The $21,500 Daily-Deal Item (Marked Down From $26,875!)
You better hurry! As of this writing -- early afternoon ET on Friday -- you have just under 46 hours to pick up a Zip Cabana by Puck and Blossom for just $21,500 at Fab.com. If you've had your fill of 60%-off Brazilian waxes, 51%-off horseback-riding lessons and 87%-off laser hair removal from other daily-deal sites, perhaps you're interested in a 20%-off (regular $26,875 retail price) designer doll house for humans? Here's the sales pitch:
Require a little more solitude in your life? Consider Puck and Blossom's transportable Zip Cabana -- it's a blank-slate space for creating your own private oasis. With a wide range of options, the Zip requires no building permits in most areas and is a hassle-free solution for making extra space without the time and expense of regular construction. 120 square feet with generous roofed porch, the total living space is 12' x 16' with prefinished walls and roof and deck. Shipping is free.
Fab says the cabana takes "2 people 5 hours to build" and that "all necessary hardware and detailed instructions are included." (But what about the allen wrench?) There's a pull-down menu for "Quantity" that lets you add as many as 30 of these babies to your shopping cart at once (maybe you've got a really big back yard?).
For the record, there are way cheaper sale items (starting at $32 for a vase) available from Puck and Bloom, which is a sustainable home-design company, via Fab.com.
The marketplace seems to be both over-Grouponed and over-Groupon-cloned, which is why some daily dealers are trying to clarify and upscalify their niches (see my colleague Kunur Patel's May report titled "New York Times' Groupon Clone: More Caviar Than Bikini Wax"). But for my money (which is sadly insufficient to buy 30 or less Zip Cabanas), Fab.com -- which was launched in June by self-described "serial entrepreneur" Jason Goldberg (Jobster, socialmedian, etc.) -- is the most engaging of the daily-deal-email startups by a mile thanks to its tight focus on offering "curated design sales featuring the world's leading designers and manufacturers."
(Fab.com is Goldberg's "pivot" from Fabulis.com, a short-lived, annoyingly-named gay social network. Once the company was reborn as a daily-deals site, Ashton Kutcher came aboard as an investor. In addition to an array of other angel investors and VCs, one old-school media company is a notable backer: The Washington Post Company.)
I doubt Fab.com will sell a ton of these $21,500 shacks, but I'm happy to know of the Zip Cabana's existence. Fab's "curators" seem to have a better grasp than other daily-dealers of the concept of retail-as-media (and retail-as-theater), which is why opening Fab.com emails is like reading a mini home-design magazine every day.
In fact, Fab makes me nostalgic for Domino, the accessible home-design magazine Conde Nast shut down in 2009. Domino was a glossy that stood for the democratization of design; Fab.com's tagline is "Daily design for everyone" and it makes me wonder whether Domino, if it hadn't been summarily executed, could have evolved into something like Fab.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.