In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Hem—Swedish for “home”—will launch in October and promises easily assembled and customizable furniture.
Fab.com, an e-retailer of design-inspired products, will launch Hem.com in October. Hem, which is Swedish for “home,” will sell furnishings designed in-house that can be shipped quickly, assembled by consumers with few, if any, tools and at prices less than traditional furniture retailers, Fab.com CEO Jason Goldberg says in an e-mail sent to Fab.com customers.
Hem.com is being created in part out of companies Fab.com acquired. These include Massivkonzept, a Hamburg, Germany-based custom furniture retailer Fab acquired last year, and One Nordic Furniture Co., a Scandinavian seller of high-end designer shelves, tables, lighting, chairs and similar products that Fab acquired in June. Fab says its design team is working with factories to manufacture the products that will be sold on Hem.com, a move it says will allow it to “to ensure the highest quality craftsmanship while passing along the lowest possible prices to consumers.”
The site will also allow customers to use customization tools to get the products they want for their home, such as picking fabric colors or putting together a custom wall unit to fit their exact space.
Hem.com has offices in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden.
The Hem launch comes as Fab.com continues to evolve from the flash-sale retail business model it launched with in mid-2011 and which propelled its seemingly overnight success: Fab sales grew more than 538% from 2011 to 2012. The company has raised more than $336 million in funding from investors to date. It moved away from the flash-sale model about a year ago in favor of a more conventional retail strategy of stocking larger quantities of items that it sells for longer periods and warehousing larger selections of the products if offers, allowing it to ship orders faster.
A redesigned Fab.com site debuted in November 2013 with a more traditional look and feel, and one of the three founders of Fab.com, Bradford Shellhammer, left the company. (Shellhammer resurfaced this spring as the chief design officer of outdoor gear e-retailer Backcountry.com, a unit of Liberty Interactive Corp., No. 6 in the Top 500 Guide.)
The transition from flash-sale retailer to a more traditional online retail business model also triggered several rounds of layoffs at Fab.com. In the most recent layoff in May the e-retailer cut 80 to 90 workers in Fab’s New York City office. Those cuts represented one-third of the e-retailer’s global team. Fab.com sales grew 21.7% from 2012 to 2013, according to Internet Retailer’s 2014 Top 500 Guide, where Fab.com ranks No. 183.