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Published: 14 Aug 2017

LinkedIn's Free Mentorship Service

Globally, 94% of millennials with a mentor value the quality of advice and interest shown in their development

Online network LinkedIn has launched a free service that identifies potential mentors and helps match them with people who might be looking for professional advice.

Suitable mentors are hand-picked and appear in a list to those who have indicated their interest in receiving mentorship. They are then selected by swiping left or right, in a Tinder-like format.

Mentees can set certain parameters to narrow their search, such as topics they'd like to get advice on or where a person is located. Once they've matched with a mentor, they can start messaging them, and either side can terminate the communication at any point.

"We have done research and found that among the senior ranks of our user base, nine out of 10 people have said they want to give back," Hari Srinivasan, head of identity products, told TechCrunch. "Paying it forward is a powerful force. All of them received help on the way up and now want to find a way to give that help back to others."

It's a smart idea, given that 94% of millennials with a mentor globally value the quality of advice and interest shown in their development (Deloitte, 2016). It also provides a path to LinkedIn's other features, including additional training via or LinkedIn Learning.

Launched in August 2017, the service is currently only available to users in San Francisco and Australia.

For more on the tech tools and networks that are helping success seekers reach their goals, see Outgoing Overachievers.

Published: 11 Aug 2017

Eco-Friendly Electronics: The Repairable Flat Pack Toaster

Repairable Flatpack Toaster

In response to our increasingly throwaway attitude to home appliances, University of Edinburgh graduate Kasey Hou has created a flat-pack toaster designed for repair. Hou suggests that if people are able to construct their own electronics, they will have a better understanding of how they work, making them more likely to fix them rather than simply buy replacements.

The toaster itself has a pared-back design that makes it simple enough for anyone to build. For example, it features a manual pop-up function rather than an automatic one. The self-assembly format also enables it to be deconstructed for easier recycling when it does reach the end of its useful life.

The move towards self-assembly and designing for repair – a trend we’ve been tracking since our 2014 report Ethical Electronics – can be viewed as an evolution of the hacking movement, as highlighted in Design Democracy: Outsider. For further inspiration around this concept, see Adding Value: Long-Lasting Products and Designing Out Waste.

Published: 11 Aug 2017

Engaging Non-Urban Consumers

A new report from UK publisher Trinity Mirror and UK market research firm Ipsos Mori reveals that 49% of British consumers distrust brands and 69% distrust advertising. "Across our qualitative sample, the same complaint cropped up again and again: brands and advertising are perceived to be out of touch and too London-centric," the report states. "People still don't perceive their own lives to be represented in advertising."

The report states that "explicitly demonstrating to your audience that you are talking to them – on their turf – will go a long way to dispel the establishment prejudices that exist."

A similar conclusion was reached earlier this year by a study from global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi. In a survey of consumers across 30 small American towns, 95% of respondents said having a sense of pride in where they currently live is important.

Eve Pollet, trends and innovation strategist for Saatchi & Saatchi, told Adweek: "The marketer takeaway here can be to celebrate these small-town origins through an event or product and celebrate this pride of place... and give consumers something tangible to be prideful of."

Apple addressed these desires for more representation of non-urban, 'anti-establishment' communities in advertising with its latest Apple Music commercial, released in July. Featuring country music singer Brantley Gilbert, the ad is overtly pitched at rural Middle America, with Gilbert stating, "This is my home: no matter where I go, my heart stays here."

Apple is clearly facing up to the challenges of marketing in the post-Trump era, when suspicion of so-called urban 'elites' – politicians, big business, media and, of course, brands like Apple itself – is rife. For more on this subject, see Marketing to Divided America and Brands Take a Stand.

Published: 11 Aug 2017

Beer-Waste Pizza


Swedish brewery Spendrups has collaborated with award-winning Stockholm pizzeria 800 Degrees to transform its leftover spelt grain into pizza crusts.

Launching this summer at music festivals across Sweden under the collective brand Chiara Oranica, one-third of the flour in the pizza crusts consists of waste spelt grains from Spendrups' Norrlands Guld Ljus pale lager. This ratio is enough to give the crust a beer-like flavour without affecting the gluten in the dough, so the pizza still rises.

