Sustainable ecommerce startup Olive now ships beauty products in addition to clothing – TechCrunch

Earlier this year, a startup called Olive launched its new shopping site and app with the goal of making e-commerce more efficient, convenient and sustainable by offering a way for consumers to aggregate their orders from all retailers in one-time shipments that arrive in reusable packaging, not cardboard. If the items must be returned, those same packages are reused. Otherwise, Olive will come back to pick them up. Since its debut in February 2021, the company has grown to include more than 100 retailers, predominantly in the fashion space. Today, it is expanding again by adding support for another 25 beauty retailers.

Launch partners in the new effort include brands such as Supergoop!, Kora Organics, Pai Skincare, Erno Laszlo, Jecca Blac, Sahajan, Clark’s Botanicals, NuFace, Purlisse, Cover FX, LYS Beauty, SiO Beauty, Peace Out Skincare, Koh Gen Do, Julep Beauty, In Common Beauty, Indie Lee, Glow Recipe, Ursa Major, RMS Beauty, Ceremony, Sweet Chef, Follain and BalmLabs.

They join Olive’s numerous clothing and accessories retailers such as Adidas, Superga, Rag & Bone, Birdies, Vince, Goop, Khaite, and Veronica Beard, among others.

To support the expansion, Olive also developed a new set of reusable packaging that has protective elements for the most damaging items. Whereas before the company had offered a variety of packages such as soft-sided garment bags and various sizes of stiffer containers (see below), it is now introducing its own alternative to the air bubble strips that you will find in most. out of Amazon boxes these days. . The Olive version is integrated into its reusable packaging and can be easily deflated by the customer when it comes time to return the package at pick-up time.

Image credits: Olive, founder Nate Faust

Olive’s idea is timely. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce adoption has exploded. But so has the fault of consumers. Multiple packages arrive at the doors each week, with cardboard and plastic for recycling, if available in your area. Delivery trucks (Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and others) are now a daily sight on every city street. Meanwhile, market leaders like Amazon and Walmart seem very keen on increasing speed of delivery, not necessarily efficiency and sustainability. (Amazon allows buyers choose an Amazon Day delivery, for consolidated shipments, but it is optional).

Olive founder Nate Faust says he was inspired to build the company after realizing how little interest there was from the big e-commerce players in tackling some of the market’s downsides and inefficiencies. Faust had previously served as Vice President of Quidsi (which ran and and sold to Amazon), later co-founder and COO of Jet, which was acquired by Walmart for $ 3.3 billion. Before Olive, he was a senior vice president at Walmart.

After some soul searching, he realized he wanted to build something in the e-commerce space that would focus more on social and environmental impact, not just driving growth and consumption.

Image credits: Olive

“I had an epiphany one night taking out the trash and recycling,” explains Faust. “It’s crazy that we’re so far into e-commerce and this is the status quo delivery experience – all this waste, which is both an environmental issue and a nuisance to consumers,” he says. “And the bigger problem than packaging is actually the fact that most of those packages are delivered one at a time, and those last-mile emissions are actually the largest contributor of carbon emissions in the supply chain of post-purchase e-commerce. “

Consumers may not think of all problems, because many of them are hidden, but they struggle in ways other than dealing with waste. Returns are still a hassle, so much so that Amazon now allows customers go to Kohl’s where it partners in in-store return kiosks that also help the brick and mortar retailer increase their own foot traffic.

Also, consumers shopping on different sites have to set up online accounts over and over again, entering addresses and payment information many times, which is a hassle. Olive offers the convenience of an Amazon-like one-stop-shop experience on that front.

Meanwhile, Olive addresses the issue of return by allowing consumers to simply place their unwanted items in Olive’s packaging and then drop them off at their doorstep or with the building doorman for return. It works with both the USPS and a network of local carriers to serve customers in its current footprint of about 100 million US consumers on both coasts.

While customers don’t have to deal with packaging, it hasn’t been completely removed from the equation at this point. Olive today partners with retailers who ship packages to their own West and East Coast warehouses, where they repackage them into reusable containers for delivery to customers. Right now, that means Olive is responsible for the recycling issues. But it is working with its brand partners to pack orders directly into reusable packaging from scratch, before shipping them to Olive’s consolidation warehouses for delivery. Today, he has a few retailers on board with this effort, but he hopes it will eventually expand to include all partners.

The company generates revenue with an affiliate commission model, which works for now. But over time, that business model may need to evolve over time, as your customer base and partnerships grow. Today, around 10,000 consumers have used Olive, ahead of any large-scale customer acquisition and marketing efforts by the startup.

For now, New York-based Olive is growing her business through a fundraising from around $ 15 million from investors, including Invus, Primary Venture Partners, and SignalFire.

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