It didn’t last long, but it sure left a mark. Having shown promise early on as a funky, design-minded e-tailer, Fab.com will complete a fire sale of its assets by the end of February, reports Re/code. The company that once had more than $300 million in funding is set to be sold to manufacturing company PCH International for a reported $15 million in combined cash and stock.
The company first reared its head in 2011, announcing its arrival with a flash-sale site selling a range of colorful furniture and home decorations. After a few tumultuous years which smacked more of dotcom excess than contemporary startup (or maybe both), cofounder Bradford Shellhammer left the company that bore his quirky taste, while cofounder and CEO Jason Goldberg stayed on but established the custom furniture site Hem.
Ultimately, as exciting a concept as Fab was, it was also unsustainable in its existing incarnation: something that Fast Company writer Danielle Sacks presciently observed when she profiled the business back in 2013:
For all of Goldberg’s devotion to numbers, he can also be reckless with them. After publicly stating in 2012 that Fab’s global revenues would be $150 million, they came in at $113 million. His revenue projections for 2013 hover somewhere between $200 million and $300 million—two vastly different outcomes. He even admits Fab doesn’t need the hundreds of millions of venture-capital dollars it has raised. “We need, at this point, $100 million less than that [$325 million]. So we’re building ourselves a nice buffer to be able to invest in those opportunities to make some mistakes and learn along the way,” he says. Fab will be spending some of that money on its latest costly gambit: an offer of free shipping and returns, plus a price-matching guarantee. When I ask him to explain the alleged $90 million loss from 2012 and projected $50 million loss this year, he says, “I’m not going to comment on that.”
Shortly after, the company sacked 80% of its workforce, including high-level execs.
With Shellhammer now launching an eerily similar retail site, Bezar, and Goldberg focused on Hem, it’s certainly not the last the word we will hear from the Fab founders.