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31 minutes | Jul 16, 2020
Kevin Ryan: From recession into a prosperous new normal
Physical retail is dead as we know it. There is no turning back. But Kevin Ryan, one the most admired investors and entrepreneurs in the United States, also has good news. On this episode of the Innovators podcast Kevin explains how he believes we will be much better off a year from now, he reveals how the number one threat the world faces today can be eliminated this November, and he shares a piece of advice to all business owners who are fighting to survive in the New Normal.
25 minutes | Dec 23, 2019
Peter Diamandis: A look to the future
We have the tools today to make the change the world needs, says engineer, author and futurist, Peter Diamandis, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. As we head into 2020, this conversation explores why there’s a crazy idea behind every breakthrough innovation, how the next decade will be a critical time to reinvent much of humanity, and the one thing you need to know to prepare for this future.
34 minutes | Dec 16, 2019
Mastercard: Creating experiences beyond transactions
Mastercard is on a mission to curate and create priceless experiences that money cannot buy, says Raja Rajamannar, CMO of the technology company, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. At any given time, the company is hosting over 750 of such experiences globally. During this episode, Rajamannar tells us how this strategy addresses customer passion points, what he's doing to drive loyalty through purpose, and why the company is launching an industry first: its own sound.
32 minutes | Dec 6, 2019
Orlebar Brown: Trusting partners for growth
When you start a business, you should always be thinking about what your end goal is, says Adam Brown, founder of luxury swimwear brand Orlebar Brown, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. In Brown’s case, it was the eventual acquisition by none other than Chanel. During this episode, Brown tells us just why the acquisition is a match made in heaven, how he is bringing sustainability into the brand in a creative way, and how brands can get the luxury consumer to forget about the price tag.
28 minutes | Nov 29, 2019
Neighborhood Goods: Making retail relevant
Traditional retail exists in a vortex of information, which doesn’t make sense for today, says Matt Alexander, co-founder and CEO of new department store Neighborhood Goods, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. The company’s inaugural space, which launched in Texas in late 2018, carries a selection of new and established brands and focuses on driving customer relevance through data. Join us for this episode as we explore why experiential retail needs to go beyond putting a ball pit in the store, and how modern brands are using physical space for entirely new reasons, and why legacy retailers may have the ability to play catch up after years of ignoring customer needs.
29 minutes | Nov 21, 2019
Christopher Raeburn: How to scale circularity
Big businesses have no excuse for not doing the right thing, says Christopher Raeburn, founder of British designer brand Raeburn and creative director of Timberland, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. Christopher is bringing his learnings from his own brand to create a responsible, innovative new Timberland. Join us as we explore why a reduced, remade and recycled model is essential for fashion, how education is a missing link and how to turn “trash” into opportunity.
33 minutes | Nov 14, 2019
Thom Browne: Choosing authenticity over hype
A brand’s success depends on authentic relationships and good design over hype, says Rodrigo Bazan, CEO of designer label Thom Browne, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. Join us as we explore what that means in practice, including how music and celebrity help fuel its success, why the brand believes in sportswear over streetwear, and just how its thinking about the balance of data and design today.
28 minutes | Nov 4, 2019
Browns Fashion: Enhancing customer experience through tech
The only way to embed technology in the store is to focus on what will benefit the customer, says Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns Fashion, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. The British luxury retailer has been experimenting with parent company Farfetch’s Store of the Future strategy since it was announced in 2017. Join us as we dive into Browns’ resulting version of augmented retail, Holli’s experience being one of the first employees at e-commerce business Net-a-Porter and what out of the box thinking she’s now applying to sustainability.
29 minutes | Oct 28, 2019
Katharine Hamnett: Backing a Global Green New Deal
Introducing legislation along the lines of a Global Green New Deal is mandatory for the future of our planet and the existence of the fashion industry within it, says designer and activist Katharine Hamnett on this episode of the Innovators podcast. Join us as we dive into what such regulations need to include, what activism today should really look like both for businesses and for us as individuals, and why she doesn’t believe the answer is about reducing how many clothes we all actually buy.
