Earlier this year, a startup named Olive launched its new shopping site and app with the goal of making e-commerce more efficient, convenient and sustainable, allowing consumers to bring their orders from retailers into reusable ones. to provide a method of aggregating into a single shipment. Packaging, not cardboard. If items need to be returned, the same packages are reused. Otherwise, Olive will return to pick them up. Since the beginning of February 2021, the company has grown to include over 100 retailers, primarily in the fashion space. Today, it’s expanding again by adding support for 25 beauty retailers.
Brands launched in the new endeavor include Supergoop!, Kora Organics, Pai Skincare, Erno Laszlo, Jekka Blak, Drumstick, Clark’s Botanicals, Nuface, Perlis, Cover FX, LYS Beauty, CO Beauty, Peace Out Skincare, Koh Gen Do, Are included. Julep Beauty, In Common Beauty, Indie Lee, Glow Recipe, Ursa Major, RMS Beauty, Ceremonia, Sweet Chef, Follen and BamLabs.
They join Olive’s many apparel and accessory retailers such as Adidas, Superga, Rag & Bone, Birdies, Vince, Goop, Khaite and Veronica Beard.
To support the expansion, Olive also developed a new set of reusable packaging that has protective elements for more damaged items. Whereas previously, the company offered a range of packages such as soft-sided garment bags and more rigid containers of different sizes (see below), it is now offering its own alternative to the air bubble strips you find on most Amazon boxes these days. I will get it. . Olive’s version is integrated into its reusable packaging and can be easily deflated by the customer when it’s time to return the package at pickup.
The idea for Olive is timely. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce adoption has increased. But there is also consumer guilt in this. Several packages arrive at the door every week to recycle cardboard and plastic – if that’s even available in your area. Delivery trucks – Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and others – are now a daily spectacle on every city street. Meanwhile, market leaders like Amazon and Walmart are largely interested in increasing delivery speed, not necessarily efficiency and consistency. (Amazon allows buyers Choose Amazon Day Delivery, For consolidated shipments, but this is opt-in.)
Olive founder Nate Faust says he was inspired to form the company after realizing how little interest the big e-commerce players were in addressing some of the inconveniences and inefficiencies in the market. Faust previously served as vice president at QuidC (which ran diapers.com and soap.com and was sold to Amazon), then co-founder and COO at Jet, which was acquired by Walmart for $3.3 billion. Was. Prior to Olive, he was a senior vice president at Walmart.
After some self-discovery, he realized he wanted to create something in the e-commerce space that focused more on social and environmental impact, not just on driving growth and consumption.
“I had an epiphany one evening when I was taking out the trash and recycling it,” Faust explains. “It’s crazy that we are so far into e-commerce and this status quo delivery experience – all this garbage, which is both an environmental issue and a hassle for consumers,” he says. “And the bigger issue than packaging is really the fact that most of those packages are delivered at once, and last mile emissions are actually the biggest contributor of carbon emissions to the post-purchase e-commerce supply chain.”
Consumers may not think about all the issues, as many of them are hidden, but they struggle with ways other than dealing with waste. Returns are still a hassle — so much so, that Amazon now allows customers to visit Kohl’s, where it has partnered with in-store return kiosks that help the brick-and-mortar retailer increase its own foot traffic. helps.
Also, consumers shopping from different sites often have to set up online accounts by entering address and payment information, which is an annoyance. Olive facilitates a one-stop-shop experience similar to Amazon’s on that front.
Meanwhile, Olive addresses the return issue by allowing consumers to put their unwanted items back in Olive’s packaging, then drop them off at their door or with the building’s doorman for return. It works with both USPS and a network of local carriers to serve customers in its current footprint, which has approximately 100 million US subscribers on both coasts.
While customers don’t have to deal with packaging, it’s not completely eliminated from the equation at this point. Olive Today partners with retailers who ship packages to their own West Coast and East Coast warehouses, where they repack them into reusable containers to be distributed to customers. Right now, that means Olive is responsible for the recycling issues. But it’s working with its brand partners to pack orders directly from the start in reusable packaging before shipping them to Olive’s consolidation warehouses for delivery. Today, there are few retailers on board with this effort, but it hopes to eventually expand to include all partners.
The company generates revenue on an affiliate commission model, which works for now. But over time, it may need to evolve that business model over time, as its customer base and partnerships grow. Olive is currently used by around 10,000 consumers, prior to any large-scale marketing and customer acquisition efforts by the startup.
For now, New York-based Olive is growing its business through a collect money Approximately $15 million from investors including Invus, Primary Venture Partners and SignalFire.