Bezar, the e-commerce site launched last year by Fab.com cofounder Bradford Shellhammer, has been acquired by AHAlife, a global online luxury marketplace. Starting today, the Bezar brand will point to AHAlife, and several Bezar team members will be joining AHAlife’s Brooklyn offices. Shellhammer said in an interview with Fast Company that he plans to stay on as an advisor and help with the transition.
"I am going to take an active role in shepherding over our 13,000-plus designers on our platform as well as our customers and much of my team," Shellhammer says. "It’s really an acquisition in the sense that the brand assets will become AHAlife and as well as our relationships with designers, our social media presence, and much of the team."
Shellhammer says he’s been in talks with AHAlife founder and CEO Shauna Mei about the possible acquisition for several months. "When we got to talking this summer, as I had the options of what we wanted to do with Bezar in front of me, she and I kept coming back to the same conversation, that together we’d be a much stronger force than apart," he says.
Whereas the one-year-old Bezar has focused on hosting U.S. designers and shipping only within the U.S., AHAlife is a global marketplace that ships to more than 200 countries, and has a successful mobile app, which gives Bezar’s designers a much bigger platform on which to sell their goods. For AHAlife, the acquisition means additional market share.
The news comes on the heels of rumors that Bezar was facing fundraising troubles last month. At the time, Shellhammer didn’t comment for our story, but says his hands were tied because he was in the midst of talks with AHAlife. He launched Bezar after leaving the embattled Fab.com and told Fast Company at the time that he envisioned a marketplace to rival the likes of Etsy for highly curated goods. The brand raised $2.25 million early last year.
"I look back and I’m like, we built a really beautiful brand that stood out from the clutter and we built it the way we wanted to build it," he says. "It came down to, what’s the best way to keep the vision alive? Maybe it means the brand you built this year, Bradford, goes away and that’s okay because it wasn’t a vanity project for me. I really want designers to have the best chance to compete with the big guys, and this is how we saw a path forward to do it."