He’s back! Today Fab.com creator Bradford Shellhammer launched his latest endeavor, Bezar, the eagerly anticipated e-commerce site featuring quirky products in the art, house, jewelry, and accessories categories. Missing some quirk in your life? Shellhammer tells us what’s in store.
How did Bezar come alive?
It was born when I came up with Fab. There was a need for a more fun, vibrant place to shop online, and a place for smaller designers to show their wares. These are the people that I know in my personal life. Fab hit a nerve for a while. I walked away from that feeling a little like damaged goods, because I gave it my heart and soul and it changed into something that wasn’t the original vision. I was waiting for someone to come along, and no one did. I still had artists asking if I could introduce them to retailers. It was obvious to me that as a customer, my desire to shop wasn’t being serviced. There was also such great supply on the designer’s side. It’s hard to get your products into retail today. It’s hard for a small brand to sell to the larger retailers, because of the margins, and because they have a huge amount of inventory. The current retail landscape is not set up for the little guy. I missed shopping and I don’t like paying full retails.
How did you come up with the initial list of designers?
The last six months before founding Bezar, I made a pin board with 2,200 designers I loved. A large percentage were on Fab, but not all of them. It was everything from fashion brands to homewear brands. It was a motley crew. When the news launched that we were starting the site, we had 1,300 designers fill out our online submission form and ask to be considered. Day one is a mix of things we’ve stumbled upon, love, and [is from] our best friends. Most of what you’ll see is brands you’ve never seen before.
What’s the aesthetic of the site?
A celebration of color is really important to us. Modern, youthful, graphics, and there’s a little bit of whimsy in all of the products. They’re smart. It’s not serious. We take materials and makers seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s an optimistic and fun place. I want to give an alternative to what’s already out there.
How often will things change?
Every day. Seven days a week. 365 days a year. We’re going to launch four designers every day in our categories of art, jewelry, fashion accessories, and house.
What’s the price point?
There will be something for everybody. Our goal is to have 75 percent of what you see on the site for under $100. This is impulse buying. You aren’t coming to the site with a purpose, you’re coming to be enticed.
How are you getting the word out about the site?
Our first strategy is organic, so everyone under my and the founding team’s personal network, coupled with good old fashioned press and PR. Whoopi Goldberg is also an advisor to the company. Those three strategies have helped us get a nice chunk of people registered on day one.
How did Whoopi get involved?
She was a huge fan of Fab. The day I quit, I got an e-mail from her team saying that she wanted to meet me. They invited me to The View to meet her. She walked in and put her arms around me and said, ‘You have the best taste in the world! I want to be involved in whatever you do next!’ I didn’t see her for a year, but I picked up the phone and said, ‘If you really meant what you said a year ago, I’m starting this company.’ She’s not an investor or spokesperson, but she’s a shareholder and helps us with getting the word out to a larger audience. She also has really good taste and has turned me on to a lot of great design brands.
How do you resist from buying everything?
I don’t! Have you ever seen pictures of my house? I have an addiction. I can’t control myself when it comes to shopping.