As well as being a smart way to repurpose the waste grain, the product also boasts an impressive nutritional profile. High in protein and fibre, soaking the spelt during the malting process also lowers its sugar content.

It's estimated that about 85% of brewery waste comes in the form of grain (ResearchGate, 2016) – the majority of which can be reused either as animal feed or as an ingredient for human consumption. For further examples of brands recycling waste produce, see Starbucks' Coffee-Waste Latte and Yeo Valley's Food-Waste Yogurt.

For an in-depth examination of the implications of food waste and the best ways to innovate in a world of depleting resources, see Reframing Rare and Feeding Tomorrow's Consumers.

Published: 11 Aug 2017

Reebok Redefines Sports Culture with Paris Flagship

Reebok La Salle De Sport

Repositioning itself as a holistically minded sports brand, Reebok has opened a tiered-access Paris brand space designed to serve as a culturally astute temple to active lifestyles. Dubbed La.Salle.De.Sport (‘gym room’) the 1,700 sq m destination combines a gym, shop, event hub and culture/relaxation area.

Absorb the Culture: Tailored to its locale – Pinacothèque, a former art history museum in one of Paris’s liveliest shopping and dining areas – it’s also conceived to link sporting performance with Parisian art and culture. The hub will host product launches and trials, photoshoots and art installations, while the Social Club area invites visitors to relax, socialise, and meet Reebok's brand ambassadors. 

For more on the value of localisation, see New Glocalisation Strategies and Retail’s Activist Brands.

Workout & Spend: The 250 sq m retail area is dedicated to high-impact fitness and features 500+ products. Meanwhile, the gym hosts small classes of up to 15 people, including Ashtanga yoga, barre and Thai boxing, plus workshops and personal training in CrossFit, boxing, cycling and yoga/Pilates. There are also masterclasses for specific goals such as Iron Man contests or marathons. Sessions are headed up by 40 instructors, while workouts are accompanied by DJ sets.

Tiered Access: Echoing the tiered structure of Adidas Berlin, visitors must purchase a 10-entry pass (€290/£259) or commit to either a sport-specific membership (€150/£134 per month) or access-all-areas annual membership (€165/£147 per month). For more, see Membership & Tiered Retailing.

See also Neutral Works: 360° Wellbeing Store, Tokyo, Sports Retail Reinvented and The Supportive Sell.

Published: 10 Aug 2017

Stella McCartney: Stepping Up Sustainability

Stella McCartney dress design & Bolt Thread's Sustainable Microsilk™

British fashion designer Stella McCartney is partnering with San Francisco biotech company Bolt Threads to add more luxury sustainable materials to her brand, further boosting her eco credentials.

Bolt Threads is renowned for using a clean, closed-loop manufacturing process to create lightweight, quality fabrics from natural proteins, such as a vegan-friendly, yeast-based silk. McCartney will use this silk for the first time to create a one-of-a-kind shift dress, commissioned for the exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (October 1 2017 to January 28 2018).

“I never thought there would be a day like this, where we would arrive at such an important moment when technology is fused with fashion, one of the most harmful industries to the environment,” said McCartney in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily. “Now is the time to search for answers, for alternatives. For me, I’ve always struggled with the use of silk, and finding Bolt has been a life-changing and career-changing moment for me.”

The collaboration continues McCartney’s ongoing eco efforts. In July 2017, the fashion label extended its partnership with Parley for the Oceans, an organisation that develops materials from plastic bottles found in the sea. Read Upscaling Upcycling: Adidas x Parley for more.

For further exploration of sustainable fashion solutions, look out for our upcoming Industry Report The New Fashion Landscape 2017 Update, publishing on August 16.

Published: 10 Aug 2017

Beauty Launches Inspired by Outer Space

Blaq's Meteor Shower, Spacemasks and GlamGlow Galacticleanse

Three recent beauty product launches take inspiration from outer space, using novel ingredients and celestial influences to allude to otherworldly experiences away from hectic daily life.

