Flash sales sites that offer heavy discounts for a few hours at a time have proliferated online, but one company is hoping to spin its site into a line of brick and mortar stores. Design-focused sales site Fab got its start as gay social networking site Fabulis and later turned to flash deals, but as Wired reports, it's been moving into general online commerce, and CEO Jason Goldberg says it will soon be opening physical retail stores. "We think we can create an amazing experience," he says. "The question for us is when, not if." Goldberg detailed parts of the company's evolution in a blog post last week, but these are some of the first details.
Instead of relying on selling overstocked inventory, a risky model with often thin profit margins, Fab has been growing steadily and building its own supply chain, offering both flash sales and a consistently available line of products. "We found that people weren’t coming to Fab with the perception of getting a deal," CEO Jason Goldberg tells Wired, "so we saw an opportunity to build a long-term brand." He insists that physical Fab stores, likely starting with an NYC flagship next year, would "reinvent the entire retail experience." Physical versions of online stores are becoming increasingly common, with both general businesses like eyewear seller Warby Parker and more niche companies like Makerbot opening permanent retail outlets.