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.
Smile, you’re designed to.