How To Save Money, Follow Your Ethics, Avoid The Brand Tax, And Go Brandless

September 13, 2019 - By 

In 2017, a fledgling company called “Brandless” got started. The co-founders, Tina Sharkey and Ido Leffler, had a novel idea. While other start-ups were busy spending Big Bucks on building a brand and trying to achieve a “brand following,” the Brandless co-founders decided to go the opposite way. They felt that modern shoppers cared a lot more about finding products that aligned with their own personal values than any intensely marketed brand name. Given their tremendous success over three short years, they are proving they were right!

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how people shop by their values rather than focusing on the brand name:

Many shoppers have made a personal commitment to never buy food containing GMO ingredients. This includes genetically modified ingredients like GMO canola oil, GMO soy lecithin, and GMO corn. So, from the beginning, all of Brandless’ food products were GMO-free and they always will be. Kudos!

2. Some parents care deeply about avoiding feeding their children any food laced with pesticides, herbicides, and other industrial contaminants. To avoid feeding their families these toxins, they shop for USDA certified organic products that are required by law to follow certain standards that avoid these toxins. More than half of all Brandless food items are USDA certified organic. Cool!

3. Many women want to buy only cruelty free makeup and they feel bad if their personal care products hurt the environment in any way. Brandless offers makeup and personal care products that are never tested on animals. They’ve also made a commitment to exclude hundreds of chemicals from their products that are destructive to the environment. Way to go!

What Is the Brand Tax & Why Is It Important?

Companies spend millions of dollars building a brand and “engaging” with potential customers and existing customers to build and maintain a loyalty to that brand. They pass this massive expense on to their customers. This is why you pay more when you buy a brand name product. In fact, there’s a dirty little secret that many so called “generic” products are actually just lessor known brands… but there’s still plenty of money going into branding these so called “generic” products and that expense is being passed on to the customer. Brandless calls the expense of branding that is passed on to the consumer the “brand tax” — and they are absolutely right! 

Brandless doesn’t have a brand tax! Instead of spending Big Dollars on logo design, building a brand, maintaining brand recognition, and striving for brand dominance, Brandless focuses on catering to the values that shoppers truly care about. The three examples above are proof of this. In doing so, Brandless doesn’t have to spend Big Money on branding! Therefore, they can keep their prices lower, while at the same time, offering much higher quality products that consistently deliver on the values people want.

Brandless became instantly famous because they were selling all their high quality products for only $3. This low price tag included organic products and earth friendly products that are normally sold for much higher prices. Now, they also offer $9 products and these items too are far less expensive than you’d expect for the high quality products they are selling. Additionally, Brandless also uses some of the money they save by not focusing on branding to support good causes like food banks and homeless shelters, contributions that their customers believe are important.


In essence, Brandless has made it much more convenient for consumers to shop their conscience without breaking the bank! In case you’re wondering, Brandless sells mostly online but also through pop-up shops around the United States.  If you’re a Brandless member, you can get free shipping for online orders over $48. Non-members can get free shipping for online orders over $72. Check out this forward thinking company’s fair-trade coffee, earth friendly diapers, non-toxic pet supplies, tree free paper products, organic foods, and so much more. Soon, they’ll be offering CBD oil and they’re constantly adding to their product line.


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