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$50m in Funding Fuels Brandless $3 Private Brand

\"\"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.

Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham To Present at Shopper Insights In Action Conference


This year\’s 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference July 14-16 in Chicago at the Navy Pier, that\’s right its next week, if you have not made plans to attend you still have time! My Private Brand readers can still take advantage of a 20% discount when they use the code SIA14MYPBRAND. REGISTER TODAY!

This year I will be joining an impressive faculty of speakers who will deliver more than 80 insightful presentations. The faculty includes a number of notable retailers:

  • Sir Terry Leahy, Former CEO, Tesco
  • Juan C. De Paoli, SVP Brand Management and Own Brands, Ahold USA
  • Kathryn Henkens, VP Private Brands, Petco
  • Edward Porter, VP Consumer and Business Insights, Ahold USA, Inc.
  • Heidi Reale, Director of Shopper and Digital Marketing, Price Chopper Supermarkets
  • John Whitaker, VP, Market & Consumer Insights, Lowe\’s Companies, Inc.
  • Kyle Swayze, National Category Manager, 7-Eleven
  • Liz Berman, Director of Portfolio Strategy, Safeway
  • Michael De Fazio, SVP of Store Concepts, RadioShack Corporation
  • Parker Hurlburt, Director of Consumer Insights, Marketing, Meijer
  • Scott Friesen, Director, Customer Insights and Marketing Analytics, ULTA Beauty
  • Tim Foster, Director, Customer Experience Insights, Lowe\’s Companies, Inc.
  • Tom Hutchinson, Director Marketing, CRM & Analytics, Raley\’s Family of Fine Stores

On Monday, July 14, 2014 I will moderate the keynote panel: “Private Brands Retail Panel: The Strategic Importance of the Customer in the Growth of American Retail” featuring: Kathryn Henkens, VP of Private Brands, Petco, Juan C. De Paoli, SVP Brand Management and Own Brands, Ahold USA and Liz Berman, Director of Portfolio Strategy, Safeway Consumer Brands.

Then at 3:15 that afternoon the conference will be a stop on my book tour as I present “The Private Brand Revolution Revealed: Fifty2, The My Private Brand Project

A challenging look inside Fifty2, The My Private Brand Project. The 52 brands featured in the book radically destroy the notion that all American private brands are ugly knock-offs of national brands and clearly paints a picture of the retail brand revolution that is creating retail-owned brands that customers know and love.

Stop by the bookstore and say hello and let me sign a book for you.

You won’t want to miss the presentation from fellow panelist Liz Berman of Safeway “Beyond ‘Generic’: How Private Brands Target Emerging Shopper Segments” at 4:00. I had the privilege of a preview and she has some great insights.

Other presentations from retailers include:

Monday, July 14, 2014 – 1:15
The Intersection of Useful and Important: Combining Data Sources to Provide New Insights
Scott Friesen, ULTA Beauty

Tuesday, July 15, 201411:00
Keynote: The Intersection of Big Data and Leadership
Sir Terry Leahy, Former CEO, Tesco

Big Data is not a buzzword or a fad. It\’s a movement and a business growth strategy. And it\’s not going away. Big Data — and particularly its role in bolstering customer relationships — will continue to be one of the most impactful business drivers over the next decade. But, as the former Tesco CEO warns, organizations must transform both their structures and their leadership approach to reap the rewards. This new world of business in the era of Big Data requires radically different thinking, new organizational structures and processes, and new leadership skill sets to interpret and connect data in more creative and meaningful ways. Find the right combination of data and technology to change customer relationships and the business trajectory. Data needs direction to manage the profitability of customers. Big Data on its own is not enough. Values, culture and purpose matter

  • Distinguish between actual and perceived variety—remember always measure from the consumer perspective
  • If perceived variety is overwhelming, reduce the complexity of the assortment
  • If perceived variety is underwhelming, increase attraction and effect of the assortment

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – 11:45
Keynote Interview: A One on One with Sir Terry Leahy Interviewed by Ravi Dhar, Yale School of Management

In his fourteen years as CEO, Sir Terry Leahy took Tesco from a struggling company to become Britain\’s largest private employer and the third-largest supermarket in the world. Drawing on his experience and expertise, Ravi will interview Sir Terry to get his insights on how initial failure often leads to success, why simplicity leads to innovation and why trust is the bedrock of effective leadership.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – 12:30
Lunch: Meet & Greet with Sir Terry Leahy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – 2:15
Measuring Motivational Response in Complex Categories
John Whitaker, and Tim Foster, Lowe\’s Companies, Inc.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – 2:15
Delivering on the Future of Coupons
Tom Hutchison,Raley\’s Family of Fine Stores

