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L’Oréal provides personalization with launch of on-demand skincare at SXSW

L'Oréal's CUSTOM D.O.S.E
L’Oréal’s CUSTOM D.O.S.E

L’Oréal is honing in on the trend for personalization in beauty with the launch of CUSTOM D.O.S.E at SXSW today, a technological service that can scan and evaluate an individual consumer’s skin and create tailor made serums as a result.

Developed for L’Oréal-owned skincare brand SkinCeuticals, D.O.S.E will act as a personal skincare lab, says Guive Balooch, global VP of the French conglomerate’s Technology Incubator, who worked on the project. “D.O.S.E acts like a mini skincare laboratory, combining lab grade formulation and factory grade manufacturing into a machine that sits on the counter. As we pursue our mission of beauty for all, we are inspired by the challenge of using technology and design to create innovative beauty experiences custom made for each consumer,” he says.

D.O.S.E’s pioneering technology is able to mix active ingredients – chosen to target the appearance of ageing skin, including specific issues such as wrinkles and discoloration – into a single serum. During the production process, a compounder can mix ingredients precisely drop by drop, combining active ingredients that historically were not able to be mixed outside a factory setting. This means skincare professionals can administer individual serums, for which through research L’Oréal has developed dozens of combinations for. To develop the service, the beauty giant researched more than 250 unique skin types.

“Our customers are consistently concerned with skin aging and discoloration, among various skin conditions that require a personalized approach to address them,” said Christina Fair, general manager of SkinCeuticals. “The D.O.S.E technology empowers skincare professionals to co-create personalized formulas that address patients’ unique skincare needs on the spot, in minutes. We’ve created a better ecosystem for them to offer enhanced experiences for their patients using technology to address specific skin concerns.”

The D.O.S.E experience begins with a one-to-one consultation with a professional who can advise the customer on the most relevant active ingredients to suit their skin. Following the assessment, all data is transferred to a D.O.S.E machine that mixes and dispenses the serum ready for use. Bottles are addressed with custom labels that include an expiration date and barcode for reordering.

The March 8 launch, hosted at media platform Fast Company’s Grill house during SXSW, is also showcasing L’Oréal Professionnel’s Style My Hair app, which suggests real-time 3D hair color services, as launched in January this year. Additionally on display is the Lancôme Le Teint Particulier custom blend foundation experience, which similarly to D.O.S.E begins with an expert consultation and ends with a made to measure formula that is blended at point of sale.

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business Editor's pick Startups technology

London’s CFE introduces fashion tech start-ups for second incubator programme

Centre for Fashion Enterprise
The Centre for Fashion Enterprise has been supporting fashion businesses since 2003

The Centre for Fashion Enterprise has announced the latest businesses to be joining its FashTech Pioneer Programme.

The London College of Fashion-based incubator aims to support entrepreneurs who want to redefine the future of the industry, and it believes technology is at the forefront of that world.

Among its latest cohort is a diverse spectrum of SMEs accordingly, including a co-creation and crowdfunding platform called Awaytomars, a fintech for fashion app called Cashmere, and a customisable fine jewellery brand called Gilded Lab. Also included is Meame, a performance fashion brand; Tinker Design, which provide massaging insole artisan shoes; and the customisable footwear of Solely Original.

“Through this programme, we aim to bridge the gap between fashion, technology and digital industries and support product and process innovation,” says Ishwari Thopte, fashion tech project officer at the CFE. “With the decline of traditional fashion business models and changing consumption patterns, there’s an urgent need for emerging designers and brands to find innovative and disruptive routes to market. We firmly believe that the future of the fashion industry lies in the intelligent use and adaptation of technology.”

Part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the six-month programme is designed to offer fashion tech brands a wide range of business support. Each of the start-ups chosen were done so on the basis of having a unique and scalable business idea, having the potential to disrupt existing industry models, and being at a stage where the scheme can add adequate value, Thopte explained.

