Rocky McGredy takes a look at Fab.com, which started out as a social network for the gay community, then successfully transformed itself into a flash-sale online store that sells well-designed products such as furniture, jewelry and art. The brand recently announced it had signed up 1 million registered users, and was selling about $1million in merchandising every week. I’d say that was a successful pivot. Now, read what RockyMcG has to say...
For those of you who haven’t heard of Fab.com yet, I guess it’s not that surprising. It’s definitely not on that Amazon level yet, but what is? Either way, Fab isn’t really your average shopping site anyway. No search bar in the upper-right hand corner, no angle to why you should use that site over the many other options out there. It’s not really about that. Fab is about being cool. You know, being trendy and awesome and unique. It’s like the Sharper Image for hipsters– and, being pretty hip myself, I’m pretty stoked off of it.
Basically, logging on to Fab goes like this for me: I login with my account (which, I had to be invited to the site to get), I click through the various sections of intriguingly designed and colorful things, and I drool over the thought of owning such items. It’s a dangerous idea, having the limited inventory that fab does, because you tend to not need anything on the site. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want it all. I can’t quite tell how they do it. I think it’s a combination of things. Fab keeps a limited inventory of products with incredibly cool designs, discounts them majorly, and puts a time limit on how long you can keep things in your cart. If you don’t check out fast, there’s a possibility your cool and inexpensive things can disappear forever!
It’s like a Black Friday sale, all the time.
The point is, this idea works. Fab is apparently reporting over one million in sales every week. This is huge considering they were originally built on a failing model. Though, they weren’t originally in the business of sales at all. Before Fab was in the business of selling well-designed products to the impulsive and trendy, they were a social networking-site geared toward gay audiences. It’s kind of broad to make the connection between the two iterations of the site, but both ideas are pretty “fab” in my book.
I think it’s a pretty amazing story, though. Here’s a business that had one idea that they thought was really going to succeed, but after a year things didn’t quite pan out. So, instead of changing up their tactics for gaining members, they changed what they were doing entirely. The only social aspect of the original Fab that’s left is the fact that you can link it to your Facebook. Before their remodel Fab had only reached about 150,000 members, now they have over a million.
I guess it makes sense, though. Jason Goldberg, the CEO of Fab, seems like a pretty intuitive guy. He also founded Social Median, a news site that sold in a heartbeat to Xing. Not to mention that Ashton Kutcher, who has changed his hat quite a bit in his career as well, is on board as an investor. Considering he’s a young Steve Jobs look-alike, I’d say that this company has a bright future. Oh, I guess it’s that fact and that they convinced me to buy plastic watches like I’ve never bought plastic watches before. Oh wait, I never did buy plastic watches until now.