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24 : 04 : 19

An at-home drink dispenser that creates the taste of 30 spirits, a debit card for cryptocurrencies and the explosive growth for Instagram Stories.

Club404 is Lil Miquela’s own fashion line

Digital Psychedelia, Club 404 by Lil Miquela

Los Angeles – The virtual influencer has launched her own members’ club offering a limited-edition range of merchandise.

Club 404 was created in collaboration with Brud, the storytelling studio behind Lil Miquela, with candy-coloured, sci-fi-inspired branding by female-run digital studio The Digital Fairy. The club – named after the internet error code 404 to ‘symbolise a new wave of digital disruption’ – counters the traditionally exclusive nature of members’ clubs by instead operating as an inclusive digital community.

The e-commerce site now offers two sweatshirt styles and a pack of patterned socks, all made in Los Angeles, with prices starting at £24 ($31, €28). A drop model will render all products limited edition and new items will be regularly uploaded to Club 404.

As more avatar influencers take to Instagram, Lil Miquela highlights the commercial potential for these fictional personalities to influence fashion and retail beyond brand sponsorship.

Hermès’ casual luxury store targets Generation Z

Hermès, Meatpacking District, NYC Hermès, Meatpacking District, NYC
Hermès, Meatpacking District, NYC Hermès, Meatpacking District, NYC

New York – The French luxury house has opened a new store in the Meatpacking District with the aim of attracting younger customers.

The two-storey, 5,300-square-foot space is the company’s fifth physical location in New York, but it marks the first time Hermès has branched beyond the more established luxury district of Manhattan. Its relaxed store design, informal staff uniforms and more casual product assortment reflect further new directions for the 182-year-old brand, with urban lifestyle items such as skateboard bags, bicycles and sneakers displayed alongside its signature silk scarves, ties and handbags.

‘The difference here is we’ll attract the next generation of Hermès clients,’ says Bob Chavez, CEO and president of Hermès USA. ‘It’s another opportunity for Hermès to portray itself in a more modern and updated way.’

For more on how luxury brands are experimenting with new store formats and untapped locations to attract a young demographic, explore our Uptown Downtown microtrend.

Coinbase launches a cryptocurrency debit card

UK – With the Coinbase Card, cryptocurrency holders can spend their coins seamlessly using contactless payments, chip and pin and ATM withdrawals.

Launched in the UK, the Visa debit card acts as a digital exchange for cryptocurrencies, allowing consumers to pay in-store and online using bitcoin, Ethereum and litecoin, among others. When the card is used, the crypto is converted instantly into fiat currency such as pounds sterling, meaning they can use their card in millions of locations around the world.

Unlike existing cards, which require users to pre-load their cryptocurrency, the Coinbase Card is linked to customers’ accounts. In addition, Coinbase has launched an accompanying app to help customers manage their crypto spending. It also plans to expand the card to international markets.

As cryptocurrencies gain mainstream traction, finance brands are facilitating their everyday use while educating consumers about how these digital entities could one day replace cash.

Coinbase Card Coinbase Card

This at-home drink dispenser replicates a range of spirits

Smart Spirit Dispenser Smart Spirit Dispenser
Smart Spirit Dispenser Smart Spirit Dispenser

Spain – Smart Spirits has created an at-home drinks dispenser that can transform neutral grain spirit into alcoholic beverages that taste like whisky, gin or rum.

The dispenser uses flavour capsules to recreate the taste of up to 30 different spirits and liqueurs, including coffee liqueur, single malt whisky, spiced rum, gin and flavoured vodkas. According to company, the concept plays on the fact that nearly all spirits are comprised of water, ethyl alcohol and flavours.

The dispenser, which creates spirits ranging from 0% abv to 40%, will also give consumers control over the alcoholic strength of their distillate. ‘Smart Spirits taps into the desire of the increasingly sophisticated and tech savvy consumer to have control of the alcohol in their drinks, at the same time also choice and convenience,’ says Ian Smart, co-founder of Smart Spirits.

In our Post-category Spirits microtrend, we explore how a new wave of start-up distilleries are creating spirits that shirk the rules and regulations of liquor-making.

Stat: Instagram Stories users have tripled since 2017

Instagram’s Stories feature has recorded huge growth in users over the past year, according to a new report by Business Insider Intelligence.

The report cites that much of the global growth of social video can be attributed to Instagram alone. The platform’s Stories feature hit 500m daily active users in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from just 150m in the first quarter of 2017. Furthermore, Instagram is the leading platform for stories-style content – 54% of users say they use Instagram Stories the most versus similar formats on other platforms.

Business Insider also notes that social video advertising investment is expected to reach $25.6bn (£20bn, €23bn) by 2023, up 128% on 2018, as Instagram Stories becomes an increasingly lucrative route for brands to reach consumers. For more, read our Shoppable Social report.

Thought-starter: Can the sharing economy transform childcare?

With the sharing economy disrupting many of the core pillars of adult life, brands are now turning their attention to the ways it can positively impact childrearing.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, childcare is now the third largest drain on the average middle class American family’s expenses, after food and housing, while a survey by Care.com showed that 20% of parents felt prohibited from having as many children as they wanted because of childcare costs.

It's something new US co-living brand Kin looks to change, by helping parents help each other. Rather than the usual emphasis on co-living amenities like gyms and post-work party-orientated lounges, Kin’s forthcoming properties will major on kid-friendly social spaces and plenty of buggy parking, while flats come pre-baby proofed.

Key to community life at each address will be the dedicated Kin app, which lets families broadcast details about forthcoming events and milestones, while offering access to on-demand nannies that can be pooled between residents.

Read the full Co-economy Childcare microtrend here.

ORA nursery by Roar Design for the UAE Prime Minister, Dubai ORA nursery by Roar Design for the UAE Prime Minister, Dubai

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