  • Spacemasks are single-use, self-heating eye masks that create a warm, 15-minute compress for “interstellar relaxation”, inspired by the notion of space travel. Made in the UK, they combine iron filings that heat up automatically on contact with oxygen, and a subtle jasmine scent.

    Targeting busy consumers concerned about the impact of excessive screen usage and taxing lifestyles, Spacemasks offer on-the-go relaxation, aiming to alleviate stress and induce a better night’s sleep by easing tension around the eyes.  

    For more on sleep-enhanced beauty, see Perricone MD Markets Beauty Sleep and The Business of Wellbeing: Beauty 360.
  • Meteor Shower Scrub from Australian skincare brand Blaq is formulated with fragments of real meteors blended with activated charcoal and essential oils. The meteorite powder acts as an exfoliator and reportedly leaves skin with an iridescent glow.

    The limited-edition body scrubs include a unique code that allows the user to track the origin of their meteor powder, tapping into growing consumer demand for transparency. For more on this, see Positive Provenance.
  • Galacticleanse, launching later this month from US brand GlamGlow, also contains meteorite powder. The jelly-to-milk cleansing balm is said to create skin that “glows like the light of a star”.

Such products – which are literally out of this world – offer a playful experience that’s likely to appeal to millennial and Gen Z consumers.

For more on novelty and sensorial beauty products, see The Sheet-Mask Revolution and Selling Sensorial Beauty. For further space-age products, see Elevating Beauty.

Published: 10 Aug 2017

Eradicating Food Waste: Composting Kitchen Bin


The Taihi kitchen bin, designed by British Loughborough University graduate Benjamin Cullis Watson, uses a Japanese fermentation method to efficiently turn food waste into compost without the unwanted hassle or smells.

The technique used is known as bokashi, a traditional method that pickles rubbish to help it decompose faster. An accelerator spray is needed to start the process, which is automatically sprayed onto the waste by the Taihi bin.

Unlike many other compost bins, the process doesn’t require specific temperature conditions or to be agitated or turned. It takes around two weeks to convert food waste into compost, so Taihi has two separate containers inside that can be used on rotation. The fermentation method also creates a liquid fertiliser that can be used for indoor plants, which is secreted into a separate watering can for easy removal and use.

The bin itself is sleek and simple, designed to be unimposing in a conventional kitchen. The clinical white form features grey rubber detailing and green highlights (a popular choice for kitchen items), while its non-stick coating aids fuss-free emptying and cleaning.

Taihi is just one example of a new wave of products attempting to tackle society’s food waste issue. See Kitchen of the Future: Self-Sustaining Spaces for further inspiration.

Published: 10 Aug 2017

How Americans Define Wealth

Some 58% of Americans agree that wealth is more about having gratitude than earning lots of money (42%)

Americans are split on their definitions of wealth, according to the June 2017 Modern Wealth Index from US organisations Koski Research and the Schwab Center for Financial Research. Highlights include:

  • Divided Definition: Twenty-seven per cent of Americans define wealth as having a lot of money, while 24% say it's enjoying life's experiences. In addition, 22% believe it's being able to afford anything they want, and 19% say it's living stress-free with peace of mind. "As Americans' definition of wealth evolves, the [finance] industry needs to modernise its approach to find new ways to deliver good value and a great experience to a broader population," said Terri Kallsen, head of Schwab Investor Services.
  • Wellbeing Trumps Money: Around two-thirds (65%) of Americans equate wealth with good physical health, rather than lots of money (35%). Some 58% agree that wealth is more about having gratitude than earning heaps of cash (42%), while 56% believe it's about building community, rather than working on one's career (44%).
  • Millennial Focus: Millennials (aged 23 to 36) display better financial habits than older generations. Some 34% have written a financial plan, compared to 21% of Gen X (aged 37 to 52) and 18% of boomers (aged 53 to 71). "Millennials will advance in their careers, start families and accumulate wealth – all factors that will lead to even more financial engagement," predicts Kallsen.

For more on shifting values and behaviours associated with wealth and luxury, see Basement Bourgeoisie.

