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Blueland bets on retail with latest Whole Foods roll out

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Jan 17, 2024
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Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Blueland, the DTC refillable cleaning brand, believes there's lots of untapped growth in the retail channel, CEO Sarah Yoo tells Axios.

Why it matters: Once online-only brands are seizing on brick-and-mortar retail as a way to cut customer acquisition costs, attract new customers and grow.

Driving the news: This week, Blueland announced its plastic-free refillable hand soap products will be found on Whole Foods shelves nationwide.

Zoom out: Blueland doubled down on its retail presence last year, offering its products at Costco, Target, Kroger, Erewhon and the Container Store.

  • "About 80% of consumers still want to buy their cleaning products, like their hand soap, their laundry replenishment, where they're doing their other weekly or biweekly shopping," Yoo says.
  • That's "still typically in brick-and-mortar stores," she says.

How it works: The company's tablet product can be mixed with water to create a full-bottle cleaning solution.

  • Blueland has a range of home products, such as hand soap, laundry detergent and dish soap. It has also rolled out some personal care items, like body wash and face wash.
  • Blueland has been cautious about introducing products too fast, choosing to emphasize expanding existing category products like laundry.

The big picture: Consumer willingness to adopt Blueland's "just add water" products is buoyed by more sustainable and healthy living preferences, Yoo notes.

Catch up fast: The company has raised $35 million to date.

  • The company raised a $20 million Series B led by Prelude Growth Partners in 2022.
  • Investors include Forecast Labs and 468 Capital, as well as a host of celebrity names, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss, Justin Timberlake, Adrian Grenier, Sweetgreen co-founder Nicolas Jammet, and Thrive Market co-founder Nick Green.

Of note: The company is comfortable with its capital runway right now, with no need to immediately fundraise in the near term, Yoo says.

  • The company's focus will be on how to put "existing cash that we have to better use," she adds.

What's next: Alongside retail channels, Blueland sees opportunity in B2B by serving hotels, gyms and workplaces, Yoo says.

By the numbers: Blueland hit profitability last year, and it has generated over $100 million in sales over the last three years.

  • The company has more than 40 patents, and more down the pike, for its refillable cleaning and care products.
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