It was through those talks that I came to know and respect Maria as one of the smartest, honest, and most fair managers I had ever come across. She didn’t get to acquire socialmedian then, but she did acquire a friend and admirer for life.
For 2012, our international plan is: Get Europe Right. Maria is critical to making that happen.
Joining Maria in Berlin are:
Roman Kirsch, formerly MD of Fab.de, and one of the founders of Casacanda (acquired by Fab in February 2012), will focus on the one thing he is the best at, Marketing, as our new head of European Marketing.
Tracy Doree, formerly MD of uk.Fab.com, and one of the founders of Llustre (acquired by Fab in June 2012), will focus on the one thing she is the best at, Merchandising, as our new head of European Merchandising & Design.
Maria will be adding more senior leaders to her executive team in the weeks ahead.
My message to Maria, Roman, Tracy, and our entire Fab European team: Be proud. Be humble. Be Fab. This is just the beginning.
One of the greatest joys of my job is coaching and mentoring super smart and super ambitious young people.
I find myself doing this a lot lately.
Here’s a common pattern we find at Fab (and, I’m sure, at many startups): Young person leverages his or her brain, passion, ambitions and talents to rise up to a senior role very quickly. They take on a ton of responsibility and they kick ass at it. But, then, invariably, the young superstar hits some sort of a wall. Often it’s a burnout wall. Other times it’s a managing-down wall. Other times it’s a managing-up wall. Other times it’s just a bruised ego. Most of the time though it’s just youth. There’s value and maturity that comes from experience and pattern recognition. And, for young people who rise to the top quickly, there’s a natural impatience that flies in the face of waiting for that experience and pattern recognition to guide the way.
Here’s a quick list of 5 things young people generally don’t know. Or put another way, here are 5 things I wish I knew 10 years ago.
(Apologies in advance if this comes across as preachy. It’s only meant to be helpful.)
It’s better to do one thing exceptionally well than to do many things really good. Everyone who knows anything about me knows that I’m a big believer in this “one thing” stuff: Find the one thing in the world that you are the best at and focus on just that one thing. Let other people do the rest.
This is very tough for young rising stars to grasp. There’s this urge to show the world that they can do everything. That’s a mistake. The best you can do is find your one thing and then work with other people whose own one things complement your one thing. One of the biggest signs of maturity amongst young managers is the ability to not be involved in stuff they are not as good at.
News flash: Specialists get farther than generalists. If you want to rise to the top, own something. Be known for something. Have your one thing that you are simply the best at. And own it with pride.
In my career I’ve found that people who have unique talents tend to rise to the top because they offer that unique something that others dont. Now, that unique talent can also be something broad like being a general, or being the the guy whose best at code reviews. My point is that you’ve got to be really good at something, not just kinda good at a lot of things.
I’ve been through this exact experience in my own career. I started off as a generalist and was constantly frustrated that I couldn’t get as much done as I wanted. It was only when I became a specialist that I realized that I had solved the “get shit done” problem. I found my own one thing that I could be the best at and quickly discovered that getting shit done was all in my own hands. (Ok, shit in the hands probably isn’t the best imagery, but hopefully you get the point. If you want to get shit done, own something.)
It’s ok to say I don’t know. These are the 3 hardest words for a young person to say: I don’t know. Yet, they are three words that are a sure sign of maturity. Guess what? You’re not supposed to know the answer to everything! That’s why we invent stuff everyday. That’s why we take risks. That’s why we make mistakes, and celebrate our mistakes. The simple smart person thinks that saying I don’t know is a weakness. The smart smart person knows that saying I don’t know is the f-in honest truth. Don’t sugar coat it. Just say it as it is. Say I don’t know, then come back with a well researched response.
The young person who pretends that he or she knows all the answers comes across as sneaky and hard to believe. The young person who says I don’t know and then who comes back with smart well though-out answers, earns respect and trust.
People will do great things for you because they want to, not because they have to. Here’s another lesson I learned the hard way. I used to think that people did things because of chain-of-command — I’m superior to you so you need to do what I say. Not true. People will do things for you because they have to, but they’ll only do great things for you because they want to. That means you need to spend as much time getting your colleagues to like working with you as you do getting them to respect your work.
Just because you are smart will not always mean that you are effective. If you want others to want to do amazing things for you / with you, you need to inspire them and ingratiate yourself to them.
