Total Retail Talks
Total Retail Talks is for retail executives who crave the knowledge and insights needed to stay successful in today's fast-paced industry. Through engaging talks and focused interviews, listeners take away useful information and practical advice from a full roster of retail experts, influencers and leaders.

In episode 429 of Total Retail Talks, Editor-in-Chief Joe Keenan interviews Jeremiah McElwee, chief merchandising officer of Thrive Market, a leading online marketplace specializing in a highly curated assortment of organic and non-GMO products. During the wide-ranging episode, McElwee provides an overview of Thrive Market and his role within the organization (0:55), including how merchandising fits into the company's mission (2:40). He details how the company's merchandising strategy has evolved since its launch (3:55), the analysis that goes into its ever-evolving product mix (6:30), and the role that private-label products play currently and going forward (10:10).

In addition, McElwee discusses why Thrive Market expanded from its core grocery catalog to adjacent categories such as health and wellness (14:15), the company's advocacy efforts, including for Fair Trade standards (16:55), and the grocery merchandising trends he's most closely following for Q4 and into next year (20:50). Lastly, he touches on the growing consumer interest in transparent sourcing, natural ingredients and alternative food options (24:00).

A nearly 30-year veteran of the natural products industry, Jeremiah McElwee has been on all sides of the business and supply chain, literally from seed to shelf. Part of the initial startup team at Thrive Market, McElwee currently serves as the chief merchandising officer. He curated Thrive Market’s first catalog offering and developed the quality guidelines (over 700 never allowed ingredients) that still drive product purchasing today. McElwee also served for seven years as the executive global coordinator for the beauty, apparel and wellness categories at Whole Foods Market. During his tenure, he pioneered multiple industry-changing quality standard initiatives, including natural beauty standards, organic labeling requirements for personal care, and the largest-ever sustainable packaging guidelines for a major retailer at the time.

McElwee is also a passionate advocate for and co-creator of Fair Trade & Regenerative Organic standards that have changed the consumer products landscape. In addition to developing hundreds of best-selling branded products that currently line natural food store shelves and managing the Whole Foods & 365 private-label brands, he also helped Dr. Andrew Weil develop his branded product platform. When not working as an eco-superhero, McElwee can be found in the Texas Hill Country running (rain or shine), reading children's books to his daughters, or checking the surf report and planning his next escape to the coast.

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