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Editor's pick Podcast product technology

FOREO on driving meaningful innovation in the beauty device market

Paul Peros and Rachel Arthur
Paul Peros and Rachel Arthur

Applying innovation to every aspect of a product or service is at the core of beauty device company FOREO’s strategy, from product design to discoverability and communications, says CEO Paul Peros on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

The Swedish brand entered the market in 2013, when the concept of beauty tech was just beginning to bubble up, and move from the professional salon space to selling at retail. What became clear however was that the company had to strive not only to introduce a new technology into the consumer’s home, but educate them on how that type of product would fit into the context of their lives.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Peros explains that for the the at-home beauty device industry to become truly mainstream, brands need to not only offer efficacy at a professional level, but convenience that matches consumer expectations. He refers to this as “meaningful innovation”.

“You cannot ask a consumer to adopt a completely new practice or new product that stands in [their] way,” he explains. “You cannot have products where the consumer services the product rather than the other way around.”

The brand has engaged directly with consumers from the get-go, which initially started as a necessity as the company lacked the resources to play in the traditional media game. However, it quickly became a vital part of its business model, helping it reach the estimated $1 billion in worldwide sales that it’s expecting to hit in 2018.

“At the end of the day this has become an advantage that helped us not only reach the consumers but to engage with them and learn how to evolve our product range and our communications,” says Peros. At CES in January 2018, for instance, FOREO turned to Kickstarter to launch the UFO, a spaceship-like device that enables consumers to do a facemask in under 90 seconds (as opposed to the typical 15-20 minutes).

Foreo UFO
Foreo UFO

Unlike traditional campaigns on the crowdfunding platform that seek funding as their primary goal, the company saw this as a chance to spend months engaging with the consumer and gathering important feedback before bringing the product to launch.

Doing so has enabled it to drive engagement with a fiercely loyal beauty consumer, leading FOREO to experience exponential growth around the global. The five-year-old company now employs over 3.000 people in 20 offices worldwide.

Also in this episode, Peros talks further about the secret to developing products for a consumer that lives a much faster life, and just how the beauty industry is finally getting the innovation it deserves.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick product technology

Ministry of Supply introduces AI-enabled heated jacket

Ministry of Supply's intelligent heated jacket
Ministry of Supply’s intelligent heated jacket

US performance label Ministry of Supply has launched an intelligent heated jacket that uses machine learning to adjust the garment’s temperature.

The Mercury jacket creates a microclimate optimized to the wearer’s body by using a custom microcontroller heating system to heat up carbon-fiber heating pads sewn in the garment’s lining. The system takes in to consideration the weather and body temperature, motion data, and user preference to modulate power. For example, when walking to a train stop the jacket senses temperatures and an elevating heart rate, as well as user behaviour learnt through time, to regulate the system.

The machine learning element ensures that the more feedback the user gives its accompanying app, the better the system gets at learning their preferences. Meanwhile an added voice element allows wearers to naturally activate the jacket through a smart assistant like Amazon Alexa.

Ministry of Supply's Mercury Jacket
Ministry of Supply’s Mercury Jacket

“Our mission is to invent clothing that blends form and functionality — and temperature regulation is one of the most important factors in comfort,” says the brand’s team. “We’re excited to present our vision of what wearable technology can become, not just a way to monitor our vitals – but also act on it allowing us to become more comfortable and capable because of it. The Intelligent Heated Jacket is just that literally putting a learning thermostat in your jacket.”

Since Ministry of Supply’s inception, it has approached clothing through a human-centric, design-led methodology that takes into consideration both aesthetic and function. The jacket has been developed to replace any other outerwear alternative.

The jacket’s production is being crowdfunded via a campaign on Kickstarter. Since its launch yesterday (February 21) the jacket has trebled its original donations goal, to reach over $150K in pledges.

This is Ministry of Supply’s third successful Kickstarter campaign. In 2012, it launched the Apollo shirt, which controls body temperature after raising over $400K. Following that, the Atlas socks, which are made out of coffee beans that filter out sweat, raised over $200K or its $30K goal.

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business digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media Startups technology

What you missed: Blockchain in fashion, the dark side of digital luxury, Alibaba on tech’s future

Blockchain fashion
Blockchain in use at Shanghai Fashion Week

The role Blockchain will play in the fashion industry is our top story this week after it was documented from a storytelling and verification perspective at Shanghai Fashion Week by Babyghost and VeChain. The opportunity for the fashion industry at large to look to embrace it for anti-counterfeiting and provenance is brought to mind.

Meanwhile, the ongoing struggle of luxury brands has been strongly documented this past week, from the positive effect Brexit has had on the likes of Burberry to a new report from Bain/Altagamma on what’s ahead. That sits alongside insight from Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at BNP Exane Paribas, on the strategic threats of digital to luxury brands.

Also worth reading this week are predictions for the future of technology from Alibaba’s Jack Ma and an interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts on turning stores into town squares. Don’t forget to also sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass before the early bird rate ends on Oct 31.


