Google, Amazon, Lidl, Warby Parker, Harrys, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are changing retail and branding forever. The latest evidence of this can is evident in Brandless, the disruptive retailer/brand created by Tina Sharkey and Ido Leffler. Their goal is to take advantage of the new world of retail and brands and change the way consumers buy everyday essentials. They join and recent Walmart acquisition in their quest to change the way Americans stock up with its direct-to-consumer model and $3 price point.

Brandless provides a collection of 100% private brand products that includes packaged goods, cleaning and household supplies, health and beauty, personal care and office supplies. Although the name would have you believe that they are brandless, they are in fact beautifully designed modern package that represents an aesthetic that brings Brandless to life. The packaging highlights the key features of each product including non-GMO, organic, fair trade, kosher, gluten-free or no added sugar.

The traditional press would have you believe that the big innovation at Brandless was to make a limited range of household staples and sell them all at a single price, there is nothing innovative about that, dollar stores have been doing it for decades.

The innovation is unapologetically acting like a brand, boldly stepping forward as a brand and using the internet, social media, modern delivery methods and the new economy to replace what it calls the “brand tax.” This includes all the expenses related to the old-school consumer packaged goods brands, the largest of which is marketing and advertising. Brandless can offer its goods at 40% less than comparable products on average.

Brandless has been able to lower costs is by reducing the assortment to a few hundred items. With a product development team in Minneapolis led by Rachael Vegas who worked at Target for 15 years.

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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.