The end of Brandless, a new beginning for Harry’s
And: Why was David Chang slinging Sweetgreen today?
Brandless launched in 2017 with hundreds of products and immediately received a lot of attention — good and bad.
- It was, from the start, very obviously one of those high-octane attempts to manufacture something huge, not an organic growth play. Brandless had raised more than $50 million in venture capital pre-launch — unusual at the time — and later attracted a mega-round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund.
- It had a female founding CEO, Tina Sharkey, who was unabashedly trying to build a community in public, and got great press.
- And it sounded like a giant contradiction — a slick, Red Antler-crafted brand called Brandless? — which made it a popular topic for discussion. A lot of industry people seemed to want to see it sink.
But this isn’t really a story about the consequences of raising too much venture capital, or even about branding. It’s mostly a story about a not-great business that never figured itself out — where customers spent too little and didn’t come back enough.
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