A New “Dollar Store”

The Lempert Report
August 21, 2017

Brandless sells foods for $3 or less – online.

Fast Company has a great interview with Ido Leffler, a Bay Area-based entrepreneur and founder, who says he woke up in the middle of the night, bothered by a system built on the inflated cost of consumer packaged goods. “It just hit me,” he told the publication, “Why were we spending $15 or $20 on things that cost maybe $2 or $3 to make?” 

“We’re in a whole new phase of modern consumption,” Tina Sharkey, co-founder says. “There’s a generation of consumers now who don’t want their parents’ establishments, they don’t want their parents’ governments, they don’t want their parents’ industries, and they don’t want their parents’ brands.” And we have been seeing exactly that hammering some of the biggest and most iconic brands over the past decade. 

Enter Brandless. They say it’s a new landing point for a consumer who’s looking for quality and transparency, and ignores brand loyalty and it launched on July 11 with a curated selection of around 115 essential products (which they say will grow to 300 by December) – from condiments to kitchen appliances to cleaning products–all for $3 or less. Each item sold on Brandless goes through rigorous testing, tweaking, and iteration at the company’s product development center in Minneapolis–and there is only one of each item sold on the site. So if you want olive oil for example there is just one choice. 

Fast Company reports Brandless is eliminating a network of retail competition, layered with markups and inefficiencies and obscured by opaque business practices and pricing rationales and has raised around $50 million in funding from investors like New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, and Slow Ventures. 

Each purchase made on Brandless automatically donates a meal through the nonprofit Feeding America, and through Brandless’ membership program, B.More, which has an annual fee of $36, the purchase-level donation to Feeding America will be doubled. Another benefit is joining the Brandless community that  intends to create an army of volunteers and special events.