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Fab.com Moves Beyond Flash Sales

Startup partners with Fast Company for online pop-up shop

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Fab.com recently re-launched as a flash-sales site, but CEO Jason Goldberg says he has bigger ambitions—he wants to create the one-stop online store for well-designed goods, regardless of sales model. So today, Fab.com is revealing the next piece of its business model, which it calls an "online pop-up shop."

Similar to a real-world pop-up shop, Fab's new stores are built around a specific theme and only last for around one month. Ideally, a pop-up store should build some of the buzz that accompanies a temporary sale, while also lasting longer than Fab's flash sales, which end after only a few days. Some of these stores will be built with partners. For example, the first store offers goods from designers included in Fast Company's feature on American designers. Others will be curated solely by Fab—like the second pop-up store, which will focus on T-shirts.

Fab actually started out as a gay social networking site called Fabulis, then moved to its current website late last year. Even though Goldberg ultimately decided that there wasn't a big opportunity in that market, he decided to keep the URL—and the team's next idea seemed liked a good fit for the Fab.com address, too.

Having only launched in June, Fab.com may seem like a copycat of fashion flash sales sites like Gilt Groupe, but Goldberg said he's actually not that interested in fashion per se. When he showed off the site last week, furniture and other home accessories dominated the sales. Fab.com has also sold online goods like a subscription to video-site Vimeo. Goldberg added that unlike fashion-focused sites, Fab's merchants are less concerned about disposing of excess inventory and more interested in reaching a new sales channel. The designers and goods are all approved by Fab employees or other curators connected with the company. It's all united by good design, though Goldberg emphasized that that doesn't necessarily mean super-fancy or expensive: "We don't want to be design snobs."

Fab.com's investors include Menlo Ventures, First Round Capital, The Washington Post Company, SV Angel, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Rose, and others. It now has around 600,000 members.