“I don’t give a shit
if our sales are $130
million or $170
million. I care about
the brand we’re
the emotional bond
we have with our
going to do $150 million in sales this year,
but, frankly, I don’t give a shit if our sales
are $130 million or $170 million. I care
about the brand we’re building and the
emotional bond we have with our customers.” Those are both critical—and fragile.
Right now, I’m focused on how to scale to
$1 billion. The best way to get there is
to stick to our business goal: If we make
people smile, lots and lots of money will
follow over time.
We call our customer service team
members Crackerjacks, to describe people
who go above and beyond. We look for
young, hungry, smart people. We tell them
up front that if they spend six months as a
Crackerjack, they can go anywhere in the
company. It’s our mailroom. Both Bradford
and I spend a few hours every month with
customer service. We take calls from Fab
users and respond to e-mails and tweets
to make sure we’re always in tune with
what’s going on.
Every day, I scan Twitter for Fab references—if there’s a
problem, you hear about it there first. I also read our app
reviews in the i Tunes store. We released a new version last May
that got a few one-star reviews—usually we get five stars. So we
dug around, and we found out from our users that they didn’t
like one of the features. It was a “Who moved my cheese?” kind
of thing, but we decided to improve it.
travel often—about two weeks out of every
month. We acquired Casacanda, a design site in
Berlin, in February. Since the acquisition, Bradford and I have been going to Germany every
month. There are 105 people in that office. We
also acquired the British design company Llustre
in June, so now we are also traveling to London
a lot. We’re growing so fast that it made more
sense to acquire these two companies doing similar things rather than build new ones from
scratch. We’ve mirrored a lot of teams from here
to there, so processes are the same. We really want
Fab to be Fab everywhere, from the merchandise
to the customer experience and the operations.
Still, culture is the biggest challenge.
Bradford and I designed the culture here—we’re the hardest-working bunch of misfits in the world. He and I spend one to
three hours each week interviewing potential hires. If they’re
overseas, or if we’re traveling, we’ll Skype. The heads of each
team interview for function, and then Bradford and I interview
for fit. We want this person to be part of our family.
Bradford and I do the interviews together, and we always ask
certain questions. I like to ask people what their parents taught
them. And I have them tell me about the most stressful situation they’ve ever had and how they dealt with it. I also ask
people to help me solve a problem I’m thinking about, and I’ll
often give homework assignments. And I always ask people
what they’ve seen on the site that they liked recently. We’re
really looking to see, Do potential hires have genuine passion
for what we do? Or do they just want a job? We also look for
ambition. We don’t want people who are just coming in to do
a job—we want people who want to be the best at what they
do. As a result, we say no to about 20 percent of the people that
we sit down with, and we have very little turnover.
Sometimes, I joke that I have two wives. I married my partner, Christian Schoenherr, in August. But Bradford is sort of
my first wife—he dictates more of my life. In all seriousness,
Chris and I have one date night a week, and Bradford and I do,
too, but the dates are very different. Chris and I spend that time
getting our minds off work, going out to a nice restaurant,
relaxing, and catching up. Bradford and I get out of the office
to talk about what is going on in the office.
When I am in New York, Chris comes to the office to pick
me up at 7 every night, and we go to the gym together. Chris
knows that if he doesn’t come here to get me, it could be 8: 30
or 9 before I leave the office. But that’s also our time together.
We enjoy working out together. Then we go home, make dinner, and walk our dog, Rupey.
It’s important to have downtime—to get out of the day to
day and think about what’s coming ahead. Part of my job is
managing today, but a larger part has to be figuring out where
we have to go tomorrow.