It’s not the end of the world. Simply put, whatever you made a mistake on today we’ll fix tomorrow. There’s always another release. There’s always another campaign. There’s always another sale. Hopefully, there’s always another customer.
Make mistakes, just don’t f- it up too much.
This gets back to the pattern recognition thing. If you’ve been to battle a few times, shipped code a few times, gotten customer feedback a few times, seen the ups and downs of the process a few times, you come to realize over time that it’s all just part of the process.
The ups and downs are just that, ups and downs — what matters most is the long term shape of the curve.
“Since launching with 175,000 users and a staff of 20 in June 2011, Fab has rapidly expanded to 5 million users in 20 countries and 400 employees across four international offices. “We’re an ambitious company with a very big mission,” says CEO Goldberg of Fab’s quest to bring beautiful, functional products to a broader audience. “We’re quirky, creative and authentic; we put the same energy into everything we do, and we want [to hire] people who have that energy, too.””—Cool NYC companies: Behind-the-scenes office tour of Fab
“I tell every entrepreneur the same thing: Find the one thing that you can be the best at and do that one thing to the exclusion of all other things. The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is that they end up [taking on] a lot of different tasks, rather than just saying, ‘We’re going to be the best at this. All we’re going to do is this.’ When I am in product-development mode, I’m notorious for not answering calls or e-mails. I’m not going to be distracted by taking meetings. I’m focused on getting my one thing done.”—Cool NYC companies: Behind-the-scenes office tour of Fab
Fab Adds Support For Thousands More Products - Continues Evolution From Flash To Everyday Design
One of our big initiatives this year at Fab is to grow the number of products available on Fab from around 2200 at the end of 2011 to more then ten thousand by the end of 2012. Today we’re approaching 10,000 products on Fab already.
This is a big part of our strategic push to be Everyday Design. We want Fab to be the global brand that represents everyday design.
Put simply, this is part of our purposeful evolution from being a design flash sale website in 2011 to being the world’s best destination for everyday design in 2012 and beyond. We want you to be able to turn to Fab on any day at any time and easily find a lamp, a bed, a tee shirt, a necklace, a pet toy, etc. We want Fab to be the go-to place for colorful, fun, witty, and exciting product discovery of the everyday stuff in your life.
Now, that’s also an interesting design challenge. As a UX designer myself, it’s a fun and exciting challenge to try to dream up and implement user experiences that make discovering and browsing tens of thousands of products as fun and simple as wading through 2200. We don’t want Fab to be just another online catalogue. That’s why we’re rethinking and re-imagining the entire product discovery process.
Today we took a big step in that direction by adding some simple and easy to use browsing, filtering, and sorting tools.
I’ll demonstrate how it works through an actual example.
Earlier today I was checking out Fab with the hope of buying a cool tee shirt for my 9 year old nephew, Max.
The first thing I did was check out Fab’s social discovery engine, our Live Feed.
There, the first thing I notice is that another Fab user recently bought a a pretty cool Guinea Pig Face Tee Youth.
But I know that Max’s favorite color is red, so I want to see what other Kids Tees might be on Fab.
So, I then check out the new sub-navigation on Fab which shows that under Kids we have an entire section now for Boys.
Alright! Now there’s a bunch of kids Tees.
But, Max loves red, so let’s narrow that down some more.
There we go!
Congrats Max! You’re getting a new T Rex Tee shirt, Red!
While I’m at it, my niece Aliza could really use a new desk, and Aliza loves Pink.
>Desks & Workspace
And there you go. Fab now has created the ability for us to support 10,000+ products living on the site, all easily discoverable.
Much, much, much more to come in this area in the week and months ahead. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the browsing and product discovery experience.
50% of our 5.5 million members joined from social sharing.
20% of our daily traffic comes from social.
Our live feed is one of the most popular features on Fab and one of the biggest conversion drivers from visit to purchase.
We’ve also found that people who use Fab’s social features go on to purchase more than twice as much vs. Fab purchasers who do not.
Mobile is also at the core of Fab.
30% to 40% of Fab’s daily visits come from our mobile apps on iPhone, iPad, and Android.
People who use Fab’s mobile apps convert to purchasers more than twice as often as web-only users, and they purchase twice as often.
Today we are (finally) bringing social and mobile together with what we believe to be an amazingly rich mobile social commerce experience.
Our newly released Fab 3.0 for mobile includes the following new users benefits.
