To date, I've backed three fashion related companies--Refinery29, chloe + isabel, and Ringly--and now I have the pleasure of joining the syndicate of investors in Bradford Shellhammer's new company, Bezar.
Could I a less likely candidate for such a portfolio? :)
Bezar is where you find people who design the kinds of things that I see in other people's apartments and stop to pick up, inspect, wonder at and think, "That's awesome... I would have never thought of adding that to this place."
It's the kind of place where you buy clothing that make people notice because it's cool and interesting--even people like me, currently typing this with a Mets t-shirt on and jeans that I bought at Macy's.
It's a platform that puts the emerging designer up to be celebrated and I'm just as excited for the designers that are going to be featured on the site as I am for Bradford and his terrific team.
How I got to this investment was another long term story. I was a huge Fab.com buyer in the early days when we backed it at First Round Capital. It was the only marketing e-mail I opened up everyday--because it always had the coolest stuff. Each e-mail brought with it something that I felt that need to tweet and share--and many, probably too many times, something I bought.
That was the core of what Bradford brought to that company. It was built around his design sense.
But Fab fell into the trap that many companies who go down the VC route fall into--too much money, too soon, and growing too fast. Money pushed the whole thing off the rails and made it into something that wasn't the exciting thing it was when it first launched.
After Bradford left, I reached out to him and asked him to get dinner. I wanted to hear his lessons learned and help him figure out his next thing. Small world, it turns out I also knew his husband from the finance world having met him over 10 years ago.
We had a great chat and stayed in touch. When he told me he was launching Bezar and asked me to be involved, I was thrilled. Fab was a huge part Bradford, and Bradford is Bezar, but Bezar is not Fab. It's so much more.
The team is hard at work improving upon the concept of a designer focused site that will inspire the creative juices in all of us. It's fitting to be led by someone who experienced and learned a lot in his first time around. Bradford said something to me that I think every entrepreneur should consider, "This might not be a billion dollar company."
The list of companies where if only *someone* had said that at any point, especially the VCs involved, things would have turned out differently is as long as my arm.
Not to mention the fact that a lot of billion dollar companies get there by not necessarily trying to be a billion dollar company on paper, but by obsessively focusing on the customer experience, building a team that shares your mission, and just executing well. I'm excited to watch and help this team get there, no matter what that final number winds up being.