Brandless — the e-commerce start-up that sells household and food staples for $3 — is branching into beauty.
The business is bringing its free-from thesis into personal care with today’s launch of moisturizing shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, shave gel, body wash, two different body lotions, grapefruit facial cleanser, gel and foaming hand wash, facial lotion and lip balm. Products are priced at $3, like everything else Brandless sells, and will be sold through the company’s direct-to-consumer web site.
Brandless’ beauty collection is formulated without parabens, phthalates, phosphates, SLS, synthetic dyes and synthetic fragrances. The line is also cruelty-free, and the business has banned more than 400 “potentially harmful” ingredients.
“We really see the movement toward clean beauty as a very important one, and everything at Brandless is really focused on the very best quality that represents the new lifestyle values, the new dietary restrictions and the new behavioral choices [of consumers],” said Tina Sharkey, cofounder and chief executive officer of Brandless.
Sharkey declined to give projections for beauty sales, but did note that Brandless has a launch strategy that includes about a dozen more beauty products slated for the next 12 months.
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Brandless launched earlier in 2016 with more than $50 million in venture capital backing from investors including New Enterprise Associates, Redpoint Ventures, Slow Ventures and Cowboy Ventures. The business is focused on making clean, non-GMO, nontoxic products more widely available with its $3 price pints. By being “brandless” the company asserts it saves consumers about 40 percent on basics — by cutting out what it refers to as “brand tax.”
To get the word out, the new company has been focused on building a community of consumers looking for the types of products it sells.
“Our first entry into the marketplace has been driven by an organic and viral approach to building a community of the people who are the most attracted and looking for these types of things,” Sharkey said. “People who believe everyone deserves better.” To that end, Brandless also has a charitable component — when each order is placed, the business donates a meal.
“If you look across the Brandless assortment, on average, people are saving roughly 40 percent…but in beauty, it can be as high as 370 percent,” Sharkey said. “The beauty industry, for quality product, the pricing is so out of line with the cost.”
To make its beauty assortment, Brandless partnered with a lab that makes products for other brands to co-create the collection, Sharkey said. For now, Brandless will focus on creating “everyday essentials” in the beauty category and doesn’t have plans to launch makeup. Future products will be “both ingredient driven and product driven,” Sharkey said, adding that the business will look to fill out its beauty offering.
In addition to the beauty collection, Brandless is also launching oral-care products (fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash), organic cotton swabs, rounds and balls, feminine hygiene products and seven vitamins and supplements.