Futures 100 Innovators : January

sector - food & drink
sector - beauty
category - design
category - society
sector - media & technology
type - futures 100 innovators awards
Futures 100 Innovators Awards
This month, we uncover the next 10 innovators to watch as part of our Futures 100 Awards, which highlight those brands, businesses and people innovating for change – and a better future.

In the second longlist of our 2023 Futures 100 Innovators, we reveal The Future Laboratory’s chosen innovators and change-makers that are set to disrupt the lifestyle categories in 2023 and beyond.

Each month, we profile 10 brands, businesses and people that our team of researchers and analysts have identified as driving forward innovation across multiple industries, ranging from beauty and wellness to luxury, design, retail and travel. In October 2023, our complete Futures 100 Innovators list will be presented to a panel of industry judges who will select and award their 10 leading innovators.

You can nominate your own innovators via: futures100innovators@thefuturelaboratory.com


Published by:

2 February 2023

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: The Future Laboratory


Left: Holly Gardner founder of byMATTER, UK. Right: Futurewise, US.

Beauty: Holly Gardner

Bringing beauty to bed

After spending over half a decade in the legal industry, Gardner’s career took a new direction. Originally from South Africa, she embarked on a course on Disruptive Innovation at Harvard Business School in the US and soon after launched her own brand, byMATTER, in London. With a passion for health and wellbeing, but also for sustainability and science, byMATTER unites these values to provide a new iteration of home care.

The brand’s first launch was a bio-active fabric freshener developed to instantly clean clothes without the need for a full wash cycle. The solution includes new probiotic technology and has saved thousands of litres of water for homes across the UK. More recently, she launched a bio-active pillowcase designed to optimise skin health during sleep. The pillowcase is made from a patented fabric technology, Seacell, containing seaweed and enriched with a collagen treatment. byMATTER isn’t expected to slow down as Gardner hints to LS:N Global that there will be more products to come in 2023.

Health & Wellness: Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick

Approachable wellness for the next generation

US-based Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick are masters of direct-to-consumer (DTC) wellness. Together, the pair have founded four brands in different categories in the sector: skincare, personal care and medical health. Their most recent venture is beauty brand Futurewise, a skincare eco-system built around slugging, a practice that involves creating an occlusive layer over the skin to improve hydration.

While the concepts of the brands differ greatly –from waterless body wash to emergency contraception – the infrastructure and execution are similar in many ways. They are designed for a new generation of wellness-seekers, which is evident through the energetic visual branding and youthful narrative.

Their success and dominance in the wellness field is largely down to the pair’s extensive experience. Schott is a beauty veteran and spent most of her professional career as a beauty editor, before being promoted to beauty director at Elle magazine in 2017. Bordainick, on the other hand, held leadership positions in various companies across different sectors such as hospitality, retail and – more recently –culture and politics.

‘Everyone has a favourite spoon or cup that they use all the time. There is a lot of potential for leveraging aesthetics in inclusive design and design for people with disabilities.’
Michael Hoppe, founder, Hop Design
Font adaptive cutlery set by Hop Design, Australia

Design: Michael Hoppe

Designing dining experiences for all

The focus for Sydney-based Michael Hoppe is user-focused design and product problem-solving. He is best known for the development of YBell, a fitness community and programme centred around a multi-functional fitness tool. While the fitness equipment market is highly saturated, Hoppe’s design prioritises ease and access, enabling it to stand out among existing apparatus.

Ease and access are common threads throughout Hoppe’s work. A recent project from the designer explores how to make dining experiences inclusive for people with disabilities. The result is Font, a 24-piece cutlery collection that can be tailored to people with various levels of hand strength, dexterity and control. ‘Everyone has a favourite spoon or cup that they use all the time. There is a lot of potential for leveraging aesthetics in inclusive design and design for people with disabilities,’ says Hoppe.

Food & Drink: Gabby Morris

Taking food back to its roots 

Operating in the creative sector, Scottish designer Gabby Morris highlights the connections between food and the environment, and demonstrates how the systems are intrinsically linked to health and cultural change. Her projects propose solutions for issues such as topsoil segregation and unstable food supply chains.

Most recently at Dutch Design Week 2022, Morris showcased Dish the Dirt as part of the BioArt Laboratories Foundation exhibition. Here, she presented a multi-sensory tasting experience, featuring soil and food side by side through a six-course tasting menu that evoked the smell, taste, sound and feel of soil. The intention was to provoke an uncomfortable eating experience, mimicking the broken relationship between soil and humans.

Morris prides herself on ‘making the important and complex, tangible and delightful’, a mindset LS:N Global considers important in decision-making and strategy-building for the future.


Left: Mews, Czech Republic. Right: Labell-d, UK.

Travel & Hospitality: Richard Valtr and Matthijs Welle

Digitising operations for modern hoteliers

Upon founding Mews in 2012, Richard Valtr and Matthijs Welle set out to disrupt an industry that has been arguably digitally stagnant for a long time – hospitality. Over 10 years later, the Prague-based company has received Series C funding of £150m ($185m, €171m) to accelerate its mission as the ‘hospitality system of the future’. It offers a range of services that improve operations for modern hoteliers and their guests, from booking engines and check-out services to front desk and revenue management. ‘Our mission is to transform the hospitality industry with cloud solutions that make hospitality more rewarding for everyone,’ says Matthijs Welle, CEO of Mews.

