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How to forge a brand and retail partnership that will make you mainstreamHow to forge a brand and retail partnership that will make you mainstream

Eric Carl, merchandising wellness strategy lead at Target, and, Eric Ryan, co-founder and CEO at Olly, discuss the ins and outs of their unique partnership and how to achieve unparalleled success both financially and with positive social impact in the natural market space.

2 Min Read
How to forge a brand and retail partnership that will make you mainstream

"We continue to drive a tremendous amount of innovation to Target ... while we do continue to expand distribution that allows us to drive more marketing and brand."

—Eric Ryan, Olly

Part 1: An inside look into the dynamic partnership


  • Eric Carl, Target, and Eric Ryan, Olly, talk about their roles and how entrepreneurs can partner with retailers to make money and have a bigger impact.

  • Dynamic partnerships can help brands launch new products, build successful marketing and discover more ways to have positive social and environmental change in the community and with consumers.

  • Olly and Target partnered with an art studio for disabled students in Oakland, California, to create designs for new products and raise money for the nonprofit. Finding ways to give back to the community is essential for brands to achieve social outreach and impact.

  • Ryan talks about the unique program, Made to Matter, that formed a retreat for natural brand entrepreneurs to pitch their innovative ideas to Target.

  • One main challenge is to be able to continue to differentiate the products and brands by identifying white space opportunities in the market.


Part 2: The mainstream tipping point


  • To be successful with partners, Olly decided to choose flagship retailers to drive innovation and launch new products while using their other distribution to get more customers.

  • There is a tipping point where brands hit mainstream status. Retailers have to be ready to create backfill and an ongoing pipeline.

  • Can an entrepreneur come to Target with an idea for a product, without having the product ready?

  • It’s important to go in with ideas that are very fleshed out and know what the retailer’s greater goals and objectives are for their brand portfolio.

  • Where is the space for smaller companies to come into a large retailer like Target?

  • An overview of Target’s category nuances.

  • Regional programs to help early stage entrepreneurs connect with Target and understand their strategy.


This session—Retail Summit, Building Strong Relationships at Retail—was recorded at Natural Products Expo West 2018.

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