Life in the Fab Lane

The Cofounders of Fab Seem to Spend a Lot of Time Threatening to Fire People

Don't hang your jacket on your chair and definitely don't make a mess in the model apartment.
SMILE! (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

SMILE! (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

On a recent visit to Fab’s Manhattan headquarters, we couldn’t help but notice that, with its ultra-bright colors and plentiful candy jars, the office bears a distinct resemblance to a kindergarten.

And this report from Bloomberg News makes it sound like the employees certainly are occasionally treated like children.

For starters, everyone’s apparently told to “send e-mails in a certain font, use high-quality paper and always ‘be Fab.'” Also, you aren’t allowed to hang your jacket over the back of your chair, for some reason.

Now, those probably aren’t the most extreme cultural standards ever instituted by a startup. But Bloomberg also got its hands on a series of emails suggesting that missteps inspire a harsh response.

One missive from CEO Jason Goldberg demanded to know who was responsible for the mess in the company’s model apartment. Otherwise: “Don’t confess and we find out it’s you and you will be fired. Period.” (If you came forward, you got a $100 Fab gift card. Talk about the carrot and the stick.)

Another email said everyone had to upload a photo to the “team” page “in order to be eligible for the next company pay period. No exceptions.”

Then there’s this fun little dispatch:

“An e-mail on Oct. 11 from Shellhammer, who serves as chief design officer, forbids people from modeling Fab’s products. Employees had been inserting themselves into shots of the company’s wares posted on its website. ‘If you have time to model, you have time to get fired,’ Shellhammer wrote.”

Bloomberg also points to major departures, including the chief marketing officer, plus directors of communications, HR, buying and logistics, but Mr. Goldberg denies that their turnover rate is anything out of the ordinary.

Mr. Goldberg confirmed the emails but downplayed their severity, calling that last one a joke. He told Bloomberg, “This is a little bit of our sass.” (Frankly, the only thing we can imagine more stressful than a boss threatening pink slips over minor infractions is a boss who jokes about it.) He also admitted he and his cofounder are “hard-driving” and “a little bit tough sometimes.”

Guess they take their “emotional commerce” really seriously.

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