Fab: Design Inspiration

Having good taste can be expensive. Cost and quality rise at the same rate, and the old adage of “you get what you pay for” remains true. It’s easy to settle for sub-par based on our budgets, but what if you could get some well-designed, quality goods for less than their usual cost?

That’s where Fab comes in. Fab is an invitation-only store that offers discounts on designer items, from custom furnaces and shirts to lamps and chairs and everything in between. They recently released their own iPhone application, and we have the full review.

The Idea behind Fab

Design should be affordable. By teaming up with different designers and shops around the world Fab is able to offer items at a (sometimes steep) discount, making good quality more affordable. They’re able to do this by staying member-only and by offering sales for a limited amount of time.

Look, even the sign in/up page is great.

Look, even the sign in/up page is great.

It was my experience that joining Fab was easy enough. You can request an invite straight from their home page, and if you’re using this app you can sign up for the service right away. Membership to Fab is free, which is definitely a plus.

Viewing Sales

Fab is essentially a set of flash sales and what Fab calls Pop-Up Shops. Sales offer items at up to a 70% discount but only run for a certain amount of time, generally a few days. Pop-Up Shops run longer, with some running for a month or more.

The current sales happen to include couches. Who doesn't like couches?

The current sales happen to include couches. Who doesn't like couches?

From the default view you can narrow what you see down by choosing one of three options: New, Ending Soon or Upcoming. Each of these act as you would expect, allowing you to order items at the last minute or get your credit card ready in advance, depending on what you choose.

Looking at all of the items in a sale.

Looking at all of the items in a sale.

Once you see something that you’re interested you can head into its own page, where you’ll see the different items available, their normal retail price and their Fab price. It’s nice that Fab shows you how much money you’re saving so you know whether it’s worth it to buy through the service or not. You’re also told how much longer the sale will last, offering a sense of relief or urgency depending on when you check in.

Interacting with a Sale

Let’s say that you want to learn more about the shop that you’re looking at. You can simply tap the small arrow button in the top right, where the information will slide out and push the rest of the view down. Often the story behind a sale will be almost as interesting as the sale itself, and there’s plenty of new things that you can find out about with the tap of a single button.

Options for sharing the sale that you're viewing.

Options for sharing the sale that you're viewing.

You can also share what you’re viewing with others. Want to tell everyone on Twitter about the sale that you’re looking at? Go for it. How about Facebook or email? You bet. You can even send someone a sale via SMS, a handy touch for the tasteful luddite in your life.

Looking at an Individual Item

So you’ve found an item that you would like to learn more about. Fab has you covered; simply tap on the picture of the item within its sale and you’re taken to the details page. From this page you can add an item to your cart, view extra photos of the item and get a glance at some more details.

Details on a specific item within a sale.

Details on a specific item within a sale.

This sort of information is useful when you’re looking at something that you aren’t sure about. Being able to view multiple pictures gives you a better idea of what the product looks like, while the bottom of the page will give you actual physical measurements, the Fab guarantee that everything is a genuine product and shipping information.

All of the actions that you can perform in the main sale page are available in the item page as well, with the addition of a Favorite option. Everything works as you would expect it to: if you want to share something, that little trumpet in the top corner should meet your every desire.

Inviting Friends

One neat feature of the iPhone app is the ability to invite friends to Fab. This will give them access to all of the sales that you are enjoying and possibly help you earn a little bit of cash.

You can get some pretty decent cash by getting your friends to sign up.

You can get some pretty decent cash by getting your friends to sign up.

Fab acts the same way many sites act: if someone signs up from your invite you’ll get some credit. Fab seems fairly generous with this; if you invite 10 friends you get a $30 credit, and the numbers only rise from there.

By allowing you to invite other users into the service Fab is surely gaining more customers, but giving back to the person that invited all of those users is a good way to encourage a sense of community with the service. Believe me, once you see some of the items that are available you’ll want to invite all of your friends so you aren’t the only person lusting after all of the goodness in Fab.


Fab is an excellent application and service. While I was originally wary of something that was called “Fab” with a big heart as a period, I’ve found my time with the service to be enjoyable and eye opening. Sticking true to its desire to share good design, Fab’s application is gorgeous and functional, making it a pleasure to use and continue to launch.

I didn’t touch on a lot of the boring details that is a shopping app for a reason: you already know about these things. Of course you can order items or view your cart, otherwise this application wouldn’t be worth the time of day. Those are the things that make Fab passable, while what I mentioned are the things that make Fab great.

If you have been looking for some well-designed goods for your home and you wouldn’t mind getting things for a fair percentage off retail, Fab is the application for you. It might even be worth checking out just for all of the beautiful items within just begging to serve as inspiration.


Fab is an application and service that is bringing excellently designed products to their members-only network for prices that can be significantly lower than retail.