Published: 9 Aug 2017

B2B Streetwear Events Become Lifestyle Festivals

Agenda Festival

LA-based streetwear trade show Agenda and New York fashion showroom Made have turned their respective B2B events into fully monetised lifestyle festivals. The moves affirm the trend for transforming industry-only events into consumer-facing happenings (see B2C Retail Trade Show Trend for more).

Combining live music with on-site shopping opportunities, both concepts trade on consumers’ booming desire for inclusivity and ‘professional-grade’ insights – an appetite detailed in Re-Engineering Exclusivity and Exploiting Insider Access.

  • Agenda debuted its “culturally immersive” (skate, surf, street culture, food, art) music and shopping experience at the Agenda Festival in July. The one-day event closed the company’s biannual B2B trade show, attracting 15,000+ people. Alongside 500+ pop-ups and brand activations from labels including denim giant Levi’s and Californian watch brand Nixon, it also hosted sports star meet-and-greets, skate contests, art installations, panel discussions and food trucks. Brand-sponsored stages hosted live music performances from the likes of US rapper Asap Rocky and LA punk band No Parents.
  • Made launched a series of two-day events to coincide with its LA summer trade shows in June to connect its roster of contemporary streetwear brands to consumers. Held at music venue L.A. Live Deck, it attracted 2,000+ people per day. American rap stars including Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg and the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA entertained the masses during fashion shows from brands including US fashion label Opening Ceremony.

Tickets for both festivals ranged from $20-60.

For more on democratising industry-insider-only happenings, read See Now, Buy Now: Spin-Off Concepts. Also watch out for our upcoming report Branded Festival Experiences, publishing in September. 

Published: 8 Aug 2017

EasyJet’s Flying Book Club for Kids


British budget airline EasyJet is launching a children's book club this summer to encourage kids to enjoy reading.

Available on 147 UK flights, the 'Flybraries' have been curated by renowned British children's author and Children's Laureate Jacqueline Wilson. Titles include classics such as Peter Pan, The Railway Children and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

In addition to borrowing a copy from the trolley during the flight, kids will also be able to download samples of their chosen book when they land, as well as a sample of Wilson's new novel Wave Me Goodbye.

The airline developed the reading scheme after finding eight in 10 parents agreed that their kids read less than they did when they were their children's age.

For more on airlines developing innovative avenues to engage with their passengers, see our report Agile Airlines Reshape Travel. For more creative airline and brand collaborations, read Hospitality's Heightened Fitness Focus, Delta x Alessi: Airline Tableware and Empathetic Brand Engagement.

See also In-Transit Innovation, part of our Future Service Industry Trend.

Published: 7 Aug 2017

Progressive Fashion


As diversity, sustainability and seasonality increasingly become a part of mainstream cultural conversation, the need for the fashion industry to cater to the nuances of these areas is greater than ever before. Several brands and designers are attempting to tackle some of these issues head on, paving the way for these growing movements.

  • British designer Mary Benson has just released a seasonless, genderless, slow-made streetwear collection under her newly launched e-commerce site Mary Benson World. The inclusive designer – known for her intricate vinyl prints – has also rejected the traditional fashion schedule after just two seasons, claiming that the current state of fashion is creatively and environmentally unsustainable, as well as being over-pressurised and unrealistic for emerging designers. 
  • US-based Kirrin Finch, launched by Laura and Kelly Moffat, is a sustainable “menswear” label aimed at masculine-identifying women. The brand, which started out as a Kickstarter campaign, caters to women and queer or transgender customers who follow a dapper aesthetic. Garments include gape-proof shirts, unisex T-shirts and height-appropriate tailoring.
  • Premme (a combination of ‘premium’ and ‘femme’) is a fashion-forward womenswear label aimed at US sizes 12-30. The brand – launched by influencers Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason – was created in response to dissatisfaction with the current plus-size market. Apparel consists of youth-focused statement pieces and is modelled by a racially diverse cast of women in sizes 12 and above.

For further reading on the fashion industry’s response to the plus-size agenda, diversity, sustainability and the challenging fashion environment, read our upcoming Industry Trend The New Fashion Landscape 2017 – publishing on August 16.  

