Building on its commitment to remove harmful chemicals from its products and invest in green chemistry, retail giant Target has kicked off its first-ever Target Takeoff — a mini retail boot camp focused on supporting emerging businesses who are working to create healthier, more ethical and sustainable products.
“We know our guests want better-for-you and sustainable options from diverse suppliers, and there are already so many businesses out there solving for those needs,” said Jennifer Silberman, Target’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
“Target has an opportunity to use our scale and expertise to help some of those brands bring their products to market faster at a national level. Many of these solutions eventually come full-circle and end up in Target’s assortment.”
Ten startups from across the US were selected to participate in the inaugural Target Takeoff, which focused on the theme of corporate responsibility and solutions that help consumers live better and support their communities.
- True Moringa: The clean beauty brand makes products with cold-pressed moringa oil as the base. Their products are 100 percent vegan, paraben-free and sulfate-free. The company works directly with more than 2,500 small farming families in Ghana to cultivate its natural ingredients and has planted over 300,000 moringa trees there to combat deforestation and malnutrition.
- Love Grain: The consumer food company connects farmers to families through its line of nutritious, gluten-free foods based on teff, an ancient Ehtiopian grain. The naturally gluten-free, low glycemic ingredient is also high in protein, fiber, calcium, iron and essential amino acids. The company works into a range of snacks designed for on-the-go lifestyles.
- Asiya: The activewear brand designs clothing, sports hijabs and uniforms for Muslim women of all ages. They aim to design innovative products that are modest and comfortable to wear during physical activity, while also upholding religious and cultural beliefs.
- Mented Cosmetics: Short for ‘pigmented,’ Mented is an upscale makeup line for women of color, including a line of six nude lip shades. Founded on the belief that every woman should be able to easily find beauty products that suit her, the brand crafts is shades with women of color as their focus.
- Salty Girl Seafood: Inspired by its founders’ love of the ocean, the brand is based on the belief that serving sustainable seafood should be simple. All products are wild-caught and traceable to the fishing community they came from. The fish is also seasoned with healthy, non-GNO, gluten- and dairy-free ingredients, making the products easy to choose and prep.
- FATCO: FATCO specializes in making natural and organic bodycare products using tallow from grass-fed, pasture raised cows. Tallow is nutrient dense and possesses healing properties that can help address skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The brand also carries a full line of cleansing oils and deodorants.
- Iya Foods: Iya Foods is an authentic African-inspired food business offering savory simmer sauces, gluten-free flours, dried hibiscus flowers and petals and spices and seasonings.
- PiperWai: PiperWai Natural Deodorant has invented an effective cream deodorant made with activated charcoal. The natural ingredients including cocoa butter, shea butter and baking soda in PiperWai help neutralize odor and absorb moisture without irritating sensitive skin.
- ThinkEatLive: The St. Louis-based company has developed a super flour made from sunflower seeds that has four times more protein and three times less carbohydrates than traditional flours. Anything made from flour can be made from SunFlour and provide one-third of the daily protein and fiber requirements.
- Pique: Pique Tea Crystals are whole leaf tea, brewed and crystalized. Pique eliminates the cost and inefficiency associated with the bottle, cap, logistics, cold storage and preservatives of traditional ready-to-drink bottled teas, reinvesting instead in raw material plant inputs that deliver a superior product closely aligned with the demands of millennial customers for a sugar-free, clean label and sustainable product.
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Target hosted the 10 startups at its Minneapolis headquarters for a weeklong boot camp, where they have the opportunity to network, meet with mentors and undergo a crash course in all things retail. One the last day of “boot camp,” startups pitch their products to a panel of experts and get feedback. They’ll then take the next few months to apply what they've learned and consult with their mentors virtually. In July, they’ll be back at Target headquarters for a Demo Day to show off the results of their hard work.