Acquisitions

Fab.com Buys Llustre and Opens Up Shop in the UK

They don't want you to call it a clone, either.
fab uk 2 Fab.com Buys Llustre and Opens Up Shop in the UK

Name-changer. (Photo courtesy of Fab.com)

Fab took another step toward design-savvy world domination today, with the announcement that the company has acquired the British Isles’ own Llustre, which will become Fab UK. The move follows the February purchase of Casacanda and relaunch as Fab.de.

In a statement released this morning, Mr. Goldberg also announced that Maria Molland, previously of Thomson Reuters, will now be Chief European Officer for Fab, a role which is clearly on a growth track.

Shortly after the news broke this morning, CEO Jason Goldberg and CCO Bradford Shellhammer appeared across the pond at Le Web, where they were grilled good-naturedly by Mike Arrington about the announcement. Curious to know more about the team’s U.K. plans, we caught the talk via livestream.

Most of all, Mr. Arrington wanted to know why Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Shellhammer decided to buy “a clone” rather than “crushing” Llustre. The Fab.com certainly hadn’t responded well to the existence of the Samwer brothers’ copycat Bamarang; why give quarter to this company?

For one thing, Fab decided to move fast in Europe, and the U.K. market required a good team. They could either build or acquire one, and “Bradford fell in love with the team here,” explained Mr. Goldberg.

But the pair also disputed Arrington’s characterization of their new purchase. Mr. Shellhammer argued that Llustre, rather than a mere cheap copy of Fab.com, had its own precise buying aesthetic and “unique point of view.” “It’s very British, it’s very ethereal, it’s very pretty,” he elaborated, adding that he looks forward to seeing how that point of view might influence the U.S. store.

They also said they’re planning to grow Llustre’s staff of 25 dramatically. But they wouldn’t disclose how much they paid.

Another interesting tidbit from the talk? Fab.com’s single bestselling product of all time is a high-end vibrator, and all in all the site has sold “thousands and thousands” of vibrators. Mr. Arrington looked surprised, which suggests to us he has a rather limited view of “luxury.”

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com