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – 4:15
Taking Insights to Action: Retailer-Vendor Collaboration in Convenience Cold-Vault
Susan Stege, Dean Foods Company
Kyle Swayze, 7-Eleven

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – 9:15
BEYOND STATISTICS: From Conceptualization to Design to Implementation, Creating a Compelling and Engaging Shopping Experience for Consumers
Michael De Fazio, Senior Vice President of Store Concepts, RadioShack Corporation

When your competitors sell the same merchandise, how can you stand out as a retailer, connect with the consumer, and differentiate your business? Michael DeFazio will discuss key components in transforming stores for leading retail brands and how fundamental insights can give you an advantage over the competition. DeFazio will go beyond statistics to share key learnings from his career including how to create an enhanced shopping experience that originates with understanding the needs of your customers and how to use those learnings or \”that awareness\” to deliver on your brand promise. From his experience at top retailers to his current work transforming RadioShack stores, DeFazio has learned critical insights each retailer should know about in-store experience, merchandise assortment, and employee engagement.

  • It\’s all in the details: How to create a rich and engaging shopping environment that drive sales and highlight merchandise
  • The value of employee engagement: How to leverage your associates as your greatest strength to driving sales and building relationships
  • One size does not fit all: Learn how segmentation can transform your business

My Private Brand readers can still take advantage of a 20% discount when they use the code SIA14MYPBRAND. REGISTER TODAY!


PB CAREERS: REI – Design Insights Researcher


REI – Design Insights Researcher

At REI we offer an enviable work environment that Fortune Magazine has recognized on the \”100 Best Places to Work\” list since the award’s inception – 17 years in a row! Sure, we work hard, but it’s balanced with time off to play—a strategy that works for us as we continue to grow and thrive. Want to enjoy a workplace where you can be yourself, be heard and be respected while having a job that challenges you? This is the place.

With more than 130 retail locations (and growing), REI offers unique competitive benefits to its more than 11,000 employees, including healthcare, gear and apparel discounts, free equipment rentals and challenge grants to help employees reach personal outdoor goals, generous retirement plan contributions, public transit subsidy, adoptions assistance, paid sabbaticals, and more.

The design insights researcher contributes to REI’s success through accurate and deep intuitive understanding of consumers and their relationships with our products. By fostering a connection between the design team and our consumers, we are able to identify new product opportunities and enhance current product experiences. Models and acts in accordance with REI’s guiding values and mission.


  • Supports design research efforts for Private Brands & Design Insights Team
  • Supports process and methodologies to ensure collection and delivery of design research. (Design ethnographies, research stimuli, research tools, leads or supports recruiting efforts, leads or supports consumer interviews)
  • Supports Trend and Inspiration research. Collects and participates in secondary research.
  • Communicates unmet needs and actionable insights and opportunities to drive decision-making.
  • Actively participates with Private Brands teams to create and deploy customer focused research tools and tactics.
  • Reports to Manager of Design Insights team


  • 6+ years experience in the design research or related field
  • Ability to support and co-create research plans that support design teams across Private Brands.
  • A understanding of good design and basic understanding of the product development process.
  • Ability to visualize insights (illustrations, storyboarding, video, collages etc.)
  • Ability to efficiently synthesize and communicate complex information to teams i.e., strong interpretive, verbal, written, and story-telling techniques to communicate consumer insights and needs.
  • Ability to advocate for the consumer throughout the design process
  • Ability to work across all design teams seamlessly, people orientated, passionate, enthusiastic, insightful, intelligent, committed, positive, engaged.
  • Unrelenting focus on and commitment to current and potential REI member and consumer.

REI is an Equal Opportunity Employer


big box

Amazon Teases A Mystery Private Brand Event


Online retailer Amazon posted a video to YouTube on Wednesday teasing an upcoming Private Brand product launch event for what is rumored to be a 3D smartphone.

The video is minimal at best but still features enough clues to keep the aspiring Sherlock guessing. Including user reactions like, “Whoa”. “I\’ve never seen anything like this.” or “it\’s very real life and incomparable to anything I have seen.”

