Sarah Interviews Fab: "Come For the Handwoven Taxidermy Yarn Cat Heads, Stay For the Bedsheets"
I'm at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, listening to Sarah Lacy interviewing the co-founders of Fab.com, Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer. Seeing as I'm here, I figured I'd share some soundbites and factoids and suchlike about how Fab has gone from zero to five million users in about thirty seconds.
In no particular order...
The typical Fab customer who buys two items goes on to buy six.
"All of our business decisions are based on [the question] 'Will this make our customer smile?'"
On the question of how to scale a curated experience: "Put enough unique things into the mix -- 'the wows, the jellyfish aquarium' -- and the charm and allure of the site will rub off onto more mass-produced goods. The things we will make a lot of money with."
[Or to put it another way...]
"People come to the site for the handwoven taxidermy cat heads made out of yarn, and stay for the bedsheets."
Sarah to Bradford: "Do you still do all the curation yourself, or are there lots of sub-Bradfords?"
Bradford: "Of course there are sub-Bradfords. The shoes aren't as good, but it's fine. There are areas I don't know. We sell food. We sell kids stuff. I don't know anything about food. I've never been a kid... Wait, obviously I've been a kid. But I'm not going to have a kid, or buy a kid, or whatever you do."
"It's not rocket science. It's furniture. It's a goddamned chair."
"Groupon is for people who want to save 15 dollars on an eyebrow wax."
"The brands that we love and trust are built up over time. We have that aspiration. We have Ikea-scale ambitions. A real business for the decades."
"The companies we care about are Apple, Ikea, Target. These flash-in-the pan, ecommerce companies are of no interest."
"We'll do $130 - $150 million in revenues this year."
On the Samwer brothers: "Our business is very hard to replicate, because it's a combination of taste and commerce. We didn't want to cede anywhere in the world to anyone. In January the Samwer brothers copied us, even down to using our faces on their site. Our designers wouldn't do business with them, so they just bought stuff retail and resold that. So we launched our own version of Fab in Europe. Three days ago the Samwer brothers shut down their clone. We beat them in the market."
"We've raised $50 million. We aim to make our US business profitable by next year."
"We started off 100 percent drop-shipping. Now 75 percent give through our warehouse."