Innovation Agents: Fab’s Bradford Shellhammer Embraces Risk, Defines Design

“People who embrace design, it infiltrates their entire life,” says cofounder (and Most Creative Person 2012) Bradford Shellhammer. “Once you go there, it’s hard to go back.”

It’s particularly true for his company, which started as a limping social networking site for gays but pivoted into a wildly popular hub for shoppers. Fab grabs them with a meticulously curated array of neat stuff. Before visitors know it, they’re design junkies.

Shellhammer shares one trait with other Innovation Agents, however: He and his partner took a giant risk on a big idea, one that meant shuttering a site they had poured their hearts into. “We had a 15-minute board meeting,” Shellhammer says, in which they pitched the idea of turning the lights off on their social hub Fabulis and relaunching it as an e-commerce site. “We invest in people, not ideas,” his board reassured him. Here’s the rest of the story from the person behind big idea of