Executive Briefing

The end of Brandless, a new beginning for Harry’s

And: Why was David Chang slinging Sweetgreen today?

Brandless breakfast items

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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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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