Fifty2 – The MPB Project: Staples – Avant

“Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project,” will present a carefully curated look at the best Private Brands in the U.S. across all retail channels. The weekly series presents a look at one great Private Brand with insight, analysis and original photography. I am looking for retailer-owned private labels that are BRANDS. Brands that bring their positioning and business purpose to life through: great design, purpose, expertise, confidence, emotion, lifestyle and innovation.

To submit a brand for consideration please email

Staples Avant FrontAvant

Since the opening of the first Staples store in Brighton, Massachusetts in 1986, the office supply retailer has built a strong portfolio of Private Brand products that consistently reinforces the Staples retail brand. Over the last year, the retailer has confidently proclaimed the Staples brand, “North America’s most trusted brand in office products.”

However, until 2012, the Private Brands portfolio was primarily made up of Staples branded products, with a few sub brands and numerous product brands added to meet category needs. That all changed with the launch of their premium writing brand, Avant. The new brand confidently steps away from the Staples name and firmly establishes a credible and unique brand voice. The only hint of a Staples presence in this brand is the distribution clause.

Clean, modern, easy to open packaging as well as contemporary naming, logo and package design reinforce the superior quality products. The minimalist product design creates ergonomic writing instruments that feel great in the hand.

The Avant brand is divided into three sub brands and color-coded by pen type for shoppability: AvantNext (gel/plastic body), AvantStyle (ballpoint/plastic body), and AvantPro (ballpoint/stainless steel body). Users may customize their writing experience with interchangeable ink refills, available in black, blue and red SilkScribe and gel inks.

Avant is a promising addition to the Staples Private Brand portfolio and an intriguing taste of evolving Private Brand strategy at the world’s largest office supply retailer.

Brand: Avant
Brand Focus:
Premium pens and refills

Framingham, Massachusetts 

2011 USA Retail Sales ($000):
2011 Stores:

To submit a brand for consideration please email

Staples Avant Group - 600

Staples AvantPro-600

Staples AvantNext-600

Staples  AvantStyle-600

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.