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IndustryConsumer packaged goods (CPG), grocery
Founded2012; 7 years ago (2012)
FounderIdo Leffler, Tina Sharkey
Area served
United States
Personal care
Number of employees
60 (2017)

Brandless is an American e-commerce company that manufactures and sells an assortment of products under its own Brandless label.[1] Founded by Ido Leffler and Tina Sharkey, it launched in July 2017 with a selection of 115 items, many of them health and environmentally-conscious.[2][3][4] Brandless currently offers hundreds of products across six categories: non-GMO and organic food; clean and cruelty-free beauty and personal care; non-toxic cleaners; household, kitchen and stationery; baby and pet.[5][6]

Brandless limits its offerings to just one choice for each type of item.[7] The company eliminates "brand tax," the costs associated with marketing, advertising, distribution, and brand cachet.[2][8]


Sharkey and Leffler met while both were living in Mill Valley, California. Sharkey, the founder of iVillage and the former CEO of BabyCenter, had an extensive background in online communities, and Leffler, the founder of several companies, including Yes To, Inc. and Yoobi, had expertise in consumer products.[3] They founded Brandless in 2014 to "set a landing point for consumers" who sought "quality and transparency, and eschewed brand loyalty and the resulting choice overload familiar to anyone who’s ever stepped into a grocery store aisle."[6]

In mid-2016, Sharkey resigned from her position as CEO of Sherpa Foundry to become CEO of Brandless, with Leffler serving as its chairman.[6] The company raised $16 million in funding led by Redpoint Ventures in November 2016,[9] and at launch had received a total of $50 million in venture capital from New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures and others.[3]

In 2018, the company launched a pop-up store in Los Angeles in May.[10] In addition to selling products, there were various panels centered around wellness and nutrition, and the company donated 5,000 meals on behalf of each speaker, 10 meals for every person who visited the pop-up and three meals every time an individual tagged the company or used the hashtag #Brandless on social media.[11] Brandless launched a second, larger pop-up store in New York in October with product sampling and a fair-trade coffee bar and also donated one meal for every social media post using their hashtag during the duration of the event.[12]

In May 2019, Brandless received $240 million as a part of its series C funding round.[13]

Business model[edit]

Brandless is based in San Francisco, California, and operates an additional facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Foods are GMO-free, health and beauty items are cruelty-free, and paper products adhere to sustainable forestry practices.[1] Products' labels consist of only a white box with the product's name and two to five descriptors, such as organic, kosher, or gluten-free.[14] Brandless is a brand of its own.[15]

The business model for Brandless begins with all its products being conceived with manufacturing partners.[16] As a result, the company owns, creates and sells all of these goods directly to the consumer,[9] a methodology that eliminates “brand tax”, the markup on most conventional brand-name items that can range from as low as 40% to as high as 370%. At the onset using their own production and distribution, Brandless priced single items at $3, or multiple items for $3 total.[3][17][18] That policy changed in January 2019 with the launch of additional categories including Pet, Baby and other products.[5]

In 2019, Brandless rolled out an optional subscription service to its customers.[19]

Feeding America[edit]

Sharkey and Leffler built a one-for-one social mission into the core business model; through a partnership with Feeding America, for every order placed, Brandless provides a meal for people in need.[4] Brandless will donate two extra meals to someone facing hunger in partnership with Feeding America® with each subscription box shipped.[19] In an interview with Whole Foods magazine, Sharkey explained that their donations are "one way to help positively impact the 42 million people in this country facing food insecurity, but it's just the start. We want to inspire and empower our community to make a difference."[17]

Awards and Recognition[edit]

In February 2018, Brandless received the Best NewCo of the Year award from NewCo Honors for disrupting retail markets and donating 250,000 meals to Feeding America. The award is given to companies who possess innovative offerings and who stand by a distinct mission in their business.[20] Additionally, they were awarded "StartUp of the Year" by AdAge[21], one of "The World' Most Innovative Companies in Retail" by Fast Company,[22] and named a "Top Company Revolutionizing Retail" by Business Insider.[23]

Brandless products have also received accolades such as “Best Healthy Packaged Snacks” from Women’s Health,[24] to “Best Grooming Products” by GQ[25] and “Best Places to Buy High-Quality Cleaning Supplies” by Real Simple.[26]


  1. ^ a b Meyer, Zlata (July 14, 2017). "What does $3 buy you? On this website, everything". USA Today. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b Terlep, Sharon (July 12, 2017). "Brandless Fights Big Brands with $3 Pricing". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Feldman, Amy (July 11, 2017). "Brandless Hopes To Shake Up Consumer Products With Direct-To-Consumer Basics For $3". Forbes. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Co-founders of online grocer Brandless on their mission to make shopping simpler". CBS This Morning. July 13, 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b Ruff, Corinne (March 20, 2019). "Brandless expands health and wellness assortment". Retail Dive. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Anzilotti, Eillie (July 13, 2017). "This New Site Sells Food And Household Essentials–All For $3 Or Less". Fast Company. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  7. ^ Newcomb, Alyssa (July 11, 2017). "Meet Brandless, the Store Where Everything You Need Is Just $3". NBC News. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  8. ^ Sherman, Leonard (September 24, 2018). "Savvy Startups Like Casper and Brandless Are Investing in Brand Image First -- and You Should, Too". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b Rao, Leena (December 7, 2016). "Exclusive: Investors Bet on Brandless as the Next Procter and Gamble for Millennials". Fortune. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Discount start-up launches first pop-up—with a twist |Chain Store Age". Chain Store Age. 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  11. ^ "Brandless' Pop-Up Is Focused on Community Engagement Rather Than Selling Products". Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  12. ^ Crook, Jordan (October 2018). "Brandless is launching a pop-up shop in NYC". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  13. ^ htc (2019-05-30). "Brandless Receives $240 Million In Series C Funding Round, Enabling Continued Growth For The E-Commerce Startup". HiTechChronicle. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  14. ^ Schwab, Katharine (July 14, 2017). "Lessons On Branding From A Company That Has No Brand". Fast Company Design. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  15. ^ Pomranz, Mike (July 12, 2017). "Online Grocery Store 'Brandless' Sells Everything for $3". Food and Wine. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  16. ^ Green, Dennis (July 11, 2017). "A new startup that sells everything from chef's knives to maple syrup for just $3 raised $50 million to be the 'Procter & Gamble for millennials'". Business Insider. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  17. ^ a b Peterson, Laurie (September 5, 2017). "Interview with Tina Sharkey, CEO and Co-Founder of Brandless". Whole Foods Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Startup Aims to Offer Savings by Ditching Brands for Good". NBC News 2. September 3, 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  19. ^ a b Ruff, Corinne (January 17, 2019). "BRIEF Brandless launches subscription option". Retail Dive. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  20. ^ "2018's Most Inspiring Companies: The NewCo Honors Award Recipients". NewCo Shift. 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  21. ^ "AD AGE ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS OF THE 2018 CREATIVITY AWARDS". Ad Age. March 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  22. ^ "2019 The World's Most Innovative Companies". Fast Company. January 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  23. ^ Hanbury, Mary (December 24, 2018). "These 18 companies are revolutionizing retail". Business Insider. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  24. ^ Siclait, Aryelle (October 22, 2018). "The Best Healthy Packaged Snacks Of 2018". Women's Health. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  25. ^ "The 42 Best Grooming Products of 2018". GQ. October 26, 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  26. ^ Alcedo, Madison (March 29, 2019). "The Best Places to Buy High-Quality Cleaning Supplies Online". Real Simple magazine. Retrieved 11 April 2019.

External links[edit]