Brandless — the company that, in a somewhat cheeky twist, sold a variety of branding-free wellness, household, and personal care products — is back online.
The startup abruptly shut down in February. It was originally launched in 2017 under the leadership of CEO Tina Sharkey and cofounder Ido Leffler and had raised $292.5 million in venture capital from investors including the SoftBank Vision Fund.
The newest iteration of the company is being run through a partnership between Utah-based digital marketing exec Ryan Treft, who is the new CEO, and Clarke Capital Partners, an investment firm.
Treft told Business Insider he was surprised he was able to acquire the brand and its assets.
“I love the brand. I didn’t know much about how much they had raised. I didn’t know anything about how big they were. I honestly had no clue,” he said.
“I just thought it was an awesome brand, and I liked the irony of it, you know, the brandless brand. … I think it would be a real shame to see it go away entirely. “
Treft said he wants Brandless to primarily be known for two things: quality and value.
When Brandless first launched, it sold almost everything for $3. It later moved away from that restrictive price model, and Treft said he expects prices to be very similar to what they were in February. Before it shut down, the site sold packets of protein powder for $9, for example, and essential oils for $5. Specialty products sold for more.
“It’s not about racing other brands to the bottom of being the cheapest, because that’s where people compromise on the quality, the ingredients,” Treft said.
He said he sees Brandless’ target audience as millennials who are “typically particular about what they put on their body and what they put in their body.”
The new leadership is upholding Brandless’ previous commitment to keep its products free from 400 potentially harmful ingredients including parabens, sulfates, and synthetic dyes. It’s also planning to double down on health, wellness, and things you’d need for your daily routines, while moving away from the snacks and travel categories.
But first, it’s moving the inventory it acquired when it bought the brand. One way it’s doing this is by bundling products together and selling them for $180 each. Currently for sale on Brandless’ site are bundles for cooking, for cleaning, for baby, for him, and for her.
The bundles are limited-time offerings, Treft said. The company has already started production on some new items.
The company is packing the bundles together in suitcases that went unsold when Brandless shut down.
“And since most of us aren’t traveling right now, we thought we’d make good use of our suitcases and fill them up with free products currently in high demand (like toilet paper)… something for you now, something for you later,” the site copy reads.
Treft said the company’s main focus will be on driving sales on Brandless.com. But, it will also likely sell on Amazon, and he said the company is in discussion with several brick-and-mortar chains.
Brandless is hiring a new team now, though unlike the last version of the company, it will be based in Salt Lake City, not the Bay Area. They’ve retained one employee from the earlier version of Brandless and hope to bring on about a dozen more people in the coming months.