25 minutes | Oct 22, 2019
Roland Mouret: Rethinking single-use plastics
“Being creative gives us the ability to help change the world”, says Roland Mouret, a designer on a mission to eradicate single-use plastics in the supply chain, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. He’s doing this by taking a small step that could add up to big change if adopted across the industry. Join us as we explore why he’s on a mission to make sustainability sexy, the major trend he thinks is dying out in fashion right now, and how the climate crisis is redefining power and the luxury industry.
28 minutes | Oct 10, 2019
Ganni: Taking risks for long-term return
Understanding cost and thinking long-term is key for fashion to become sustainable, explains Nicolaj Reffstrup, founder of Danish fashion brand, Ganni, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. After all, who is going to pay for it? Join us as we discuss how Ganni is making investments as well as flexing its muscle to drive towards a more sustainable future, the new business models its testing to do so, and why it’s focused on bringing a tech mentality to every way that it operates.
31 minutes | Sep 27, 2019
MatchesFashion.com: Why retail ‘experience’ is jargon
Creating retail experiences is essential for successful brick and mortar today, but it’s not a silver bullet, explains Jess Christie, chief brand officer of MatchesFashion.com, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. This is a luxury retailer that opened a new physical store in London’s Mayfair last year and hosted more than 100 different events in its first 9 months. Join us as we also explore exactly what that takes to pull off, what it means to think about personal shopping through the eyes of technology today, and the role content plays in connecting online and offline together.
36 minutes | Sep 19, 2019
Stadium Goods: Riding the sneaker culture boom
The success of Stadium Goods comes off the back of unprecedented consumer desire for sneakers and the need for a rich brand experience in which to buy them, says the platform’s co-founder and co-CEO, John McPheters, on this episode of the Innovators podcast. This is a consignment site that launched in 2015 and was acquired by ecommerce marketplace Farfetch in 2018 for $250 million. Very few emerging businesses have seen such rapid growth. Join us as we explore the cultural relevance of sneakers today, the evolving role of exclusivity and desire in luxury as a result, and just how what McPheters is doing is really about teaching the industry to give up control.
32 minutes | Apr 18, 2019
Brian Solis on rewiring the connected generation
Living in such a connected world is damaging our ability to think creatively, says Brian Solis, a world-leading anthropologist and futurist, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global. By being constantly online, we are constantly distracted, he suggests. He refers to this particularly applying to "Generation C", where the C stands for "Connected. "We all live in a similar lifestyle. And when you live that lifestyle, you're rewiring your brain. You're speeding it up; you're moving faster, you're becoming less patient, you're becoming incredibly narcissistic. The world literally revolves around you," he explains. "You have followers, your friends, you feel like you need to constantly feed that system, but you're also feeding off the system. So you might find yourself endlessly scrolling for no good reason whatsoever." Solis experienced this himself: after writing seven best-selling books, he struggled with distraction while trying to write this eighth. Getting caught up in cycles of sharing and consuming social media is one of the main reasons why people get less and less creative over time, he suggests. "The real problem is that I'm placing greater emphasis on what happens on this screen than I am in this moment right now. That means that I'm not placing value in the people that I'm around, or the places that I'm at, which means that becomes forgettable." But his quest to understand society's digital realities, behaviors and expectations did indeed end up inspiring a new book after all. In Lifescale, he reflects on how we ended up opening ourselves up to so many distractions and what changed to make people value this way of living – points that he also touches on in the podcast. In this conversation, recorded with the Current Global's Liz Bacelar at our Innovation Mansion at SXSW this year, Solis explains his techniques to taking control over tech, shares how brands can be more authentic by being more empathic; and reveals what the key is to transforming us into the leaders of the future.
