Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Kirkland Signature Brand
Kirkland Signature products didn't appear until the '90s.
If you’ve ever been to Costco, you understand the enthusiasm. The warehouse is full of amazing buys—and you know there’s always going to be something new and amazing with each trip. It’s a one-stop shop for clothes, grocery deals and even some more bizarre purchases. But if there’s anything you remember after scanning the multitude of stocked shelves, it’s a single brand name: Kirkland.
Ever wondered about the Kirkland Signature brand history? Here’s what we know.
The History of “Kirkland Signature”
Around 30 years ago, it’s unlikely you would have found the Kirkland name in your Costco warehouse. That’s because up until the ’90s, Costco didn’t have a single brand that covered all of its packaged goods. Rather, about 30 different brands made up all the store-brand products at Costco.
But Jim Sinegal, Costco’s co-founder and then CEO, was inspired by an article in Forbes to overhaul Costco’s branding. In 1995, Costco took all its private label products and gave them a single brand name: Kirkland Signature. The name came from the company’s original Washington State headquarters. While Costco had recently moved to Issaquah, Sinegal said, “Nobody could spell Issaquah, so we kept it.”
See how famous fast-food restaurants got their names.
Why Did Costco Want Just One Brand?
It comes down to consistency and being instantly recognizable. While it was common for other stores at the time to have specific names for specific products (food separate from clothing separate from home goods), Costco thought differently.
By creating a single overarching brand for all its private label products, the warehouse chain helped shoppers make decisions. The Kirkland brand meant a product would be high quality, regardless of what people were buying. There’s a reason loyal Costco customers will tell you to buy the store-brand products first.
While it may be seen as a risk to blanket so many different products together, it has definitely worked in Costco’s favor. This past fiscal year, Costco made $58 billion in sales from just the Kirkland brand alone! Now that’s some customer loyalty.