As much as we love a good stroll at the farmers’ market buying local produce, we are busy dudes and sometimes a Saturday morning lounging on the couch trumps marching through the market. But we still are big supporters of organic, local and healthy food and many of the online shopping spots just don’t carry the brands we would typically shop for.
Enter Thrive Market, the first socially conscious online store selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices. They carry over 2,500 products from 400 of the best brands on the market. We tested it out (you can too with a free trial membership) and were very impressed with the products we found. Compostable trash bags? Cool! Brown Rice Pasta? Yes please. Tea tree toothpicks? Right on. There is a minimal fee to be a member ($56 a year) but it is well worth it. Think of it as an online co-op.
We spoke to the founder of Thrive Market, Gunnar Lovelace (yes, really) about his background and how the market became a reality.
Gunnar, what is your background?
I’ve been in the natural products industry for many years. It’s a $200 billion annual market from food to health to clothing. I also have a jewelry company called Love Heals that sells in 500 stores.
When did Thrive Market launch?
We just launched in mid November and had 500,000 people the first week! So there is an incredible demand.
What inspired you to start this online shopping destination?
I grew up with a single mom and saw how hard it was for her to make healthy choices.
I have been fascinated by health and wellness my whole life. Later my mother married a man who owns a food co-op and I realized how buying through a co-op can get you better prices. So this is basically like a 21st Century Co-Op. I am fascinated with a vehicle for social change.
Is this a first?
It’s the first time you can buy a lot of these natural products at the same price as conventional products. The biggest complaint by most American families is that they can’t afford organic products.
How did you meet the brands?
A lot of my friends own these companies- I have been in the food world for the past 16 years. They were just as excited to do this and to get more exposure. We are basically taking out the middle man. We take the product and sell directly to the consumer.
So is it thriving? Sorry we had to.
We are constantly bringing on new brands. Our primary focus is to educate people about the availability of these products. That is the most essential goal as well as getting the word out as far and wide as possible. We make it easy for people by providing them with a simple website, free shipping and heavy customer service. We want to be known as a trusted curated source. When there are 50 bags of chips at a healthy food store it is overwhelming, so we narrow it down.