Said the team from Awaytomars: “As a fresh start-up we’re looking forward to benefiting from the CFE mentors’ years of experience in a variety of sectors. We want to build collaborative relationships with them and the other programme participants. We’re hoping to use the opportunities provided by taking part to challenge ourselves and develop a strong, positive and sustainable brand offer for our community members and for the fashion industry.”

Megan Aylot, co-founder of Meame, added: “It will be great to have mentors with knowledge in the tech side of fashion and be able to help strategise a way to increase sales. I’m looking forward to the diagnostic meeting and creating a personalised programme for our business. Contacts and referrals to retail buyers that are relevant will be a great bridge for Meame and I’m hoping will lead to firm sales. Finally access to finance and direct links to investors will be a big part of moving our business forwards.”

The CFE ran its first FashTech Pioneer Programme in 2015, taking on nine businesses across a variety of subsectors including e-commerce, smart textiles and big data. The idea came off the back of networking events, Thopte explains: “We started organising fashion tech meet-ups in 2014 in an attempt to get fashion, tech and digital creatives together and start facilitating conversations that would lead to cross pollination of ideas across different sectors. We soon realised that fashion tech businesses were unique when compared to the two different sectors they fused together and needed tailored support in order to succeed.”

The CFE is otherwise in its 13th year of operating and has helped designers including Erdem, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou fast-track into businesses.

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data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: L’Oréal’s incubator, Bolt Threads teams with Patagonia, confessions of a social media exec

loreal-digital-600

There are lots of updates this past week on interesting textile developments – from the spider silk of Bolt Threads to Spiber, both of which have announced new deals with Patagonia and The North Face respectively. Also worth a read is the anonymous social media exec spilling secrets to Digiday, not to mention the idea that we will all indeed be buying our designer clothing in the future on Amazon. If that’s not enough, further fashion and tech news from the past fortnight spans Birchbox’s use of Facebook Live to a breakdown of how brands are using Snapchat. Read on for all…


  • L’Oréal invests in Founders Factory digital start-up incubator [BrandChannel]

  • Bolt Threads raises $50 million to brew spider silk, inks deal with Patagonia [TechCrunch]

  • Confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing: ‘We threw too much money at them’ [Digiday]

  • People will eventually buy their designer clothing on Amazon, because they buy everything there [Quartz]

  • Everlane’s Shoe Park interactive pop-up offers self-guided shopping [Footwear News]

  • How Birchbox uses Facebook Live videos to engage consumers [Retail Dive]

  • How Frank + Oak built a modern loyalty program for men [Glossy]

  • Google DeepMind killed off a little-known fashion website [Business Insider]

  • SpaceX has hired a legendary costume designer to create their own spacesuits [Gizmodo]

  • The North Face to sell parka made out of synthetic spider silk by Japanese start-up Spiber [Bloomberg]

  • Thesis Couture is bringing the engineering savvy of rocket science to the design of the high-heeled shoe [The Atlantic]

  • The rise of robot tailors [Glossy]

  • L’Oréal created this training program to keep its marketers on the cutting edge [AdWeek]

  • How fashion and retail brands are using Snapchat [Fashionista]

  • Will the ‘sharing economy’ work for fashion? [BoF]

  • Bots, Messenger and the future of customer service [TechCrunch]

  • Condé Nast is launching a beauty network [Racked]

  • How a data scientist (who studied astrophysics) ended up in fashion [Fashionista]

  • Infographic: here’s how Gen Z girls prefer to shop and socialise online [AdWeek]

  • What is going on with fashion and zines? [Racked]

  • How online shopping is cannabilising mall stores [Associated Press]

  • REI’s ‘#OptOutside’ Black Friday campaign wins award [AdAge]
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Editor's pick product Startups technology

Seeking start-ups: Topshop launches innovation programme geared to wearable tech

Karlie Kloss for Topshop, spring/summer 2016
Karlie Kloss for Topshop, spring/summer 2016

British retailer Topshop is aiming to bring technology-enabled fashion product to its consumers with the launch of a start-up programme focused on wearables.