The Fab Live Feed has gone mobile. People can now easily browse rich images of the most recent products that other people are buying and faving. It’s kinda like Instagram for design discovery. And, it’s a great way to see what’s happening on Fab right now through the actions of other people.
In addition to viewing the most recent activities, people can also filter the feed to see just the most popular recent activities. This provides a great way to quickly discover what’s hot on Fab right now, based on what other people are buying and faving most today. I mean, come on, everyone needs a Kitten Face Tee, don’t they? Duh!
And, of course, we also make it simple to browse the recent activities of your friends. You know, those people you know on Facebook, who maybe sometimes can point out an interesting design find for you. Like this fabsome Magnum P.I. TV show blueprint that my buddy Melissa scored earlier today.
We think this new set of mobile social commerce features raises the bar on social product discovery, wherever you are. But, it’s just the start. Much, much more to come from Fab in the weeks and months ahead on both mobile and social. For instance, our team is currently nearing completion of an entirely mobile-first rethink of the Fab experience. Expect to see that even further Fab experience in the coming weeks!
In addition, we’re also finally getting around to integrating Facebook Connect into Fab today! It’s hard to believe that we hit 5.5M members, 50% from social, 20% daily traffic from Facebook, without ever before implementing Facebook Connect. Crazy, but true.
So, starting today, joining or logging into Fab is finally as easy as just hitting the FB Connect button — on the web and via mobile.
Stay tuned. Next week we’ll also be launching some major upgrades on our website designed to help people browse and find Fab’s products even better.
Fab Just Raised $105 Million of New Financing to Help People Better Their Lives With Design
In February 2011 Bradford Shellhammer and I shut down our fledgling social network to start a new business around our common passion: Design. Together with Deepa and Nishith Shah and Veerle Pieters, we set out to build the world’s most compelling marketplace for everyday design.
From the beginning, the Fab formula has been to combine the best designed website and apps, featuring the world’s most exciting product designers, backed by best-in-class operations, supply-chain, and customer service — all designed to make people smile by delivering everyday design inspirations across every product category at great prices. We also dared to question the way e-commerce is done. We’re fun. We’re quirky. We’re colorful. We’re modern. We’re social. We’re mobile. We’re rethinking e-commerce from the ground up.
Fab launched to the public in June 2011 and one year later the enthusiasm of our members has miraculously propelled Fab to be one of the fastest growing e-commerce companies on the planet. Fab’s more than 5 million members have purchased 3.4 products per minute from more than 5,000 designers and Fab now delivers smiles to people in more than 20 countries.
Along the way, our Fab team has grown to consist of 400 of the most passionate design lovers in the world, with offices in Berlin, Deinze, London, New York and Pune. Of all the things that we have accomplished in our first year, building this incredible team and watching them embrace the Fab mission and make it their own has been most rewarding.
Fab’s mission is to help people better their lives with design.
People use Fab to discover everyday design products at great prices, to connect with the world’s most exciting designers, and to share their favorite design inspirations.
And, yet, we’re just getting started.
We know that we’re only as good as our most recent order. We have to earn it each day and challenge ourselves to do better and better. We’re off to a pretty good start, but it’s a long road ahead. This is still just the beginning of the Fab story.
Today marks a major milestone in our journey.
I’m thrilled to announce that Fab has closed $105 million in new “Series C” financing.
The new round of financing was led by Atomico. Atomico is an international technology investment firm focused on helping the world’s most disruptive technology companies reach their full potential on a global scale. Atomico was founded by Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype. I first met Niklas and his partner, Geoff Prentice, back in March of this year. I was immediately struck with their long term view of our business and their perspective on the potential for the Fab brand. Through our discussions it became clear that Niklas, Geoff, and the entire Atomico team shared our vision for Fab. We believe that we have a special opportunity to create one of the world’s next great brands. We believe that Fab can become the definitive global brand synonymous with design. We also know that it will take a steady focus on making our customers smile. It’s not a leap to compare Fab with Skype itself, and with another Atomico investment, Rovio — the makers of Angry Birds. Like Skype and Rovio, Fab is focused on developing and nurturing our long term brand relationship with our customers. We’re building a franchise based on a consistent, thoughtful experience that puts customers first, not profits. We’re focused more on ensuring the long term success of that franchise than we are with near term gains. We’re in this for the long haul. Atomico is the perfect partner to help us grow.
Atomico is already helping us with our global expansion through their impressive footprint in London, Tokyo, Beijing, São Paulo and Istanbul.
