POSTED BY: Mary Helow
Is no brand the new brand?
Is no brand the new brand?
Italic recently launched a $13 million investment and a waiting list of 100K eager shoppers.
They’re a members-only club offering luxury products without the shiny logos. Or high price tags. They partner with factories around the world who make luxury products for high-end brands like Prada, Burberry and La Mer. Italic creates products using the exact high-quality materials, meticulous craftsmanship and similar designs. They don’t design products or buy inventory from other manufacturers, rather they leave it to the factory’s product designers. You pay €120 a year to access the products (which will be waived if you sign up in 2018) but are limited to 2 items a month. But hey, a Celine-worthy handbag that usually retails for €4000 for a mere €250… Who wouldn’t want to have a look? (Yes I signed up). www.italic.com
They’re not the only game in town. On the opposite side of high-end luxury goods, you can pick up everything from loo roll to face scrub at Brandless. Every product is $3. All the time. Plus, the feel-good factor is high because with every purchase they donate a meal through the Feeding America programme. brandless.com
With Public Goods, your membership fee is their revenue. They believe all the payouts along the distribution chain from manufacturer to customer means we pay more. Their goal is to go direct and sidestep the markups. No product is marked up. If it costs €5 to make it, you pay €5. They sell linens to skincare, paper to household products. Simple, clean designs are nice on the eye too. Publicgoods.com
Beauty Pie is where things got really interesting to me. My ears (or eyes) perked right up. I’m a self-proclaimed skincare junkie, obsessed with ingredients and efficacy. I research to death and I don’t mind shelling out for something I feel really works. Interestingly enough, through my travels, I’ve learned that expensive skincare is completely unnecessary. They’re mostly marketing hype anyway as there are no regulations or requirement to prove the lofty claims. Most (notice I didn’t say all) of the products I use every day – and believe me, that list is long – is under €30 and some well under. So the idea is that these guys use the same labs, the same ingredients, the same formulations as the big boys and supply them directly to members is appealing.
But will I take the plunge? And in general, can brand-loving societies separate from our love of brand associations, even if the product itself is good enough?
We, in our global economy, love our stuff. Our iPhones, our Audi’s, our Yves Saint Laurent. We shell out billions every year across the globe because of the way we feel when using/buying/talking about these products.
But more and more companies believe it’s time for a revolution. Taking a page from Naomi Klein’s book No Logo in 1999, they feel it’s time to move towards a more transparent, fair and open marketplace.
Is it possible to leave behind our Coca-Cola, our Levi’s, our MTV?
Watch this space….
Mary Helow, Senior Account Director
Mary called San Francisco home until 2005 but prefers the cobblestone streets of Dublin. Her loves are understanding what makes a brand tick, Star Trek (Captain Kirk is king, she says) and any type of Mexican food she can get her hands on.