Dezeen Magazine

Fab taking a break from selling designers work in Europe

Fab "taking a break" from selling designers' work in Europe

News:  online design retailer Fab has changed its strategy yet again, ending its relationship with external designers and brands across Europe and instead focusing on selling its own custom-designed furniture.

The changes were announced on Fab's European website today. "We’re transitioning our business in the EU to focus solely on growing our popular custom-designed furniture line," the site says.

"We have decided to focus our European business on our custom-made furniture, which will give you access to affordable, high-quality, made-to-measure sofas, shelving, tables, and beds, and more," it adds. "This has been a very successful aspect of Fab's business in Europe to date, which we will continue to invest in and grow."

While the US, Canadian and Australian Fab sites will remain the same as before, the European site will now focus on selling own-brand goods.

"While we focus on bringing custom-made, high-quality furniture to customers in the EU, we’re taking a break from selling products made by others in the EU region at this time," the site explains. "We are still working with designers to develop products that you may eventually see on Fab."

The move comes less than four months after Fab held its latest Disrupting Design event in London, where it asked young designers to pitch products to be sold on the site.

"I have dozens, if not hundreds, of stories of designers whose lives have changed through selling on Fab," said Fab co-founder Bradford Shellhammer in an interview with Dezeen at the time. "Designers can make more money than they would at one of these old-school design manufacturing brands licencing their products, because we have an audience."

Other senior staff, including senior vice president creative Tracy Dorée, have also left the company. Dorée joined Fab after Llustre, the UK flash sales startup she co-founded, was bought by the American site in June 2012, just ten weeks after Llustre's launch.

The latest move comes after a traumatic last year for the company that was once valued at over $1 billion, but which has seen its value and audience decline.

Shellhammer, Fab's chief design officer, stepped down from his role at the company in November last year, just after the company laid off 101 employees - around 20% of its workforce.

In July it had announced it was moving away from its earlier reliance on "flash" sales towards being a more traditional retailer, selling products designed and made by a wide range of suppliers.

Around the same time, around 100 employees at its European headquarters in Berlin were laid off and operations centralised in New York.

In April last year, Fab announced it would be manufacturing its own products for the first time and bought German custom-made furniture website MassivKonzept, which is thought to be the inspiration behind its latest move into customised products.

The announcement published on Fab today explains how the new European site will work: "[It] means that our customers in the EU will have access to affordable, high-quality, made-to-measure furniture at their fingertips. You can configure our shelving, table, and seating systems online to create quality furniture that meets your needs perfectly.

"You choose the dimensions, colour and materials, and our skilled cabinetmakers will make your furniture and turn your designs into a happy reality."