50. Bradford Shellhammer

Cofounder of Chief Creative Officer of Fab, How To Compete In Online Retail

50. Bradford Shellhammer

When the flash-sale site Fab launched last summer, featured retailers scored about $10,000 in sales–a miracle in an uneasy economy. Then the site blew up: Now sellers can net $100,000, and the site itself raised $50 million in venture funding. Bradford Shellhammer attributes the success to simple principles:


1. Relax control of visuals.

2. Tap into emotions.

3. Re-create the real world.

4. Don’t distract users from the product.


  • 1984

    Receives Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual from uncle for Christmas; discovers first style icon

  • 1994

    Sees the band Erasure in concert in the front row; falls in love with glitter and feathers

  • 1999

    Meets Fab cofounder Jason Goldberg on the dance floor at NYC’s Roxy

  • 2001

    Moves to San Francisco to start working at FIDM critiquing student portfolios

  • 2007

    Graduates from Parsons with a degree in fashion design; hates sewing and sketching and decides not to enter the fashion world

  • 2008

    Opens retail stores for Design Within Reach and Blu Dot

  • 2011

    Pivots old business idea for Fabulis, a social network for gay men; writes business plan for with Goldberg on a restaurant napkin

  • 2011

    Meets design gurus Milton Glaser and Dieter Rams in the same week

  • 2012 hits 3.5 million members and 1.2 million products sold