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A Start-up About-Face: From Fabulis to Fab

Bradford Shellhammer and Jason Goldberg explain how their unloved social network for gay men became a design daily deal site with 1.6 million members.
VIDEO  •  HOW I GOT STARTED
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Video Transcript

00:00 Bradford Shellhammer: I'm Bradford Shellhammer, co-founder of Fab.com and the company's Chief Creative Officer.

00:06 Jason Goldberg: And I'm Jason Goldberg, Founder and CEO of Fab.com and between the two of us, we've built the company together.


00:21 Jason Goldberg: We got together in 2010 to start a company called Fabulis, which is a social networking site and we did that for a year. But we just didn't see how that had a path to become a huge business. And we could just never get to that point where the people we knew and the people that we're close with said, "I love this product". And that's where we kinda said to ourselves, "Alright, why should we spend another day, yet alone another dollar, working on something that we don't think is something the people that we know and care about and care about us, want to use. And so that was that "A-ha" moment of saying, "Well, let's build something that everyone we know wants to use." And so we got together in early 2011 and said, if we could do anything what would we do? Which was a great exercise for us and we kinda had this decision matrix of looking at three things; One is, what are we most passion about? The second is, what could we be the best in the world at? The third is, could we do it in a great market where there's a big opportunity? And every answer of that question came down to design, design, design.


01:28 Bradford Shellhammer: That's the foundation of the company and I think it allow for us to easily admit that what we had built over the previous year was not a success and it gave us I think confidence to having someone pat our back and going to our board and saying, "Hey, we have your money but we wanna do something completely different.

01:56 Bradford Shellhammer: I think timing was right too. I think that other sites have kind of trained people on this type of shopping. Your quilts and the One Kings Lane, in the world and there are people like ourselves, design people, who kind of felt left out from this whole new kind of crop of... Where everyone else was shopping. And it's like, "Why isn't someone doing this for us?"

02:23 Jason Goldberg: The first thing we did, and this all happened frankly in the matter of three weeks. So, from the point where Bradford and I decided that we wanted to change courses, the following happened all within three-week period. We went from 10 employees here in New York to three. We really want to focus just on the people who are gonna be part of the next phase of the business. The second thing was we went and got our board of directors to very quickly say, "Hey, we're behind this and we support this move." The third thing was we immediately shut down the old site. We immediately took this mentally that we're gonna do one thing, do that one thing better that anyone else in the world, and we don't want to be distracted at all by anything else beside our one thing. We are just focusing on design. That's all we do is design. Everyday we wake up and all we think about is design. And basically went from dinners in February where we said, "We're gonna change the business," to shutting down the site in March, to launching some initial features in April, to launching ourselves in June to 1-1/2 million members, 50 million plus run rate at the end of the year.


03:35 Jason Goldberg: We're growing fast because we make people smile everyday. We're breathing kind of freshness, color into an otherwise, kind of fairly black and white, kinda boring e-commerce world. And everyday we delight people with the daily dose of design and its just stuff that makes people smile.

Last updated: Jan 26, 2012




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