Say Goodbye To Cardboard Guilt With A New Sustainable-Shipping Platform

One night last year, in the midst of a pandemic-induced lockdown, Olive founder Nate Faust noticed that a problem was piling up. As he hauled a household’s worth of discarded cardboard down the driveway of his suburban home, he gazed down his street and noticed similar mountains of shipping waste dotting the curbs of neighboring houses. A longtime veteran of the e-commerce landscape (co-founder of Jet.com and former head of Walmart's domestic online supply chain), Faust was intimately familiar with the infrastructure that enabled this pileup — but, this was the moment he realized a breaking point was near. “We’re 25 years into e-commerce,” he explained, “yet this is the status quo delivery experience — over 10 billion shipments a year sent in single-use, one-way packaging?” It wasn’t just the accumulation of physical waste associated with shipments that jarred him. “Staring out my front window for the last year, working from home,” says Faust, “I’d watch two, three, four, sometimes more delivery trucks a day coming to my house,” dispatched by a host of different carriers like UPS, FedEx, Lasership, DHL, and Amazon, all operating independently, clogging roadways and guzzling gas as they made multiple trips to the same address. “It sort of dawned on me that ... this is crazy.” A little over a year after Faust’s lightbulb moment, Olive has arrived: the new shipping platform with a mission to consolidate unnecessary carrier deliveries and curb the excess waste generated by the retail shipping industry.
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You can order from the places where you normally order and everything you order gets delivered in consolidated deliveries in reusable packaging one to two times a week.

Nate Faust, Olive FOunder
The verdant name stems from “Olive’s mission [of] sustainability [with a] consumer proposition focused on convenience. We wanted a hint of green to come through in the brand, and of the shades of green, we liked Olive the best. Shop green; shop Olive,” Faust explains. He had been contemplating his next business venture since leaving Walmart in 2019 and realized that he was uniquely equipped to craft a long-term solution to the wasteful and inefficient practices that are the norm for most retail shipments across the country. The result is a user-friendly tool that marries Faust’s deep supply-chain expertise with a mind-bogglingly complex back-end infrastructure enabling customers to complete and manage online orders through Olive — and the company, in turn, executes shipments with an eye on minimizing trips and packaging. “You can order from the places where you normally order and everything you order gets delivered in consolidated deliveries in reusable packaging one to two times a week, depending on where you live,” Faust explains.

When the items show up, you take them out, collapse the packaging, leave it on your doorstep.

NATE FAUST, OLIVE FOUNDER
Despite the complicated web of technology that powers Olive, the brand has created a checkout experience that feels seamless; after signing up and entering your address, you’re prompted to download the platform’s Chrome extension. (For those of you who prefer a scrollable shopping experience, Olive also offers an app.) Once you’re logged in, you’ll get a quick pop-up every time you land on an Olive-affiliated retailer. It comes up again at checkout, where you’ll be prompted to accept your automatically populated “Olive address” — a distribution hub where shipments from hundreds of shops are consolidated and re-packaged in reusable, box-like “shippers” made almost entirely from recycled plastic and scheduled for delivery to individual customers’ homes on roughly a weekly basis. “When the items show up, you take them out, collapse the packaging, leave it on your doorstep,” explains Faust. “If you have any returns, you put [them] straight back in there; zip it up. Two clicks on the Olive app to tell us what you’re sending back, same thing — leave it on your doorstep, or with your doorman, or in your mailroom. We pick it up, get those items back to the retailer, and make sure you get your credit.”
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The convenience element of the unified tracking and single delivery as well as that consolidation benefit — those opportunities are the greatest in fashion.

Nate Faust, Olive Founder
So, this brings us to the million-dollar question: what exactly can you buy on Olive? Lucky for us, the platform has partnered with — to put it scientifically — nearly every single one of our favorite fashion brands. The list reads like a yearbook signed by all of our best (fashion) friends; from heavyweight retailers like Anthropologie or Free People to athletic labels like Adidas or Hoka One One and more niche imprints like Kule or Khaite. The decision to launch within the fashion space stemmed from several factors that are unique to the apparel category, Faust explains: “It’s the largest and most fragmented category online — where people shop at the most different places. So, these benefits of both the convenience element of the unified tracking and single delivery as well as that consolidation benefit — those opportunities are the greatest in fashion.” Plus, he adds, “with return rates that are higher in fashion, the benefit of the easy doorstep pickup is huge.” 
While the platform has already reduced shipments to customers’ homes by 20% after less than three months in business, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for the ambitious brand. “We hope to cover in the long term everything you can buy online,” says Faust. And according to him, e-commerce consumers are readily embracing the new service: “There’s already customers on our platform who obviously love shopping this way — they’ve been doing a lot of shopping with us.”
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