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Seven Questions for Bradford Shellhammer, Fab’s Chief Design Officer

Fab made a splash in Milan with more than cushy Warhol Brillo boxes. The online retailer invited designers from around the world to pitch new products for the chance to have them produced and sold on Fab. More than 150 creative types from 30 countries turned out, and now it’s onto New York. In addition to showcasing its new private label alongside collaborations with the likes of the Albers Foundation and Blu Dot at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which opens to the trade tomorrow, Fab is hosting another “Disrupting Design” competition.

The fearless leader of the judging panel will be Fab co-founder and chief design officer Bradford Shellhammer. “At Fab, we are constantly reinventing ourselves and rethinking what Fab can be,” he says. “By directly engaging with designers to find the best new work out there, we’re hoping to help even more of our members find things they love.” Today’s ever-changing offering ranges from a Louis Ghost Chair signed by Philippe Starck and vintage Kodak Brownies to a subscription to BirdWatching magazine and a pepperoni pizza t-shirt. Shellhammer paused in his booth preparations (find Fab at #1220 at ICFF) to answer our questions.

How did the Disrupting Design competition go in Milan last month?
We were overwhelmed by the response in Milan, which is why we’ve decided to do it again in New York during ICFF. We had so many great entries from all over the world when we did the call out in Milan. Initially we were planning on selecting three winning designs, but we couldn’t narrow it down so we ended up shortlisting twelve designs which we are working to put into production and sell on Fab–the revenue of which we of course share with the winning designers.

What advice would you give to those interested in presenting their designs to the Fab jury on Tuesday at ICFF?
Take a look at our site and keep the Fab viewpoint in mind when presenting. The winning designs from Milan all embody the Fab ethos–they tell great stories, utilize interesting materials, or have a sense of whimsy. We are looking for designs that will be appreciated by our global community of more than 12 million design lovers.

What are some qualities of a successful product on Fab?
Great products tell a story, elicit emotions, or solve problems. It’s that simple. It needs to check at least one of those boxes (hopefully all three). They can be in any category and at any price, as long as there’e something compelling.

What is a product that you’ve sold on Fab that has surprised you, in terms of expected versus actual interest from customers?
Yves Behar‘s medicine accessories for Sabi I thought may be targeted for a customer older than ours, but we sell a lot of them!

What is your greatest design pet peeve?
Stools! Everyone designs a stool. I am sick of seeing stools.

What has been your best or most memorable design-related encounter?
Meeting Milton Glaser before we launched and going through his poster archives. After that meeting he agreed to allow me access to them all and we launched with him on day one! Touching real Warhols at the Foundation’s archives, too, was a great treat.

What is the most unusual thing currently on your desk?
One pound of gummi bears. no really.

Previously on UnBeige:
Meet Fab.com: Pre-Launch Q&A with Founder Jason Goldberg
Fab Flip-Flops on Fashion, Acquires Indie Marketplace FashionStake
Fab Nabs $105 Million in Latest Funding Round
Fab Hits the Airwaves with First TV Ad

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