Brandless, the upstart e-commerce player determined to upend CPG retail by making a virtue of private label goods, trend-right offerings and a single price point, is showing off its wares at a new pop-up store in New York.
The showroom, taking up temporary residence in the Milk Building in the chic Meatpacking District, will exhibit through Nov. 4. Officials at the opening Wednesday said the store provides an opportunity to generate trial and raise awareness of the brand, which combines elements of real-world retailers from Whole Foods and Target to Dollar Tree and Aldi.
Launched in July 2017 by media and tech entrepreneurs Tina Sharkey and Ido Leffler, Brandless counts former Target executives Rachel Vegas and Jessica Glendenning among its senior leaders. Vegas, Brandless’ chief merchant, is a former VP of Target’s center store grocery, and snacks, beverage, pet care and candy divisions. Glendenning was a former senior group manager for food strategy for Target and a former senior buyer. She is now director of merchandising for Brandless.
The company has raised nearly $300 million in venture funding, including reported investments from NBA stars Steph Curry and Nick Young, and Jessica Seinfeld, cookbook author and wife of comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Officials said the pop-up shop displays the website’s entire lineup of about 350 items, including packaged foods, ingredients and snacks; personal care and beauty items; household essentials; and stationery, displayed on wooden shelves and other merchandising displays. A spokeswoman said the site is continuing to expand the offering and expects to have about 400 SKUs by the end of the year. That’s a limited selection even by the standards of limited-selection stores, and carefully curated.
Sizing It Up
Maintaining the $3 price point means items come in only one size, which in some cases can be unusual ones. This coffee came in 6-ounce bags, so you might want to pick up several. That helps Brandless build order density and get consumers to build baskets. An order of $39—that’s 13 items—earns free shipping.
High standards are the other element of the Brandless value offering, with a product selection that checks most every “free-from” box. The entire food selection is non-GMO and made without synthetic preservatives or flavors. Many of the foods are organic, and the coffee is fair-trade certified. Personal care and beauty items exclude what the company termed as more than 400 “questionable” ingredients, and all are certified cruelty-free.
Distinct White label
For a retailer that takes pride in freedom from brands and their associated costs, there’s an irony in how carefully branded the experience and packaging are. All products clearly belong to the same range, and labels are free of clutter—a mix of practical and elegant intended to be one that private label consumers wouldn’t want to hide in their homes.
The common “white label” on packages is a branding element of its own, repeated on signage in the store, online and on its delivery boxes.