Brandless co-founder Tina Sharkey steps down as CEO
Last week in a blog post, Brandless co-founder Tina Sharkey announced she had stepped down from her position as CEO and moved into a "more focused role" as co-chair of the board of directors.
Evan Price, Brandless CFO, will serve as interim CEO as the company looks for a "seasoned retail operator." Brandless declined to provide additional information regarding the executive shuffling.
In her post, Sharkey said with the leadership team currently in place, it's time for her to wear fewer hats. "This will allow me to shift all my time to accelerating our mission, our culture, our community, and our business and continue to make an outsized impact."
A little over a year and a half after the brand launched, Sharkey is handing off the CEO spot to spend more time guiding the larger mission and awareness around the business. "I have never felt more strongly about showing the world that profit and purpose are not at odds with each other, and that WE can build a better way," she wrote in her blog post.
"As all startup founders know, while scaling your company you have to make deliberate choices about where you spend your time in order to fully realize your vision and lead your business to success," she said. "Since our inception, I've held multiple roles simultaneously here at Brandless. As Co-Founder, I serve as curator of our collective vision and purpose, holder of culture and community, fundraiser, intention setter, movement evangelist, board member and team builder. In my other role as CEO, I have served as heads down operator focused on scaling the infrastructure for our growing team as we execute against our operational plan."
Sharkey's role change comes after a push in category expansion. So far this year, the company has launched in pet and baby, cookware, and most recently health and wellness. Sharkey also oversaw the debut of a New York City pop-up experience last year.
But reports that surfaced last year also showed that the company may have struggled early on to retain shoppers. Brandless has lower retention rates and order averages than mass merchandisers like Walmart, Target and Amazon, as well as e-commerce competitors Instacart and Thrive Market. At the time, Brandless told Recode that its internal figures show the company is succeeding.
Building brand loyalty, or brand love within "the community" as Sharkey has called her customer base, is a major priority. One way the company has shown it takes that value seriously is through product innovation. In a January interview, Sharkey (then CEO) told Retail Dive that the new category launches are in direct to response to what shoppers have asked for. "Direct-to-consumer isn't a channel," she said at the time. "It's a relationship."
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