News 12.08.2022

Need to Know

Refillable edge combs arrive on the market, a hospitality space doesn’t rely on alcohol for social connections, and more UK mothers are working than ever.

Ruka is an edge comb elevating Black hairstyling

Ruka EdgeSlick designed by Blond, UK
Ruka EdgeSlick designed by Blond, UK
Ruka EdgeSlick designed by Blond, UK

UK – While many consumers still use a toothbrush to comb their edges and baby hairs, Black-owned hair care brand Ruka is on a mission to provide people with more elegant and functional styling tools. The company has released the EdgeSlick, a refillable comb that comes in elegant packaging.

Instead of an old toothbrush, the EdgeSlick is meant to be proudly displayed, and comes with a small base that allows it to rest upright. Designed in collaboration with creative design studio Blond, the packaging and unboxing experience is central to the new product. ‘Two key considerations drove the design of the packaging: an elevated unboxing experience and sustainability. The box opens along one side, much like a book, and proudly presents the EdgeSlick to the user, further reinforcing the design narrative,’ says James Melia, founder and creative director of Blond.

Filling a clear gap in the Haircare Market, the EdgeSlick elevates styling tools into objects of design while also meeting sustainability targets.

Strategic opportunity

How can beauty transform their products into objects of design that are both sustainable and can be displayed proudly?

The safe space designed to challenge alcohol-centric socialising

Dream House Lounge, US Dream House Lounge, US
Dream House Lounge, US Dream House Lounge, US

New Orleans – Dream House Lounge is an oxygen bar and wellness space for people of colour to engage in dialogue without the social lubricant of alcohol.

While alcohol may not be on offer at the lounge, it does offer an oxygen bar, a selection of ‘conscious cocktails’ and a bottle shop for patrons to support Black-owned non-alcoholic brands like Mocktail Club, Brooklyn Brewed Sorrel and Yoro. Not only is the menu designed to celebrate Black success, but the design of the space is intended to nurture the dreams and aspirations of people of colour.

‘Historically, our ancestors sat in circles, and that’s where they built community, manifested the future, engaged in dialogue,’ says its owner David Wallace, who has conceived a layout that takes advantage of the heightened consciousness and presence that comes when people socialise without alcohol. Building on this, a catalogue of events include meditation, poetry and chef pop-ups.

By fusing the need for non-alcoholic hospitality with the elevation of Black culture, talent and ancestry, Dream House Lounge is creating a new breed of social space that considers the need for deeper human connection in public spaces.

Strategic opportunity

If your space does not rely on alcohol to function, use it as an opportunity to spotlight the personal and collective benefits of this deeper, and more cognisant, type of socialising

Carbon-free sake sets a new sustainability standard

Japan – The Fukuju Brewery, located in the Nada region of Kobe, is setting a new precedent in sake production. Its inaugural ‘green sake’, which will be launched on 20 October, is completely carbon-neutral without losing the purity of its flavour.

To create the green sake, the brewery uses 100% renewable energy and carbon-neutral city gas. In addition to using clean energy, the brewery has increased the rice polishing rate (RPR) from 70% to 80%, reducing the amount of time the drink needs to spend in the polishing process. The company has also swapped labels in favour of printing directly on the bottle to reduce the carbon footprint of its packaging.

Although sake is an extremely traditional drink, this product illustrates how it can be updated to become more planet-friendly. As more consumers decarbonise their diets to achieve more eco-friendly lifestyles, even heritage industries will have to reform their production processes to meet new standards.

Empirical Spirits, Copenhagen

Strategic opportunity

The alcohol industry has been leading sustainability initiatives, but there is room for other drinks companies – such as ready-to-drink and soda brands – to adopt similar principles

Stat: The number of UK working mothers reaches new heights

Oddokids Manual by Oddobody, US
Oddokids Manual by Oddobody, US

Highlighting that the pandemic did not push women out of the workplace, the highest level of mothers are in work in the UK, according to data by the Office for National Statistics. Three in four, or 75.6%, of mothers with dependent children were in work from April to June 2021, just as the country was coming out of a period in which many parents were juggling full-time jobs with home schooling.

The data also shows that, from 2020, in families where both parents are employed, it has become more common for both parents to work full-time, rather than a man working full-time with a partner working part-time. With an escalating cost of living crisis and looming recession, these findings highlight the importance of full-time work for parents. But as childcare costs put more of a squeeze on families’ wallets, businesses will need to find ways to support their employees with children, particularly as Gen Z become parents, and place these issues front and centre in their employment decisions.

Strategic opportunity

As an employee, make steps to recognise the problems that dual earners face, and consider how your business’s flexible working arrangements can evolve to fit the lifestyles of working parents

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