I don’t know about you but the last time I meandered through the aisles of a certain store that starts with “Whole,” I looked down to find my wallet had one in it. At least a proverbial one. Dying for cherry-chocolate chip, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic ice-cream? That’ll be $54 dollars please – without tax.
So many of us want to eat healthy, but the cost of organic (and yes, I know it costs a lot of sweat and tears to pick caterpillars off organic cabbage, and make your own compost to grow the best organic carrots) has gotten kind of ridiculous.
A new company is eliminating what they say is at least a 40% markup on most of the products we buy due to branding. That’s the fancy marketing term they use to make a product look so appealing, you’d sell your left kidney on Ebay to purchase it. This new online retailer is called Brandless. Every single product will be $3. That’s it.
Organic, lavender and oatmeal soap – $3.
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar – $3.
Organic Kidney Beans – $3.
Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips – $3.
Trash Bags – $3.
You get the idea.
What’s fascinating is that they aren’t planning on using slave labor in Equador or China to get you prices that are so low. That caught my attention, so I looked into their marketing scheme. They talk about “Quality, transparency, community-driven values and providing better stuff for less cash.” It sounds good, at least in theory.
Brandless explains how they can pass on the savings to us by showing infographics of the source – the place they get their products; the middle man – the national brand who puts their fancy labels on things to make you want to buy them; and the store itself – where you pay for the stuff you take home and eat, wash your clothes with, or light with a match to watch your hard-earned dollars waft away in beautiful curlicues of smoke. (I’m talking scented candles people, with an average markup that is absolutely stunning.)
Brandless says that on some products, like a beauty cream, we’ll pay an extra 370% – all because of a brand tax (and because we’re terribly vain.)
They aim to eliminate the brand tax altogether.
Though they aren’t 100% organic, they are claiming to be 100% GMO-free. They also say they’ve banned over 400 harmful ingredients like parabens, polypropylene, phthalates, and sulfates from their beauty products. Not a bad start for a start-up.
So, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to take reusable bags and mason jars to the grocery store to save on bulk foods, or you need fancy labels to prove you’re eating the best stuff to your dog, Brandless probably isn’t for you. As long as they don’t charge one week’s salary for shipping, though, they might actually be worth giving a try. At these prices, even the newspaper boy can afford to eat organic.