TOP STORIES
  • Blockchain technology hit Shanghai Fashion Week [Bitcoin Magazine]
  • The dark side of digital [BoF]
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma just predicted the next 30 years of technological change [Fortune]
  • Speed, transparency and efficiency lead Blockchain’s potential for disruption [Stores]

BUSINESS
  • If not for Brexit, Burberry would be in even bigger trouble [Quartz]
  • Luxury isn’t having a very good year [NY Times]
  • 8 experts predict the 2016 holiday shopping season [Retail Dive]
  • Is the new Style.com working? [BoF]
  • MPs unanimously back motion to strip Sir Philip Green of his knighthood [The Industry]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Why chat may be king of the new mobile landscape [Fast Company]
  • Fashion brand All Saints uses Instagram as a sales channel [Digiday]
  • Fendi extends life of Snapchat stories with international album [Luxury Daily]
  • Here’s how brands like Nordstrom are cashing in on Snapchat’s long-awaited API [AdWeek]
  • How Nike is beating brands like Apple and Adidas at Twitter customer care [AdWeek]

RETAIL
  • Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts on turning stores into town squares [Fortune]
  • Everlane mulling brick and mortar efforts [Retail Dive]

TECHNOLOGY
  • YOOX Net-A-Porter unveils plans for new London technology hub [Vogue]
  • Why ‘Silicon Valley Fashion Week’ is not a joke [WWD]
  • Charlotte Tilbury’s new virtual ‘magic mirror’ serves as active make-up selling tool [Forbes]
  • Shiseido partnered with Microsoft to create a make-up filter for women who telecommute [Quartz]
  • Mirror scans your face and prints the perfect make-up [PSFK]
  • Brands are testing programmatic catalogues [Glossy]

START-UPS
  • Your brilliant Kickstarter idea could be on sale in China before you’ve even finished funding it [Quartz]

UPCOMING EVENTS
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product Startups technology

Crowdfunding find: This wearable helps kids learn tech skills through active play

moverkit1

The latest launch from start-up Technology Will Save Us is a wearable device for kids called The Mover Kit. One part accessory, and the other an educational tech toy, it comes as a series of components, including a set of eight RGB LEDs, printed circuit board, motion sensor (or accelerometer), compass and rechargeable battery, that need to be put together. Doing so is said to be as easy as building a LEGO house or paper airplane. Once done, a band is added that snaps around the wrist.

The idea of the device is it then reacts as the wearer moves; illuminating different lights based on different actions. Twist it one way and it turns red, the other way and it’s changes to white, for instance. Move a lot, and all eight “rainbow” LEDs will trigger. The intention is to encourage active play.

But the kit isn’t just about such building – the real creativity lies in the fact kids can code what the rules are themselves. Head over to Forbes to read all about how.

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digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Farfetch acquires Browns, Net-a-Porter launches social network, Warby Parker raises $100m

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

thenetset

  • Browns acquired by Farfetch as part of omnichannel growth strategy [BoF]
  • Fashion retailer Net-a-Porter’s new social network wants to combine your photo-sharing and shopping in one app (as pictured) [Quartz]
  • Warby Parker raises $100m to expand store network, technology [Fashionista]
  • The Rodarte designers are making a movie [The Cut]
  • Toms wants you to Instagram your bare feet for charity [Fashionista]
  • The future of retail looks like Macy’s, not Amazon [L2]
  • Infographic: wearable tech at the intersection of function and fashion [AdWeek]
  • How 3-D printing is saving the Italian artisan [Bloomberg]
  • Could 3-D body scanners help you find the perfect pair of jeans? [AdWeek]
  • Launching a fashion Kickstarter? Consider this [Medium]
  • V-Files relaunches as trendy start-up determined to become the shoppable Instagram [Business Insider]
  • With big names and money flowing in, tech start-ups in India heat up [NY Times]
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digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Nike, Burberry, Selfridges, DKNY, John Lewis, Burt’s Bees

It was perhaps Nike that was the buzziest of brands over the past couple of weeks, if you take into consideration both the successful launch of its unofficial World Cup campaign, Winner Stays (as above), and the rumoured shift in strategy for its FuelBand wearable device. That latter news reported the brand is laying off 70-80% of the fitness tracker’s hardware team in a bid to focus on software and the NikeFuel metric instead. A further interview with Nike President Mark Parker added fuel to the fire on a big partnership with Apple.

Burberry meanwhile was another brand with various stories to follow. It opened its new Shanghai store to much theatrical, multimedia fanfare; pushed yet another social tie-in via WeChat; launched an online store on Alibaba’s Tmall; and was announced as one of the first brands to advertise using Instagram video. And if that wasn’t enough, Angela Ahrendts just made that move officially over to Apple. “Did you notice?” asked the FT.

Safe to say, some other companies were up to things too. Here are the best of the fashion and tech stories not to be missed…

  • Selfridges launches biggest ever beauty campaign with Google+ partnership [Campaign]
  • DKNY shoppers go product hunting with Awear Solutions chips [FierceRetailIT]
  • John Lewis looks back on British history in TV spot to mark 150 years [Campaign]
  • Burt’s Bees creates promotional messages via appointments in digital calendars [NY Times]
  • What can fashion-tech companies learn from Instagram’s success? Co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom shares his start-up secrets [BoF]
  • Instagram is brands’ best bet for consumer engagement… but not for long [Fashionista]
  • ‘Brand tagging’ mobile apps: China’s next selfie sensation [Jing Daily]
  • Fashion retailers eye up image-recognition apps for smartphones [The Guardian]
  • Microsoft to push into fashion space “like never before” as it boosts commitment to UK start-up community and unveils ASOS as partner [The Drum]
  • Why online retailers like Bonobos, Boden, Athleta mail so many catalogs [WSJ]
  • Crowdemand is like Kickstarter for fashion designers [Mashable]
  • Like a dating site for fashion, PopInShop plays matchmaker for brands and boutiques [Fashionista]
  • The golden era of ‘fashion blogging’ is over [The Cut]