Top Pitch, as it’s called, aims to discover and co-develop prototypes that move wearable technology further into the fashion arena while retaining functionality that delivers for the user. The initiative is run in collaboration with corporate innovation and early stage investment company, L Marks.

It comes at a time when wearable technology is an increasing consideration in the retail market; the outcome of ever-connected consumers, coupled with advances in technology (proliferation of sensors, evolution of batteries, cloud computing and such like) making product delivery increasingly possible.

While the fashion industry has been playing in the space for some time, there’s not yet been anything that has truly resonated to a mass audience. Early examples varied from garments that light up for stage performances, or quirky t-shirts and footwear that can send and receive Tweets on the user’s behalf, for instance.

More recently, a shift was seen towards collaborations with technology companies to produce accessories for existing devices (Tory Burch and Public School for FitBit and Hermès for Apple, for instance), or with Intel to create new products like Opening Ceremony’s MICA bracelet.

The aim with each was to demonstrate the role design must play in making wearables that consumers actually want to “wear”. From a functionality perspective, however, the majority of releases to date have still been geared around the fitness or communications space.

Seemingly, there’s a space in the market for something that not only appeals to consumers from an aesthetic perspective, but offers broad desired utility. Wearables will only get to the point of mass adoption if indeed they provide something to the user that is in-keeping with what they like to wear and don’t just do something they get bored of and discard.

Which is what Topshop is hoping to find. “The merge of style and function has yet to have been seen in a true consumer-ready sense and our aim is to discover new-to-market, highly desirable product at accessible prices for our fashion-savvy customer,” says Sheena Sauvaire, global marketing and communications director at Topshop.

Top Pitch then is an invitation for start-ups in the smart accessories or emerging apparel space to participate in a month-long bootcamp, which culminates in a presentation to Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green. Each will have access to a group of mentors* from across the fashion and technology world, including Maddy Evans, fashion director at Topshop, Bethany Koby, co-founder and CEO, Technology Will Save Us; and (full disclosure) myself – Rachel Arthur, journalist and founder of Fashion & Mash.

It’s a move that makes sense for such a brand: one with a tech-savvy youth consumer keen to explore in this space, an attitude to democratising fashion – thus drive to find the right products at the right price – and an ongoing commitment to supporting and championing emerging talent across the creative industries.

Adds Stuart Marks, chairman of L Marks: “Top Pitch is such a great opportunity for entrepreneurs working on a wearable technology product. When presenting to buyers, it is always better to know them really well. What better way is there to learn about Topshop than work in collaboration with them for four weeks, developing your brand and strategy as well as the direction your product will take.”

At the end of the programme, the most promising team (judged on designing a product with utility, relevance and style for the Topshop customer) will be awarded the chance to secure equity investment and potential to see their product in Topshop stores in the future.

For further information or to apply for a place, visit www.toppitch.co. Closing date for applications is May 22, 2016.

This story first appeared on Forbes.

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Editor's pick Startups technology

John Lewis returns with JLAB start-up contest

jlab

It was a start-up based on beacons that won John Lewis’ inaugural JLAB tech accelerator programme last year, now the department store is turning to the likes of the connected home, effortless payments and meshing the digital and physical for a second spin of the contest.

The initiative is breaking down entrants into specific categories for its 2015 return in an overall bid to “develop products and services that will shape the retail experience of the future”.

Applications are now open until May 1 for the chance to win a place as one of 10 start-ups within JLAB for 12-weeks this summer, and I am honoured to be one of a number of mentors helping the participants in developing their ideas. My contemporaries will be announced in due course.

An overall winner will then be decided at a pitch day in September, receiving up to £100,000 in further investment as well as a contract to trial their solution in stores.

