In early November, Bradford Shellhammer left a company that once seemed like a rocket ship, Fab. Fab quickly gained millions of users and was rewarded by investors with hundreds of millions of dollars.
Since then Fab has taken a turn and Shellhammer, who co-founded the company, has moved on. He departed in early November and now Business Insider has learned what he’s up to next.
Shellhammer, who was Fab’s Chief Design Officer, is launching Shellhammer.co. He will consult businesses in design, digital merchandising and branding.
He’s had a diverse career centered around design, which began long before he co-founded Fab in 2010 with Jason Goldberg.
“I’m still coming down off the high that was Fab,” Shellhammer told Business Insider. “I’ve always sort of worked for myself…and I’m at this really interesting place in my life where people really want to know what I’m doing next.”
He isn’t after another fast-paced, investment-heavy startup — at least not yet. With Shellhammer.co, Shellhammer aims to help others succeed in business, whether they’re startups in need of talent or established companies that could benefit from his artistic eye.
“I’m going to help other creative people with their startups, and try to help some of the magic we created at Fab rub off on them,” he said.
Shellhammer has already gotten started. He’s taken an advisory roles at four startups all run by women — Simply Framed, 72Lux, Heartwork, and Reissued.
“I was really looking to add someone to the board who was a successful entrepreneur with a breadth of experience,” said Heather Marie, the founder of 72Lux. 72Lux helps websites sell featured products. Her clients range from The Wall Street Journal to Teen Vogue and she’s looking to expand the business.
“His background really matches with what we’re doing at 72Lux, which is making media profitable,” Marie continued. “Fab grew so fast and I heard so much about them. I heard that they had a great culture and people credited Bradford with that.”
The companies that Shellhammer is advising are all different, but they each benfit from the skills he’s nurtured throughout his career. Heartwork, for example, is a retailer that sells modern office furniture. Fab sold a lot of that too. Its designs are warm and creative; they inject positivity into the work place.
Karen John, Heartwork’s founder, was eager to gain Shellhammer’s insight.
“He only thinks outside the box,” said John. “It’s no coincidence that Fab stands for design and innovation. That’s Bradford…Other sites that came up at the same time don’t stand for that.”
When he isn’t advising startups, Shellhammer is busy rounding up clients. One of them is Lorenzo Martone. Shellhammer is working with his bicycle company, Martone Cycling, on its office’s design.
“Bradford, simply put, is the best curator I have ever come across in 25 years of global consumer business experience,” said Backcountry’s CMO Scott Ballantyne in an email. “So when I heard that he was starting his own company, I called him immediately to help us shape our vision, creative processes and aid in curation. [He’s also helping with] site design and brand ethos.”
Ballantyne was formerly CMO of Fab. He and Shellhammer worked together well then, and he knows they’ll work well together again.
Over the last few weeks Shellhammer’s schedule has been dizzying — travelling from New York to Berlin to Utah, where Backcountry is based. He’s meeting people, making connections and learning. From all that, he hopes his next great business idea will arise.
“I didn’t build Fab by myself,” said Shellhammer, “but what I did do at Fab — the spirit and the soul and the energy and the design — that came from a place deep inside of me. It’s still alive and well at Fab but I’ll carry it with me always.”
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