Two years ago last month, July 2017, a gutsy little company with big ambitions and an even bigger heart, launched an online catalog store, the likes of which the world had never seen. It was called simply “Brandless” and the website URL was Brandless.com. The basic idea was to unconventionally do away with all the focus on branding, all the thousands of dollars that is typically poured into searing one’s logo in the minds of consumers, and instead focus on delivering exceptionally high quality products for less money. Brandless described this new way of doing business as “eliminating the brand tax.” Consumers fell in love.
The brainchild behind the “Brandless” idea was Tina Sharkey of iVillage fame, along with her partner, Ido Leffler, a highly successful entrepreneur. They started off selling 115 carefully chosen products, all for $3.00 each and they were basically an instant overnight success. The product line grew rapidly as more customers came onboard and gave them good “word of mouth” and social media shares. The products were all delivered in plain white boxes with plain black lettering, with simple product descriptions minus the normal marketing mumbo jumbo. Brandless simply let the quality of the product, and the incredibly low price point, do the marketing for them.
Brandless become known for healthy pantry food items, non-toxic personal care items, ecofriendly cleaners, and household items made from sustainable materials. They later added an ecofriendly baby line and pet supplies so that all members of the family were covered! Brandless never tried to sell “everything.” Instead, they focused on offering the basics that everyone needs and wants. Instead of offering dirt cheap junk that breaks easily and is poorly manufactured using unsustainable materials, or even contains toxins, they focused instead on sustainable products that are healthy for people and the environment.
Looking back, Brandless proudly announced on their second anniversary that they have served 1.3 million Brandless customers in all forty-eight states of the continental United States. This included selling 2.5 million diapers made from sustainable plant based materials, chlorine free, toxin free, and latex free! Brandless also announced they had sold the equivalent of 5.8 million cups of fair trade coffee over their first two years. Coffee is of course the consummate staple in the American household, and Brandless’ fair trade coffee is better for biodiversity, conservation, socioeconomic justice, and human health!
Brandless has a new CEO, John Rittenhouse, but Tina Sharkey remains as the co-chair of the board. They are currently traveling together talking with retailers about the idea of adding Brandless products to retail environments. They plan to announce soon which retailers will be offering Brandless products and hint they’ll be found in a special standalone section. They even have pictures on their website of “end of the isle” displays featuring their welnness products (will this include their CBD oils?), their ecofriendly cleaning supplies, and their non-toxic beauty supplies.
Previously, Brandless ran two very successful pop-up stores, the first in Los Angeles, Calfornia and the second in New York, New York. This bodes well for how well received Brandless products will be in retail environments so keep your eyes peeled for these new Brandless displays at your favorite retail stores. However, don’t forget you can continue to order your favorite Brandless products on the Brandless.com website and they’ll continue expanding their line with new exciting online offerings.