32 minutes | Apr 11, 2019
Universal Standard on leveling the playing field for ‘plus-size’ fashion
"We really and truly believe that the plus size woman will never be serviced as well as she will be when there's no such thing as plus size," say Alexandra Waldman and Polina Veksler, co-founders of size-inclusive label, Universal Standard, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global. Fashion tends to segregate women who are on the larger end of the spectrum, they say, and so they're on a mission to level the playing field and make clothes for everyone. To that end, the brand, which had already gained a cult-like following for its size-inclusive clothing since launching in 2015, introduced an even larger range in 2018, from 00 to 40 – an industry first. Understanding how women of all sizes shop has been key to the brand's success, which last year also raised its first round of investment from the likes of GOOP's Gwyneth Paltrow, TOMS' Blake Mycoskie and Imaginary Ventures' Natalie Massenet. Much like many direct-to-consumer counterparts, the e-commerce experience is playing a major part in its popularity: all of its SKUs can be viewed at every size available within the range, making it easier for women to compare and make confident decisions; and its Universal Fit Liberty Program allows shoppers to replace their purchase, free of charge, within a year of completing it, should they go up or down in size. During this conversation, recorded at the Current Global's Innovation Mansion at SXSW this year, Waldman and Veksler break down the many product development challenges that come with the industry's traditional fit formula; tell co-host Rachel Arthur what they're putting in place to reduce hostility to women of larger size ranges, and share why their bold moves are shifting the way the whole industry approaches this market.
34 minutes | Apr 4, 2019
LEVI’S ON THE RISKS OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
"[The fashion industry] is 60% larger than it needs to be relative to the actual quantity of demand," says Paul Dillinger, Head of Global Product Innovation at Levi's, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global. He is referring to the fact six out of 10 garments produced every year are being discarded to landfill or incinerated within the first year of their production. The result is that those working in this world need to either think about how you can eliminate overproduction, or instead build new business models around only making and selling the four that are actually wanted, he explains, even if it affects business growth. An alternative response to that concept is the so-called "circular economy", whereby items are not discarded but put back into the system, which to overly simplify matters, enables businesses to continue with growth while aiming for lesser impact. But Dillinger believes such moves are merely providing brands with a guilt-free alternative to keep overproducing at a point when the technology for a truly circular system isn't yet scalable. He instead refers to the idea of credible "circular industrial ecologies", which are much more complex to operate and achieve. "One of them is a corporate compliance officer selling a new shiny penny to a board of directors in the C-suite, and the other one is a studious and scientific approach to really tackling a real challenge," he explains. At Levi's, Dillinger is otherwise looking at key areas like reducing the brand's use of water. "I think people's right to drink fresh water should be prioritized above a company's right to access fresh water for production," he explains. In this conversation, hosted in front of a live audience at the Current Global's Innovation Mansion at SXSW 2019, he explains what that looks like through theinnovative work he's been doing with hemp. He also gets technical with host Rachel Arthur about the many ways in which Levi's is working to make its supply chain responsible in one of the most complex industries in the world.
33 minutes | Apr 1, 2019
Dirty Lemon on feeding a constant need for newness
"We're operating under the thesis that billion dollar brands will not exist in the future," says Zak Normandin, founder and CEO of Iris Nova, the company behind wellness drink brand, Dirty Lemon, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global. "I know Dirty Lemon isn't going to be popular in a few years. And I want to already have three type of products in the pipeline that we're launching right now, because consumers are very transient in their decisions to buy products," he explains. Dirty Lemon launched in 2015 and quickly gained the type of cult following that only brands born online manage to achieve. It did so through a mixture of being at the right place, at the right time – in this case, right in the middle of the wellness boom – and carefully crafted branding that positioned it as a lifestyle offering, rather than just a product. But Normandin, a CPG entrepreneur at heart, has much bigger plans than creating fleeting frenzy around a single product line. From inception, his Instagrammable bottles could only be bought online, with purchase being completed via text message. In 2018, it launched the Drug Store, an unmanned retail concept where customers could pick up a Dirty Lemon drink and simply walk out, texting to complete their purchase as they did so. This innovative retail model, alongside a stream of new product launches happening over the next few months, demonstrates Normandin's ambitions to keep reacting to customer needs and behaviors before they move onto the next hot thing. During this conversation, recorded at this year's SXSW at the Current Global's Innovation Mansion, Normandin also share with Liz Bacelar the new products launching under the Irs Nova family, what the retail experience is doing to inform future product development, and how Coca Cola is not only one of the brand's biggest investors, but also its competitor.