Published: 7 Aug 2017

Retail x Hospitality: Muji to Open Hotels in Asia

Muji's store and hotel

Japanese lifestyle brand Muji has announced plans to open hotels in Japan and China in an initiative that builds on the notion of brands reaching beyond their traditional domains (see Elastic Brands: Stretch & Diversify).

The first will open in the financial district of the Chinese city of Shenzhen in late 2017, with 79 rooms, a restaurant, a fitness centre, and a Muji store on the ground floor. In spring 2019, the brand will open a hotel above its upcoming flagship in the shopping district of Ginza, Tokyo. Once completed, the store will be Muji’s biggest to date. The first six levels will be devoted to retail, with guest rooms on the top floors.

Continuing to trade on the backbone of its existing brand DNA, some of the furniture and products in the hotels will be available to buy online. This echoes US furniture brand West Elm, which is scheduled to launch 10 hotels across the US in 2018 featuring its own products as well as locally relevant pieces (see West Elm Goes Glocal with Hotel for more). Details on how Muji guests will be able to ‘shop the hotel’ are yet to be disclosed.

The move is likely to be a canny one, providing Muji with access to the booming hospitality market (global hotel transactions rose nearly 50% to $85bn in 2015 – JLL, 2016) and enticing customers who increasingly value the chance to try before they buy.

For more on the benefits of combining retail with hospitality, see Retail x Hospitality 2017: Mutual Brand Benefits

Published: 7 Aug 2017

UK Consumers Grow Impatient

In the UK, 52% of millennials are less patient today than they were five years ago

UK consumers are becoming more impatient, according to The Instant Gratification Nation – a report released by global media agency Fetch and global research firm YouGov last month.

Some 34% of over-55s are less patient today than they were five years ago, a figure that rises to 52% among millennials (aged 18 to 24). The research blamed the spike in impatience on consumers' reliance on technology to complete everyday activities.

"The UK's obsession with technology has created a young generation of impatient consumers who prefer to consume content fast on-the-go via their mobile devices," said Julian Smith, head of strategy and innovation at Fetch.

Interacting with an automated system or chatbot (rather than a person) when making a complaint is the experience UK consumers find most frustrating. Being interrupted by irrelevant mobile advertising is the next most frustrating experience, followed by delays in delivering online shopping.

The research also revealed that 81% of millennials are receptive to using and trying new technologies to improve the speed of daily tasks.

See Impatient Upskillers and Hacking Housework for emerging products and services that are catering to time-poor consumers.

Published: 4 Aug 2017

Luxury Fragrance Line Sells Japanese Olfactory Experience

Floraïku Boutique in Harrods' Salon de Parfum

Created by the founders of French fragrance brand Memo, luxury perfume line Floraïku offers an innovative olfactory concept directly inspired by Japanese ceremonies and poetry.

The collection comprises 11 fragrances which are split into four groups, or “ceremonies”. Enigmatic Flowers, Secret Teas & Spices and Forbidden Incense each contain three different perfumes. The last ceremony, Shadowing, consists of two fragrances designed to be layered with the others to either lessen or intensify the base fragrance.

This notion of scent shadowing adds a new dimension to the fragrance experience. Floraïku avoids signature scents (a long-term driving force behind perfume purchases), instead encouraging interaction and personalisation. Fragrance layering is a growing trend – for more, see The Rise of Fragrance Wardrobes.

The fragrances are presented in boxes that reference Japanese bento. Each contains a 50ml bottle with a covetable fabric-covered cap and a 10ml vial. The cap doubles as a handbag spray, and all perfumes are refillable. See Elevating Beauty: The New Rules of Luxury for more on art-inspired packaging.

Floraïku’s first boutique is exclusively housed in Harrods’ Salon de Parfum in London. The luxurious space continues the immersive experience by replicating a traditional Japanese ryokan. Meanwhile, Memo’s own scents are sold exclusively at British high-end department store Harvey Nichols, where they are counted as one of the competitor’s bestselling ranges.

For more on niche fragrance, see Experimental Scent Summit 2017.