Geoff Prentice from Atomico will be joining Fab’s Board of Directors. Welcome Geoff!
Also joining the round are: Andreessen Horowitz (who led our Series B round), Menlo Ventures (who led our Series A round), First Round Capital (who led our Seed round), David Bohnett’s Baroda Ventures (who has participated in every round of Fab financing, ru-Net Technology Partners (RTP), Pinnacle Ventures, Docomo Capital, Mayfield Fund, and Troy Carter.
So, you’re probably asking yourself: What the heck is Fab going to do with $105 million?
Here’s just some of what we’ve got planned:
We’re gonna keep doing what we’re already doing: Focus each day on making our customers smile. We really do believe that if we focus first and foremost on making people smile, lots of money and opportunity will fall out over time. This extends to the technology we develop, the products we sell, and the operations and supply chain we put behind it. It’s all about making people smile. We don’t choose products to sell on Fab based on revenue and margins, we just focus on the Fab smile quotient: The ratio of shares and wows to views. That drives our business.
One of the things we’re working the hardest on is speeding up our ship times. We know all too well that the last thing you want to do is wait more than a couple of days for your next great design find to reach your home or workplace. That’s why we’re literally investing millions of dollars into building Fab warehouses and taking Fab inventory, all towards averaging just a few days on all non-custom orders by end of this year. You will start to see dramatic improvements month-by-month the rest of this year as we work towards this, and by the holidays we are going to enable hundreds of thousands of the world’s best designs to ship out lightening fast. We’re committed to getting this right.
We’ll be dramatically increasing the number of products available on Fab each day. We’ve already been making great progress on that this year, going from 2500 unique products on Fab at the end of 2011 to nearly 10,000 per day now. We’ve got even bigger plans to have tens of thousands of products on Fab in the near future, all easily discoverable and fun to find. We want people to be able to turn to Fab for any design need, be it a sofa, chair, lamp, bed sheet, flatware, poster, a pizza T-Shirt or a jellyfish aquarium, or whatever makes you smile.
We’ll be investing even more in our core differentiators, including: Developing all of our own Technology, launching new innovations in Social and Mobile, growing our Designer Network of more than 5000 designers, bringing even more unique and exclusive products onto Fab, and furthering our Supply Chain expertise and capabilities. We’ve got a number of major projects underway that will position Fab even more as the leading innovator in e-commerce.
￼We’ll continue expanding our global footprint. We anticipate that 20% of Fab’s revenue in 2012 will come from outside the U.S. Today we’re selling in the U.S., Canada, and 18 EU countries. In 2013 we’ll be venturing into additional markets. And, by 2014 we expect more than half of our revenue to come from outside the U.S.
As we raise this enormous amount of money, we do it humbly. We’re just lucky and fortunate to be able to get up each day and do what we love and help people smile and laugh through design. It’s an amazing opportunity and a ton of responsibility that we take very seriously.
“Too many people think that doing more is doing better. The truth is that less really is more. Edit yourself. Getting what’s in front of you right is so much more important than the shiny new thing.”—me
Fab Celebrates Its 1 Year Anniversary By Acquiring Llustre & Launches in The United Kingdom
Since launching in June of 2011 we have worked hard to establish Fab as the world’s design marketplace.
Fab exists for one simple reason: To make you smile. Every day we set out to delight you, inspire you, make you laugh, and give you something to look forward to. We strive to provide the best designed website and apps, selling the best designed products, delivered with the best designed service. We want you to literally LOVE your every interaction with Fab.
What a year it has been. More than 5 million people in 20 countries now turn to Fab for everyday design inspirations and sales. We’ve led the world in social commerce which drives 50% of our signups, and mobile commerce which now amounts to 35% of our daily visits. We’ve developed deep relationships with more than 5,000 designers. We’ve sold design items across all categories and at all price points, from $1 to $20,000. In fact, Fab’s customers purchased 1.8M products this past year. That’s 3.43 products per minute. And, yet, we’re still just getting started.
Today we’re thrilled to announce that Fab is formally launching in the UK and opening our UK offices with the acquisition of Llustre. This is Fab’s 3rd acquisition, having previously acquired Casacanda in Germany to jumpstart our Continental European operations and Fashionstake in the U.S. to launch our independent fashion vertical.
