Yesterday, trendy online furniture and bow tie warehouse Fab canned a full fifth of its company. Here's the (leaked) email sent to everyone who wasn't fired, detailing what the company will do the day after a bloodletting:
Today is a tough but important day for Fab.
We have been meeting as a management team regularly since July to put together a definitive plan that will set Fab up for the most success for the future. This culminated in a presentation to our Board of Directors last week.
We have decided that the best path forward for Fab is for us to accelerate our path to profitability. Being profitable may seem like a nebulous and far-off goal that isn’t related to your day-to-day, but it is very important for our viability as a company. Being profitable means we control our own destiny and can invest more and more of our resources towards providing benefits for our customers in a long-term, sustainable manner.
To get profitable while providing our customers with benefits like exclusive merchandise, free shipping, free returns, and low prices, we can’t just grow revenue. We also have to carefully manage our costs. This has led us to figure out ways to refine our plans to do better with fewer people. I can assure you, we are not just going to do the same things with fewer people, rather we are narrowing our focus to just the things we can and will be the best at.
Today we took a difficult but important step towards profitability by eliminating about 100 positions at the company, including 84 from the New York office. As you can imagine, this was not easy to do and we don’t make this decision lightly. I encourage you to please read the post about today’s actions on betashop after 10:30 a.m. today.
I want to share the last paragraph of my blog post with you now:
It’s not easy to say goodbye to a lot of people who helped create this amazing Fab journey. I know that a lot of tears will be shed today. Our close Fab culture and the passion our team shares for brightening peoples’ lives with design makes moments like this even harder than they might be at most companies. To the Fab team from Bradford, our management team, our Board of Directors, and myself: Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your tireless efforts at making people smile.
You are part of the group that we would like to see continue on and be essential parts of Fab’s future.
I know that you are probably thinking about 4 things right now:
- How did we get here?
- What is happening today? Who is affected? Who will be remaining?
- Will the company make it?
- What does this mean for me and my job?
Today we’d like to focus on the second question: What is happening today? Who is affected, and who will be remaining?
Starting tomorrow we will spend a lot of time going through the details around how we got here, where we’re going, why you should believe in the company’s future, and what this means for your job.
Tomorrow we’ll meet from 10am to noon, where the management team and I will go into a lot of details about the how, what, why.
Tomorrow we’ll also talk about you and your job. You’re being asked to stay because we believe in you and your function as being integral to the continued growth and success of Fab. Our goal is that by the time you leave Fab tomorrow evening you’ll feel secure in your part at Fab and secure in the future we’ve outlined, which involves us all doing what we can to grow Fab to profitability as fast as possible.
Then we’ll all have the weekend to replenish ourselves.
On Monday, we’ll have detailed seminars for anyone who wants to attend about our finances and our fiscal sustainability.
Today is a rough day. I encourage you to take some time to yourself. Take a walk. Get outside the office. Please feel free to spend the afternoon at home, if you’d like. It's up to you. I would ask you to be here tomorrow, Friday, prepared to listen and invest in our future.
Finally, we know that just because we ask you to stay doesn’t mean you will decide to stay. It is your choice. All we ask is that you take the time to understand our strategy and plan before making your decision. While today may be confusing, the fact of the matter is that Fab is in a much stronger long-term position as a result.
We hope everyone chooses to stay.
My door is open and you can come talk to me or email me with any questions.
"We’ll all have the weekend to replenish ourselves." This is particularly important for Fab co-founder Bradford Shellhammer, who, after meeting with an HR exec on Wednesday, shattered the glass door of his conference room on the way out:
THINGS ARE A LITTLE TENSE AROUND THE FAB OFFICE. But a tipster tells us the Fab heads are already "replenishing" away from their demoralized staffers:
Coward CEOs hid from the 100 plus ppl being laid off on 5th floor-and said nothing when it was announced. When asked to come explain themselves they hid because they felt physically threatened. They said NOTHING to anyone.
With the strength to shatter doors, why feel threatened?
Update: A Fab.com rep denies the company's founders avoided staff:
Jason and Bradford didn't hide upstairs: affected employees needed to hear critical HR facts first specific to things like timing, Cobra, severance, etc. and they needed to hear that from the head of HR. Jason and Bradford were with the retention teams at the same time telling them what was happening and how are planning on moving forward. In fact, after the laid off employees were let out of the HR meeting Jason and Bradford walked around to both floors, talking to anyone who wanted to ask questions, air grievances etc. They probably talked to close to 100 people individually (excepting those who had left as soon as they got their packets).