The pair behind the concept have extensive experience. Co-founder Valtr grew up as the son of a hotel developer and was responsible for managing some of his father’s property developments, including the Emblem Hotel in Prague, from an early age. Welle, however, was hands-on in the industry. After finishing Hotelschool, he joined Hilton’s Elevator programme, which is designed to build general managers from the ground up. He went on to manage various hotels, including Hilton Prague, and later moved into business development to become a sales director.

Luxury: Julia and Nicolas Vendramin

A one-stop destination for closed-loop fashion

British husband and wife duo, Julia and Nicolas Vendramin, are on a mission to help consumers and the fashion industry to build a more sustainable future. Boasting over 15 years of combined experience in the industry across marketing, e-commerce and operations, the pair are in a good position to develop their own fashion eco-system. ‘We recognised the need for sustainable fashion from a platform that offers a solution in a new and cool way, and the gap in the market for consumers seeking to buy more sustainably,’ Julia Vendramin states in a press release.

Cue LABELL-D, a one-stop destination offering a mix of new, second-hand and rental services. ‘At the moment, there isn’t a standard system for classification of products or of sustainability standards, leaving it to consumers to educate themselves and to mix and max solutions – buying second-hand, renting for single wear occasions like weddings,’ the pair state in the press release. LABELL-D provides the solution in one place, facilitating healthier consumption habits.

‘At the moment, there isn’t a standard system for classification of products or of sustainability standards, leaving it to consumers to educate themselves and to mix and max solutions – buying second-hand, renting for single wear occasions like weddings.’
Julia and Nicolas Vendramin, co-founders, Labell-d

Fashion: Mary Katlyn O’Malley

Empowering women’s freedom through fashion

Mary Katlyn O’Malley has turned unfortunate events in her life into opportunities. As a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor, O’Malley recognised that women accept the feeling of being unsafe as normal. To change the course of the conversation, she decided to start her own brand and community, DAMES, and encourage women to ‘be free, be cool and to not take any shit’.

In 2023, the New-York based label dropped a collection of streetwear clothes and accessories designed to bolster women’s safety thanks to built-in self-defence features, such as a safety alarm, and a lipstick with a hidden switch blade.

Beyond clothes and accessories, DAMES offers healing through community resources as well as free meditation guides. It also hosts a range of educational and community-building events aimed at inspiring safety, joy and empowerment.

Retail: Romney Evans

Utilising AI technology for user recommendations

Romney Evans’s professional journey is centred around using technology for better customer experiences. He was ahead of the retail game when he founded True Fit over 15 years ago. The platform was designed to be used by retailers to provide e-commerce customers with best-in-class fit recommendations. Today, he takes a similar approach with newly founded Shoptrue, a fashion marketplace that uses AI to offer a personalised shopping experience.

Shoptrue is a natural progression of True Fit; it’s appropriate for today’s digitally savvy consumers who are looking for convenience but not at the sacrifice of personal style, preferences or experience. It is driving the industry towards a hyper-personalised future, in which consumers can rely on retailers to provide them with products that they want and like, and retailers can be more specific with their production, and thus be more sustainable.

Left: Neo P1 Prototype by Neoplants, France. Right: 1413, China.

Media & Tech: Lionel Mora and Patrick Torbey

Home-based pollution solutions

In 2018, French green tech entrepreneurs Lionel Mora and Patrick Torbey took on a critical mission: to reduce indoor air pollutants. Inspired by a study completed by NASA in 1989 that demonstrated the ability of common indoor houseplants to remove harmful indoor air pollutants, the pair founded Neoplants to further develop this research. ‘We believe that nature is the most powerful piece of technology in the world and that a greener future is necessary’, say the duo.

In January 2023, Neoplants unveiled Neo P1, a single bio-engineered plant shown to clean ambient in-home air pollution. It is proven to be 30 times more effective at removing pollutants than the most efficient plants found in nature. The company hopes to utilise the same processes with other plant varieties and properties, and has plans to tackle carbon capturing and storage next year.


Youth: Zeng Lishan and Wu Yijing (Lisa and Echo)

Light-hearted editorial honouring Chinese legacy

Zeng Lishan and Wu Yijing, also known as Lisa and Echo, are shining a light on their Chinese heritage while debunking stereotypes in the process. Their editorial outlet, 1413, addresses a variety of topics, from the societal meaning of the selfie in China to local fandom culture. Its latest issue, however, is reinvigorating traditional Chinese medicine and wellness for a new generation.

The duo studied graphic design at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and both have full-time jobs while actualising the passion project. They take a low-fi approach and handle most of the design, photography, writing and translation themselves, with the occasional contribution from friends and local collaborators. The laid-back approach is intentionally illustrated throughout the magazine, to capture and hold the attention of its younger target audience.

‘We believe that nature is the most powerful piece of technology in the world and that a greener future is necessary.’
Lionel Mora and Patrick Torbey, co-founders, Neoplants

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