bradford shellhammer

3 things you don't know about Fab.com

June 14, 2012: 6:27 AM ET

The design-oriented flash sale site has made lots of headlines. Here are three things you probably don't know about this hot New York startup.

Fab.comFORTUNE -- Launched 13 months ago, Fab.com is a flash sale site that sells design-y wares ranging from vintage graphic posters to high-end dining chairs and hand-crafted terrariums. It's like Gilt Groupe and the MoMA store had a baby. A very popular one. In short order, Fab's founders -- Jason Goldberg, Bradford Shellhammer, Nishith Shah and Deepa Shah -- have managed to make the site stand out from a growing crowd of similar projects. Needless to say, the New York City-based startup, which is backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and betashop, is surging.

Here are three things you probably likely never knew about the site.

It's growing quickly. Very quickly. Unlike a previous endeavor, which maxed out at nearly 30,000 weekly users, Fab.com's user base keeps climbing, propelled by a growing assortment of goods. Last November, the site reported 1 million users; now, 5 million members check it regularly. Goldberg attributes this to an emphasis on an "emotionally-driven business" fueled first and foremost by quality.

There's a fleet of buyers. When Fab.com first launched, Shellhammer hand-picked the goods for sale. But now a group of 25 buyers, many of whom don't have traditional retail backgrounds, select which items are featured. Any one of 180 employees can suggest or veto a selection, and what ends up on the site can be a wide medley, so long of course, as it upholds the company's first pitch to investors: "When someone thinks design, they think Fab."

It wasn't always a design site. Co-founded by Bradford Shellhammer and Jason Goldberg, Fab.com got its start not as a marketplace of goods but as a social network for gay men, dubbed Fabulis.com. "It turns out gay men didn't want it," says Goldberg. "They already had options like Facebook." So last June, they relaunched the site as Fab.com, selling designer clothes, accessories, and housewares.

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