30 September 2022
Author: The Future Laboratory
Image: The Future Laboratory
Rebranding science and sustainability for beauty’s next generation
With professional backgrounds in chemistry and personal interests in beauty, both Lisa Guerrera and Emmy Ketcham understand that science doesn’t typically fit into the aesthetics of today’s beauty landscape. They hope to change this, however, with the launch of their nostalgia-inspired beauty brand, Experiment. The pair hope to present beauty in the way they see it as chemists – absurd and borderline magic. ‘Science doesn’t have to be black-and-white dropper bottles, lab coats and very serious,’ Guerrera tells Glossy. ‘Science can be colourful, weird and exciting. Our end goal is to rewrite what science looks and feels like in the beauty industry.’
The science-driven brand is the first to receive help from conscious venture capitalists, Press Reset Ventures – founded by February’s Futures 100 Innovators nominee Liah Yoo. This suggests that sustainability will also be a priority for the pair as they grow the brand.
Aiding meditation with brain-sensing wearables
As our lives become more hectic and disrupted, even the simplest of tasks, such as focusing and resting, are becoming increasingly difficult. Chris Aimone was one of the first to forecast this struggle almost two decades ago. He and three others – Ariel Garten, Trevor Coleman and Steve Mann – began experimenting with neurotechnology to tackle some of society’s biggest hurdles back in 2003. But it wasn’t until 2014 that they launched and went public with the first widely available consumer brain-sensing headband, Muse, which is designed to provide users with real-time feedback on their meditation state.
While people recognise the need for such devices, the interest and uptake has always been relatively low. Muse, however, has sold more portable EEG devices than any other system in history, and recently secured £8.3m ($9.5m, €9.5m) Series C funding round to launch an integrated wellness membership model, making it easier for people to access these types of products and experiences.
Building a digital garden that nourishes Black creativity
Artist and designer Annika Hansteen-Izora is building a directory of Black-led art projects, which are available to view and access via a digital garden called Creative Ecosystems. Challenging white notions of gardening, the platform encourages Black contributors to add ‘seeds’, which can include media, videos and text, to the garden and ‘nourish’ others' plants through positive commentary and discussion.
As head of design at Somewhere Good – a leading social curation platform that The Future Laboratory spotlighted in 2021 – Annika is experienced in developing online communities and spaces. With this project, she highlights the importance and need for a space where people can gather and discuss Black creative thought, but she also hopes the online resource will increase reach and access to Black-led projects. ‘Largely, the creative industry is built around supporting individual creative pursuits. While I believe individual creative pursuits are important, we’re more interested in learning what it can look like to support collective creativity, and what it means to grow, learn, care and create together,’ Annika tells It’s NiceThat.
Increasing the visibility of Black farmers in America
With an MA in Afro-American studies and an MFA in writing, Natalie Baszile has spent her professional career highlighting the prejudices and practices that Black farmers have endured. These stories are present in Natalie’s fictional novel, Queen Sugar, which follows a mother on her sugar cane farming journey, and her most recent book, We Are Each Other’s Harvest, which collates a series of essays, poems, photographs, quotes, conversations, and first-person stories, all examining Black people’s connection to the American land.
Her written work is hugely influential, as shown by the several book awards and dedicated tv series she now boasts. But while words can be powerful, Natalie wants to ensure real-life change for those treated unfairly in the agricultural industry, and thus partnered with the San Francisco Foundation to establish Black Harvest Fund, a donor-advised fund to aid hard-working Black farmers and farmers of colour.
As a result of targeted discrimination, only 5%, or 45,500 Black farmers, remain in the US, down from 925,798 a century ago (source: Black Harvest Fund). Natalie hopes her work is just the start of building a future-fit system that supports individual values and people.
Prioritising personal value and growth in luxury experiences
Speaking recently on our Luxury & Hospitality Futures event panel, Nicholas demonstrated his extensive knowledge of the sectors as he discussed how brands and companies should be prioritising purposeful and enriching experiences and services in 2022 and beyond. These are things Nicholas wanted to ensure were at the forefront of The Luminaire when he co-founded the company earlier in the year.
As an experienced marketer – previously holding board-level and leadership roles at Aman Resorts, André Balazs Properties and One&Only Resorts, Nicholas knows that luxury is a highly emotional journey and that value must be felt from the consumer for brands to secure long-term success. The Luminaire offers personalised and educational travel experiences that are hosted by experts such as artists, explorers, naturalists, historians, archaeologists and many others. Its first partnership, led by Magnum Photos, allows enthusiasts and amateurs to learn from celebrated photographers such as Cristina Garcia Rodero, Jonas Bendiksen and Alex Webb, on trips to Mexico, Norway and Cape Cod.
