Reusable packaging startup Olive creates new model to keep clothes out of landfills


When Olive launched in 2021, it aimed to eliminate waste from online shopping by allowing consumers to order from multiple sites and get products in one reusable container.

Today, the company is relaunching itself in the business-to-business space to initially partner with apparel retailers to establish a circular economy that delivers apparel and accessories orders in zero-waste, reusable packaging, while also simplifying shipping. is becoming.

Olive starting with clothing is appropriate because the fashion industry is quite wasteful and puts an estimated 13 million tons of textiles in landfills every year. It’s an area that quite a few venture-backed companies are also attacking, from thredUp to Vinted to Archive.

Olive founder Nate Faust, who previously co-founded and then sold the company to Walmart in 2016, told TBEN he saw where consumer behavior was shifting: more of a “buy, buy, clean” behavior. , where people buy until their closets bulge and then they get rid of clothes so they can buy more. He wanted to steer the company in a direction to offer a new solution.

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“We want it to become more of a ‘buy one, sell one’ behavior that gets items to that secondary market easier and faster if the items still have a more usable lifespan,” he added.

Ironically, Faust said the B2B approach was something Olive’s brand partners had been asking for when the company launched its business-to-consumer service in 2021. At the time, doing multiple shipments was too cumbersome and would double shipping costs for retailers. mean, he added.

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However, the company bolstered its resale side by acquiring Linda’s Stuff, one of eBay’s largest resellers. Now consumers can put their gently used items in Olive’s reusable packaging, where it’s handed over to Linda’s Stuff to be sold on eBay. The majority of the items are sold within 30 days and the customer and Olive split the sales proceeds.

In the new model, according to the company, customers place an order with a brand that offers “Olive Waste-Free Delivery” at checkout. Olive partners with the brand to package, ship and deliver customer’s order in Olive’s reusable packaging.

If the customer wishes to return the item, Olive will collect it and return it to the retailer. When they want to ship it, they put the items in the same packaging, the items are picked up and sold by Linda’s Stuff.

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The company now works with 200 brands and will expand that to include other categories of items that can be used for multiple purposes, such as electronics and some household items.

“It’s a truly unique value proposition for brands as we enable them to provide this more sustainable and superior delivery experience for their customers, but at no additional cost,” Faust added. “We match their delivery and return costs with existing carriers and they are never charged for empty pack collection.”


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