GROW

Eye Roll: Fab Announces More 'Pivots'

Jason Goldberg ought to match storytelling about Fab.com, the design site he co-founded, to the site's popularity.
Full Transparency: Jason Goldberg's door is always open--the better to shout at his co-founder, Bradford Shellhammer.
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In start-up circles, Fab.com has become pretty famous for its fabulous pivot.

In March 2011, the site was a struggling social network for the gay community. But then, after much soul-searching (and an honest assessment of its weak performance), site founders Bradford Shellhammer and Jason Goldberg reconceived and relaunched Fab.com as a flash sale service for designer home goods. They saw immediate success.

Within six months, Fab.com came close to one million members, and raised more than $40 million in new funding. By November and December, revenue was reportedly $10 million.

But this week, Goldberg took to the company's blog to announce that not only had Fab quietly "pivoted" a second time this year, but that the company will do so a third time in 2013.

Wait, what?

Let's start with the so-called second pivot. 

"We're now ready to pull the covers off of the massive pivot Fab has successfully undergone in 2012, from design flash sales, to the world's leading everyday design retailer," he wrote.

Sigh. "Pivot" is just an overused buzz word that's starting to take away from the company story.

The available numbers alone are pretty strong. In the last year, for instance, Fab.com has: 

  • Grown to 10 million members from 1.5 million. 
  • Hit an all-time-high sales day "in the millions of dollars"; in 2011, it was $300,000. 
  • Increased its employee count to more than 600 from 85. 
  • Raised gross margins 25% over last year.
  • Made mobile purchases one-third of total sales, up from 15%.

And what's with Fab Pivot 2013?

Goldberg wrote: 

"We'll be pivoting towards a new model that we are not yet ready to reveal publicly. That pivot will be gradual. I can promise you one thing: It will be 100% towards delivering the best customer experience in the world for discovering everyday design. We'll offer even more unique products supported by an even better experience."

Doesn't sound like a new direction to me.

IMAGE: Mark Peterson
Last updated: Dec 14, 2012

NICOLE CARTER | Staff Writer | San Francisco Bureau Chief

Nicole Carter is Inc.'s San Francisco bureau chief. She was previously an editor at New York Daily News, and her work has also appeared in Consumer Reports magazine.




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