Embattled Retail Startup Fab Acquired, Sans CEO

The company's 35 remaining employees will stay on through the transition.
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Eliza Brooke
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The company's 35 remaining employees will stay on through the transition.
Fab co-founders Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer in 2013. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Fab co-founders Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer in 2013. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Fab.com has experienced a tumultuous journey since its inception as a social network for gay men: It eventually became an e-commerce destination for quirky decor and accessories and was more recently folded into a new home goods startup called Hem; but it could soon have a second chance under new ownership. On Tuesday, Hem and Fab co-founder Jason Goldberg announced that the Fab portion of the business had been sold to PCH International for an undisclosed sum, although some sources are saying that the deal was worth upwards of $15 million.

PCH, which provides manufacturing solutions to brands, confirmed the sale on its own blog, noting that Goldberg has stepped down as CEO and will no longer be involved in the business. (Fab's other co-founder, Bradford Shellhammer, left the company in 2013 and recently launched his own design marketplace, Bezar.) Renee Wong, Fab's general manager, will remain on board through the transition, as will 35 staffers. At its peak, Fab employed 700 people, a number that got whittled down in round after round of layoffs

This isn't the end of Fab, though. PCH, also an early investor in the tech-enabled jewelry startup Ringly, actually plans to hire in several departments and is looking into partnering with up-and-coming designers to bring their products to market on the site, leveraging its own manufacturing prowess and what's left of Fab's pull as a retailer.

This could be one of the better possible outcomes for Fab, whose story is widely considered to be a cautionary tale against the perils of scaling up too quickly.