The white box worth $50m

Brandless, a company which can best be described as an online hybrid of Trader Joe’s and Ikea’s kitchen section, just raised a $35m Series B to be the “Procter & Gamble for millennials.”

Their site launched yesterday, and is already selling everything from colanders to quinoa puffs — all for a flat fee of $3 per item.

And they’re doing it all without a “brand”…or are they?

Fighting the “false narrative” of consumption

Created in 2016 by entrepreneur Ido Leffler and Sherpa Capital partner, Tina Sharkey, Brandless has raised almost $50m thus far on the bet that younger consumers don’t care as much about brands as big CPG companies would like investors to believe.

Instead, they want to let people “define themselves as who they are, and not what a brand or society is projecting onto them.”

How does macaroni fit into this mission of reclaimed identity?

Well, rather than a prominent brand name, each product’s name and “values” are listed front-and-center on the package (Re: “MAPLE SYRUP. Organic. 100% pure. Amber color. Rich taste”).

So bold. So liberating…

And so cheap

The founders have theorized that the fixed pricing will put consumers at ease — AKA, reduce the amount of thinking/comparing a buyer does before making a purchase. We’ll call it “the dollar store hypothesis.”

They’ve essentially streamlined the buying process down to 2 choices: what do you want, and how much of it?

Unfortunately, a $3 ceiling limits what they can sell (we’re already skeptical of their kitchen knives), so they’ll be rolling out different product lines at various fixed prices to expand their offerings, all while supposedly saving customers a “40% “brand tax.”

Except according to Sharkey, they’re still “unapologetically a brand”

While Brandless may not have a logo, they’re definitely capitalizing on their identity.

Brandless has literally trademarked the blank, white rectangle on which all of their product labels are printed. That’s right: “a white rectangle with rounded edges.”

So maybe they don’t want you to define yourself by your brand choice. They just want you to define yourself by your brandless choice.

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