Developing eco-designs for the yachting industry
Sophi Horne is one of the few high-status women in the yachting industry, particularly of her age. Born in Norway and raised in Sweden, Sophi started her marine career as creative director at SSH Maritime, before recently founding SeaBird Technologies, one of the world’s first yachting and boating companies to prioritise sustainable design and technologies.
As head of the design department, Sophi was at the forefront of the development of the RaceBird, the racing boat for the electric powerboat championship, the E1 Series, otherwise known as the first regatta in the world dedicated to electric boats. In building the model, she took inspiration from her Nordic heritage, referencing Oslo as the main capital for electric cars. ‘In the beginning, electric cars were quite bubbly and cute, and then I saw Formula E. Its Gen 2 models caught my eye – they made electric cars sleek and sexy. It inspired me to do this in the naval world,’ she tells Forbes.
The RaceBird, designed by Horne, and the E1 championship were created side by side. The powerful dual launch hopes to truly shake the yacht industry out of its unsustainable habits, particularly as yacht purchases boom.
Spotlighting Afropolitans through visual storytelling
Alassane Sy has been embedded in the media world for over a decade. He started his career as an actor and later became a producer for independent films and the production agency PROXSY PROD. Most recently, he co-founded media brand Nataal and became the editor of its digital and print divisions.
While his career has spanned the industry, his purpose and mission have always remained the same – to give African talent the recognition it deserves. He also hopes that Nataal will help educate the world about African culture. To realise this mission, Alassane has hired a selection of local and global editors and creatives, including Delali Ayivi, whose work often appears in Vogue. ‘We want to collaborate with the fresh generation of thinkers and doers who embrace a multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural approach to shining a glorious light on the continent and its diaspora in the very broadest sense’, Sy tells Dazed.
Decentralising bricks-and-mortar ownership
After hosting his own experimental retail space in late 2021, Itsuki Daito noticed something different about the behaviour of consumers post-pandemic – people were coming to stores for community, not always for purchases. ‘They were looking for something they can spend on as a souvenir for the community experience,’ he tells Bloomberg. This change in retail behaviour inspired Itsuki to rethink the current framework of physical retail to allow communities to co-own stores. Cue DeStore.
DeStore enables decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) to run stores. When you buy an ownership non-fungible token (NFT) you become a co-owner and can help run the store via DeStore's mobile dApp. The first space to launch with the help of DeStore is STORE_0, located in San Francisco. Daito, however, has big plans and hopes to launch 5,000 unique stores all over the world.
As we navigate another crisis, concepts like Daito’s DeStore could be essential to the survival of retail. ‘Most retail businesses do not break even for year one since it takes such a long time to build up the community,’ DeStore’s website explains. In today’s landscape, however, the community comprises the owners and the consumers.
Developing an independent alternative to Apple’s eco-system
Adam Bates is the design director of Nothing, an independent consumer technology company taking on tech giant Apple. After spending 14 years at Dyson, developing hairstyling products such as the Supersonic hair dryer and the Airwrap, he shifted from the large tech corporation to a more intimate company with an equally large goal.
In January 2022, he joined Nothing’s CEO and co-founder Carl Pei on his mission to build the most compelling alternative to Apple. Adam was tasked with building the London office’s first design team, which could further develop the company’s new smartphone. The project was considered a huge success, described as ‘a radical reinterpretation of mobile tech’ by Wallpaper and ‘the biggest launch of the year in the smartphone space’ by T3.
Transforming digestible wellness into a culture brand
Amateur cook-turned-wellness guru Jonah Reider hopes to shake up people’s caffeine routine with an all-new breath spray containing micro-doses of the stimulant, as well as electrolytes, vitamins and minerals.
The food and beverage industry is nothing new to Jonah. Dubbed the ‘dorm chef’, Jonah ran dinner clubs out of his Columbia University residence Hogan Hall before entering the industry professionally as a consultant for F&B brands. Through his work in the sector, he noticed the digestible wellness market was overdue a refresh – one which appealed to a younger and more casual audience. ‘I don't buy these products, but more importantly, almost no one that I know does either,’ Jonah tells Highsnobiety. This inspired him to launch Pzaz.
The breath spray is designed to replace the outdated ritual of consuming energy drinks and shots. The new product employs ‘instant energy technology’, which is more absorbable than traditional energy liquids or pills.
In the first seven instalments of our Futures 100 Innovators longlist, we get to know global disruptors and change-makers creating the future across 10 sectors.
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