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Ina Fried / Axios

Tina Sharkey has been reinventing media for some time, having run both BabyCenter.com and NBC's iVillage before trying her hand at VC work at Sherpa Capital.

  • For the last couple of years, though, she's been working to upend the consumer goods space with Brandless, which launches today, charging $3 apiece for all manner of packaged food and household staples.
  • Think of it as an online Trader Joe's for the millennial set, with a little bit of Ikea's kitchen section thrown in. Rather than feature product brands, the front of each package lists the product's attributes, including details on whether it is organic, kosher, non-GMO, etc.
  • But make no mistake, Brandless is aiming to be a new kind of brand.

"We're a different kind of brand but we are unapologetically a brand," Sharkey told me last week as we toured the company's offices in San Francisco's Presidio.

Why it matters: Sharkey says that consumers buying goods on store shelves are paying a 40 percent "brand tax" and that going it their way can save money. Plus at $3 per item customers don't have to buy large quantities. But not all the products are an equally good deal as profit margins vary by product and flat $9 shipping fee can add up on small orders. (Orders over $72 ship free.)

What they offer: On the food side, it's everything from quinoa puffs to pasta sauce, peanut butter and crackers. Household goods include toothpaste, tampons and dish soap, but also things like colanders and can openers.

What's missing: There are no perishables. In addition, it's been tough to find away to sell some pricier items, like Almond butter. But Sharkey is still hopeful on that one, seeing single-serving packs as a possible solution.

Meanwhile: Brandless is using the launch to announce a $35 million Series B round led by New Enterprise Associates, with GV, Redpoint Ventures, Cowboy Ventures and Slow Ventures also investing.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Technology

TikTok drives new nostalgia economy

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Older brands, trends and technologies are making a comeback as younger consumers desperately chase slower, less chaotic times.

The big picture: TikTok's algorithm makes it easy for flashback items to resurface and quickly go viral both on its platform and eventually on other social networks.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

8 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

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