The video was accompanied by a website on which anyone with an account can register to attend the June 18 event. The invite request page features a picture of what looks like an Amazon Private Brand phone with a black body. It remains to be seen whether the launch will extend the wildly popular Kindle or Fire brands or introduce a new name to Amazon’s portfolio of Private Brands. Wither way Amazon continues to raise te bar for the development and promotion of retailer owned brands.


PB CAREERS: BJ’s Wholesale Club – VP, Own Brands


BJ’s Wholesale Club – VP, Own Brands

Position Summary
The Vice President, Own Brands will be a new position within the Company that champions our motive of developing a Best-In-Class program throughout the club, one that has tangible financial, category and consumer benefits.

Our ultimate goal for Private Brands is to create a legion of members that not only know, but also love and covet our brands, so that they have a meaningful, even ritualistic place in their lives.

The expected outcomes that the Vice President will be driving towards are:

  • Increased sales, share and margin contribution for PB, accretive to the business
  • Increased loyalty and trackable repeat purchase across key categories
  • Brands seen for their exclusivity at BJ’s and acting as true points of difference
  • Getting clear “member credit” for our quality consideration and investment

To accomplish these broader objectives, the Vice President, Private Brands will be responsible for the following functional areas:

  • The brand strategy, positioning and design; ensuring that every product lives up to the overarching mission of Berkley & Jensen and Wellsley Farms
  • The marketing support; delineating the communication, promotional and overall marketing tactics for growing the brands
  • Category development; working collaboratively with DMMs/Buyers to identify and propagate the right items from concept to execution
  • Analytical support; Utilizing the right member data and syndicated information to identify opportunity areas and report progress
  • Quality assurance; Ensuring the supplier base is living up to our high quality consideration throughout the portfolio

Key Objectives
The Vice President, Own Brands will:

Develop and execute a considered Private Brands strategy by creating the right marketing, analytical and category development support that grows the PB business to 20% share over the next three years. Nested within the plan, create shorter-term actionable Key Category strategies designed to address “opportunity gaps” versus rest of market.

Create a selection and category development strategy with the DMMs to enter additional product verticals and play more strongly within destination, highly consumable categories.

Ensure that there is a clear marketing strategy, both by Department and by Consumer Segment, to support Private Brands. Create the right analytical foundation for identifying consumer and category successes.

Act as the champion for Best-In-Class private brand ideas, from within the channel (especially Costco), but also with a broader view of supplier and key category best-in-class examples.

Build, cultivate and nurture a top-notch team with strong ownership and deep functional knowledge of department, financials and growth strategies.

Create cross-functional alignment throughout BJ’s Marketing, Operations, Procurement & HR departments so that all key constituents partner and drive towards higher order PB objectives.

Create and lead the $10 Million+ marketing budget so that it maximizes sales, support and communication for Private Brands. Track progress towards organization’s goals vigorously. Lead the year-on-year share, new product and repeat purchase metrics for BJ’s.

Engage the lead suppliers in the continuous improvement across the supply chain, ensure that they uniformly understand BJ’s Private Brands vision, create top-to-top forums hand-in-hand with DMMs, and develop dialogue about new ways to elicit innovation, eliminate waste and scorecard performance.

Strengthen the understanding and cultivate strong relationships with the Private Brands supplier network, and actively guide DMMs with specific supplier insights, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses as they search for new products.

Ideal Candidate Profile
Educational Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree; MBA preferred


  • The ideal candidate will have both a retail and CPG marketing foundation to his or her career.
  • They will have experience managing and motivating cross-functional teams of 10+ people. They will understand the strategic relationship across analysis, marketing, design strategy, quality and product development in bringing a Brand to life and have acted as the fulcrum for driving all of these functions throughout a CPG or Retail organization.
  • They will have had direct P&L responsibility over a large division or brand, with a proven ability to create, manage and drive both an annual and overarching strategic plan for the business.
  • They will have a proven ability to work across departments outside their direct responsibility such as Procurement, Merchandising and Operations, driving action with their peer groups proactively and collaboratively.
  • They will have a proven facility for doing “more with less”, for thinking differently and knowing how to bring new ideas to organizations, especially those that are best-in-class.
  • They will have demonstrated throughout their career an ability to manage change and deal with adversity with grace and cultural acuity, building strong partnerships with suppliers and teams, all in a rapidly evolving results-driven organization.

TO APPLY FOR THE ROLE CONTACT: Nichole Larracey, Senior Recruiter, 774.512.7499,