US e-commerce startup Brandless raises millions to sell $3 products without any branding at all

Brandless

While brand might be everything for businesses trying to get noticed in the perilous modern retail landscape, one e-commerce startup fresh out of Silicon Valley is bucking that trend, selling a variety of everyday products with no branding for a flat $US3 ($3.78) each.

The company is aptly named Brandless, and Forbes reports it recently locked in $US50 million ($63 million) of funding over three rounds prior to launching last week. Founded by entrepreneurs Ido Leffer and Tina Sharkey, the company is offering a direct to consumer collection of essential products such as coffee, hand wash, plates, and other various essentials.

Customers purchase the products through the business’ online store, each for $3. The business can offer such low prices due to the aforementioned lack of brand, which the founders call the “brand tax”, offering prices up to 40% lower than what consumers would pay for comparable products.

“We can afford to do it because we are eliminating the brand tax,” Sharkey told Forbes.

“We’ve been working on that for a very long time. We really wanted something that was very simple, so you almost psychologically don’t have to think about it.”

A post shared by Brandless (@brandlesslife) on

Called by some investors the “Procter and Gamble for millennials”, Brandless is trying to attract young shoppers, with Sharkey saying it felt like “modern consumption was really broken”.

But despite eschewing the concept of a brand for consumers, the founders told Forbes they are “unapologetically a brand, but we’re reimagining what it means to be a brand today”.

Stacking up against monoliths such as Amazon, which has a similar range of private label essentials called AmazonBasic, could be a big ask for Brandless, but there’s confidence the business will succeed in breaking into the market, with investor Jeff Brody telling Fortune the potential is there.

“They mapped out the future of the CPG industry and deconstructed it in way that I realised the opportunity there was to create a new brand and category,” said Brody.

“The vision is massive and these are the right people to execute it.”

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Michael
3 years ago

The concept of generic branding is hardly a new one