Since launching in April 2012, Llustre has rapidly proven that it has what it takes to be the UK leader in online design sales and inspiration. Llustre’s founders Tracy Doree and Vivienne Bearman have assembled a team of 25 of the most design-passionate individuals we’ve come across anywhere in the world. More than 500 leading design partners are already working with Llustre and their website is nothing short of brilliant. And, the results speak for themselves. Membership and orders have tripled in the past 5 weeks as the word has spread about Llustre’s sales with the likes of Plumen, Normann Copenhagen, Anglepoise, Texidors, Stelton, La Lampe Gras, Falcon Enamelware,
CIA, The Future Mapping Company, Naomi Paul, Black+Blum, Hoganas, and Iittala — most of whom have also been on Fab.
Llustre is relaunching today as Fab UK, found at http://uk.fab.com. People visiting Fab.com from the UK will also be routed to our new UK site. In the coming months we’ll also transition Fab UK onto Fab’s technology, social features, and mobile apps.
We’re also excited to announce that Maria Molland, whom I’ve known since 2008, and who previously ran global businesses and new ventures for Thomson Reuters, will take on the expanded role of Chief European Officer for Fab. Maria joined Fab earlier this year and she has been spearheading our international growth strategy. Tracy Doree from Llustre will work for Maria as Managing Director of Fab UK and head of UK Merchandising, while Tracy’s co-Founder Vivienne Bearman will lead our UK Product & Operations teams. Roman Kirsch continues on as Managing Director of Fab in Continental Europe. Under Roman’s leadership our team in Continental Europe has grown from 30 to 85 people during the past four months while Fab’s membership in Europe has grown to more than 1 million members from 0 at the beginning of the year. While Fab Europe launched in Germany in February, 25% of our European sales are already outside of Germany. In total we expect Europe to contribute about 20% of Fab’s total sales in 2012.
As we’ve said many times, we believe that everyone everywhere benefits from great design. We have a big big vision to bring Fab to every part of the world. A year ago at this time there were 40 of us working on Fab. Today we are selling in 20 countries and Fab now has nearly 400 team members worldwide, with offices in New York, Berlin, London, Pune, and Deinze. We plan to bring Fab to many more countries in the future.
To our sisters and brothers in the UK: Welcome to Fab! You make us smile.
What an incredibly rewarding and humbling year it has been.
We launched on June 9, 2011 with tons of passion and hope that we could build the global brand that is synonymous with design for decades and decades to come. We started a year ago with some simple but powerful core beliefs:
We believe that everyone everywhere benefits from great design.
We believe that great design exists at every price point and in every category.
We believe that everyone needs more color in their life.
We believe that behind every great design there’s an even greater story.
We believe that we are building a team designed for success.
We believe that Fab has the potential to be the world’s greatest design resource.
We believe that we have a special opportunity to build a brand for the decades.
We believe that customers and partners come first, making money comes second. We care less about making money on each transaction and more about making people smile over the long term. If we make people smile, we’ll make plenty of money over time.
We believe that we have a Fab opportunity to be the world’s leading innovator in social commerce.
We really do believe in making people smile. Smile, you’re designed to. Duh.
As we embarked on this amazing journey this past year, we never for a second thought that we couldn’t build something big and meaningful. But, we really had no idea if it was possible.
To be honest, we’ve been so busy focusing on making our customers smile through our normal everyday operations that we forgot to plan any big anniversary celebration. (ooops!)
Instead, as we have always done, here’s a transparent look into year 1 of Fab by the numbers. Here’s just some of what we accomplished in year 1 of Fab:
Fab’s customers purchased 1.8M products this past year. That’s 3.43 products per minute.
We now have 4.75M Fab members. To put that in perspective, it took us 4 months to get to 1 million. We had 1.5M at the end of 2011. 50% of Fab’s members have come via social sharing.
30% to 40% of Fab’s daily visits are now via mobile.
Fab is now selling in 20 countries.
Fab has now worked with more than 5000 design partners.
fab now has more 360 team members worldwide.
And, we’re just getting started.
Thank you to all of our partners, customers, and Fab team members who supported us this year. We love you.
Year 1 was fantastic. It was Fabsome. But it’s really just the very beginning.
Smile, you’re designed to.
Fab exists for one simple reason: To make you smile.
Every day we set out to delight you, inspire you, make you laugh, and give you something to look forward to. We strive to provide the best designed website and apps, selling the best designed products, delivered with the best designed service. We want you to literally LOVE your every interaction with Fab.