What Startup Retail And Consumer Brands Are Focussing On In 2020


Since launching Gramersi in late July, we have published over 50 stories on a wide range of startup consumer brands. Whilst doing so, three things have become very apparent, very quickly:


  1. People are looking to buy speciality products that better meet their needs, such as skincare products that work with their skin type, or food that doesn’t contain allergens, but still tastes as good as the original product it was designed to replace.

  2. COVID has hurt a lot of big retailers, and high street stores, but smaller retail brands have been agile and adapted — and for some, business is booming.

  3. Startups have begun to focus on sustainability, ‘giving back,’ being eco-friendly, veganism, and natural ingredients, which is starting to become ‘the norm.’


Questions about society, morality and the impact humans are having on the environment has been around for a long time. Now, people aren’t just acknowledging these problems. They are enacting positive change, through ethical and sustainable business practices.


The first industry to start putting this into action was the fashion industry.


In 2013, a tragic accident occured: a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1,134 people. This accident led to the rise of ethical and sustainable fashion brands and the launch of ‘Who Made My Clothes?,’ run by Fashion Revolution.


Since then, it has spread to every industry, especially in retail.


Here are some great examples of some brands we’ve covered, that are putting ethical practices into action:



I remember watching an episode of Dragon’s Den a few years back, where the entrepreneur pitching mentioned that they gave 10% of their profits to charity. The dragons turned their nose up, because at the time, the idea of ‘profit for purpose’ seemed like a crazy one.


Fast forward a few years later, and the Dragons are now investing in these types of companies.


With consumers now demanding better business practices, coupled with the outrage when large corporations act immorally, startups are beginning to use this to their advantage, and they’re winning in the marketplace against much bigger competitors, and the age-old titans.


One urgent question you need to ask yourself is this:


What are YOU doing to make YOUR brand more ethical and beneficial to society? If this is something you’ve not considered before, now is the time to start.


Some of the places you could start are:


  1. Is your manufacturing process ethical, efficient as possible and as eco-friendly as you can make it?

  2. Are the materials you use sustainable, and can they be recycled?

  3. Could your products be improved to make them last longer or allow them to be repurposed, so less ends up in landfill?

  4. Is your packaging recyclable or, at least, biodegradable?

  5. How efficient is your distribution and delivery process?


If you’d like to know more about making your business more ethical and sustainable, I highly recommend getting in touch with Kate Hills, from Make It British, who is an expert in this field.


Good luck!


This is a guest post written by George Taylor, CEO at Gramersi - the ‘online retail and consumer startup magazine,’ in July 2020 - after realising that there wasn’t an easy way for the curious consumer to learn about new retail and consumer-based brands, nor is it easy for those startups to gain strong PR. Ultimately, we’re attempting to tackle those problems...


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