Need to Know
29 : 06 : 18

Blume’s essentials guide young girls through key life stages, Asics focuses on the connection between body and mind, Amazon Alexa comes to hotels.

Blume is a subscription service for puberty

Blume, US Blume, US
Blume, US Blume, US
Blume, US Blume, US

US – Stocked with tampons, a natural deodorant and blemish treatment, the subscription box provides girls with some essentials they will need throughout puberty.

Blume co-founders Taran and Bunny Ghatrora initially set up Ellebox in 2016 to provide an organic tampon subscription service for women. But after receiving various requests - from pre-teen girls and their mothers– for more products, the sisters transformed the original subscription box into a dedicated service for teens.

‘There was really no brand out there that was the go-to [for puberty],’ says Taran. ‘The whole experience was fragmented from when you got your period to going shopping for your first products.’ Alongside the products, the brand will be launching launched Blume University, a YouTube series of educational videos.

While Blume is currently centred around puberty, in coming years the duo plan to expand to other products in further life stages. It comes at a time when we see beauty brands offer new products and services that are aligned with natural human cycles.

Asics’ pitch black running track eliminates modern distractions

Black Out Track, Asics, UNIT9 and Edelman Deportivo, London

London – In collaboration with UNIT9 and Edelman Deportivo, footwear retailer Asics has created Black Out, a running track designed to train the mind.

The course, which has been developed to promote the brand’s new Gel Kayano 25 show range, is cloaked in darkness, giving runners no access to technology, music or scenery. Custom-made sounds and lights are embedded to eliminate distractions and allow athletes to solely focus on the connection between the body and the mind.

‘Asics was founded on the belief that a sound body fuels a sound mind, so this campaign goes right to the heart of who we are as a brand. Our promise is to bring our founder’s vision to life in the modern-age – where negative distractions of the mind can prevent us from reaching our potential and going the distance’, says Paul Miles, chief marketing officer of Asics.

Inspired by Japanese marathon runners, the track will bring together athletes and brand ambassadors from around the world to train in the intense environment.

Amazon enhances hotel experiences with Alexa

US – The e-commerce giant is bringing Alexa to various Marriott hotels across the country in an effort to improve guest experiences.

Dubbed ‘Alexa for Hospitality’, the service will allow guests to use Echo devices installed in the hotel room to request housekeeping, order room service, or call the concierge for dinner recommendations without picking up the phone. Alexa can also be configured by hospitality providers to control and adjust in-room devices such as lights, thermostats, blinds, and TVs.

Mega-systems like Amazon are continuously looking for new ways to provide simplicity and convenience across a range of industry sectors. With voice-enabled devices comfortably embedded into our homes, retailers and more recently hospitality providers are exploring how seamless voice experiences can offer guests greater access to their products and services. For more, see our Voice Retail Market.

Alexa for Hospitality, Amazon, US Alexa for Hospitality, Amazon, US

Browns dip its toes into the luxury rental market

Browns and Armarium pop up store, London Browns and Armarium pop up store, London
Browns and Armarium pop up store, London Browns and Armarium pop up store, London

UK – London-based fashion boutique Browns is exploring a rental model in partnership with on-demand luxury service Armarium.

The retailer will host a two-week pop up with the rental and styling platform to encourage consumers to engage in more sustainable fashion. Customers will have access to Armarium’s extensive inventory and services, including garments from Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, and a selection of Browns clothing that continue to live on the platform after the pop-up. Rental prices will range from £306 ($400, €345) to £344 ($450, €388).

‘Armarium’s bought/borrowed approach speaks to the topic of sustainability, therefore as a retailer we can extend the lifecycle of our products giving the client access to great pieces regardless of time, closet or pocketbook limitations’, says Holli Rogers, CEO at Browns.

With collaborative consumption on the rise, could subscription models provide a potential solution in slowing fashion down? For more, see our opinion piece here.

US Millennials prefer to socialise at home

New research from Mintel reveals that Millennials are finding joy in socialising at home. As well as being perceived as a morerelaxing (74%), cheaper (69%) and personal (35%), nearly two in five (38%) Americans choose to drink at home in order to better control their alcohol intake.

Drinks brands are already capitalising on this shift in behaviour by launching low and no-alcohol alternatives. Start-up Punchy created a spiced rum punch that is available in 4% abv and 0% abv. Elsewhere, there is also an opportunity for brands to cater to consumers beyond the public environment with drinks designed specifically to be consumed at home. Last year, Garçon Wines launched wine bottles that fit through a letterbox for those who wish to stay in.

Thought-starter: Can Detroit balance gentrification with community?

Hailed as the Comeback City, recent initiatives are not only rebuilding Detroit’s commercial potential, but also ensuring that the wider community is not left behind by gentrification.

Well known as a 20th-century hub of car manufacturing, Detroit’s future is now being led by a burgeoning retail industry.Unsurprisingly, due to its rich history, car-maker Ford plans to take over the abandoned Michigan Central Station and surrounding areas in its home city to serve as a campus for its exploration of the future of mobility.

Meanwhile many of Detroit’s residents expressed an interest in investing in the recovery of the city but have little money to do so. To overcome this, Cooperative Capital is a new community-based fund that provides a way for residents to finance the rebuilding of Detroit, while benefiting from a financial return. The start-up only requires a minimum of £758 ($1,000, €860) for an individual to have a vote in how funds are spent. Contributing residents can compile a list of opportunities for the city, which are later reviewed by an investment committee, who have the final say in whether the developments are viable.

For more on Detroit’s future, read here.

Corktown campus by Ford Corktown campus by Ford