Said Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis: “As an established business we have certain ways of doing things and JLAB is an opportunity to inject the start-up spirit into our innovation efforts. Our inspiration is our founder Spedan Lewis – what new things would he be doing today? After the success of last year, I’m looking forward to working with a fresh group of start-ups with exciting ideas that could help shape the customer and Partner experience at John Lewis for years to come.”

The 2014 winner, Localz, is currently trialling its micro-location technology at Peter Jones. One of its key solutions surrounds triggering a customer’s Click & Collect order to be packed up for them as they enter the store in order to speed up collection times.

See more via www.jlab.co.uk, and watch this space for further news.

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Editor's pick mobile Startups technology

John Lewis announces beacon technology start-up Localz as £100k JLAB incubator winner

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

Jlab_Localz

Beacon technology got another nod of approval from the retail sector today as start-up Localz was announced as the winner of John Lewis’ JLAB tech incubator.

The ‘micro-location’ technology business wins £100,000 in investment as well as the chance to trial its solution with the department store in the UK. Its premise is to provide customers with access to enhanced services on their smartphones based on their physical location.

It could detect when they walk into a store, for instance, and automatically trigger that their Click & Collect order be prepared in order to help speed up that process. Similarly it could help with navigation around the stores based on online wish lists.

“It’s all about choice, designed to make shopping easier for those who wish to use it,” reads the write-up.

The concept was shaped and honed within the JLAB incubator over a period of 12 weeks this summer. It followed hundreds of start-ups applying to participate in the contest, which called for innovations that could shape the future of the retail experience.

Localz was among five finalists that received mentorship from experts including Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners; Sara Murray OBE, founder of confused.com; and Bindi Karia, vice president of entrepreneur banking at Silicon Valley Bank. The other start-ups were Musaic, SpaceDesigned, Tap2Connect and Viewsy.

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: “Innovation is at the heart of John Lewis and JLAB, our first tech incubator, has given us a new way to explore the technologies that will change how we all shop in the future. It’s been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, drawing on a diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and we have a very worthy winner who we’re looking forward to working with in the months ahead.”

Stuart Marks, a partner in JLAB, said Localz won because the team felt it had the potential to become a long term partner to John Lewis and to provide continuous innovation for their customers. It will continue to develop its technology in conjunction with John Lewis and will launch live trials in store at a date yet to be announced.

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digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Wren, Gucci, John Lewis, Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Cole, Sephora

A bit of a catch-up post today in light of several weeks of travel… here then all the latest stories to know about surrounding fashion and tech from the past fortnight or so:

 

  • “First Kiss” film (as above) goes viral with 63 million views – is ad for clothing label Wren [NY Times]
  • Gucci launches own Spotify music hub to promote short film ‘The Fringe’ [The Drum]
  • John Lewis looks to digital innovation as next big thing in retail with ‘JLab incubator’ [The Guardian]
  • Lord & Taylor now accepting bitcoin [CNBC]
  • Kenneth Cole challenges consumers to do good deeds and prove it via Google Glass [Creativity]
  • Sephora launches ‘Beauty Board’ social shopping platform [USA Today]
  • Bergdorf Goodman makes Instagram shots shoppable at SXSW with 52Grams [5th/58th]
  • Dolce & Gabbana crafts love story around perfume to appeal to consumer emotion [Luxury Daily
  • adidas launches gaming platform powered by social media starring Lionel Messi [Marketing Magazine]
  • Can Instagram save ageing teen retailer Aeropostale? [CNBC]
  • Which big brands are courting the maker movement, and why – from Levi’s to Home Depot  [AdWeek]
  • How beacon technology could change the way we shop [Fashionista]
  • On Instagram, a bazaar where you least expect it [Bits blog]
  • What Google’s wearable tech platform could mean for the fashion industry [Fashionista]
  • Smartphone payment system to be unveiled in UK [FT]
  • Alibaba ramping up efforts to sell US brands in China [WSJ]
  • What does WeChat’s new e-credit card mean for luxury? [JingDaily]
  • Op-Ed | Are camera phones killing fashion? [BoF]