33 minutes | Mar 21, 2019
Why Pinterest pushes shopping over commerce
There's a big difference today between the role of commerce, and that of shopping, says Tim Weingarten, head of shopping product at Pinterest, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global. "Commerce has this implication of pushing for the transaction – about reducing friction in the conversion. Whereas shopping is one of joy. It's one of serendipity, it's one of discovering something you didn't know existed," he explains. It's that mentality that underpins everything his team does at the company, focusing primarily on how to better the user experience with discovery and personalization at its core. This includes the introduction of a series of tools that filter and predict needs – from Pinterest Lens, which allows customers to find items from the database by photographing similar ones, to the newly announced Catalogs feature, where brands can upload their entire product catalog as shoppable pins. What makes Pinterest stand out among its competitors, is that its users navigate the platform for entirely personal reasons, such as renovating their kitchens or achieving the perfect hairstyle, as opposed to pushing aspirational content to followers, Weingarten comments. Being able to capitalize on that then comes down to having the right algorithms in place. "The more data you have, the more you can personalize. But on an e commerce site, the only data they have is based on prior transactions. That's a very sparse dataset and it happens very infrequently. If you switch gears to Pinterest, what you have is someone visiting every day doing this authentic thing – saving things for particular use cases. This engagement signal can be applied to all products... And because we have this authentic form of engagement, we're able to understand what you're trying to accomplish, and actually personalize it to your tastes," he says. Pinterest has been around for nearly a decade with a quiet yet steady climb to the top. As of 2018, users on the platform had pinned 175 billion items on three billion virtual boards. The company is now on track to top $1bn in revenue, and is rumored to be moving forward with an IPO this summer at a valuation of $12bn. During this conversation recorded at Shoptalk with the Current Global's Rachel Arthur, Weingarten dissects how Pinterest is only getting better at predicting consumer needs before they're voiced; shares how the platform balances being commercial with keeping the joy of inspiration alive, and hints at the types of technologies he's looking at to further personalize the shopping experience.
31 minutes | Mar 14, 2019
Nick Knight on why AI cannot simulate creativity
Artificial intelligence is not yet good enough to simulate creativity, says British fashion photographer Nick Knight on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global. Speaking live at a FashMash event in London, he explained that AI as it stands today, is a long way from what creativity is: "When you create a picture, it is done through desire, accident, failure, fear, love, and arousal. Predicting what I will do by how I did past steps is not a good way to create my next piece of art; it's not a good way to simulate creativity." He was referring to the way in which AI looks back at past behavior in order to work out what is probable next. But that doesn't mean that it won't one day figure out how to do so, he noted, adding that he is working on new projects that will keep him on the frontline of it so as to have a say in what it could look like down the road. Knight has built his career on pushing the boundaries of image making. He has photographed some of the world's biggest celebrities and models – from Lady Gaga and Bjork to Kate Moss and the late Alexander McQueen. Almost two decades ago, he launched SHOWstudio, an online platform celebrating fashion film, and changing the way fashion was consumed through the internet. Now his next act is understanding how technologies like AI and robotics will impact creativity, and how he can become a part of such a movement. During this conversation with guest host Rosanna Falconer, Knight explains what the smartphone has to do with Shakespeare; how SHOWstudio broke the internet but created history with the first ever live streamed fashion show for Alexander McQueen in late 2009; and why he is an eternal optimist about the future.
32 minutes | Mar 7, 2019
Appear Here on why retail is more valuable than Google Ads
Successful retail decisions are made when physical space is seen as another media channel, says Ross Bailey, founder and CEO of Appear Here, the online marketplace for short retail leases on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global. Retail is failing when it's not thinking about audience first, Ross insists. The industry doesn't think twice about spending huge budgets on Google Ads, but customer acquisition can prove increasingly more valuable through spend on physical footprint, he explains. It's for that reason, Appear Here increasingly sees the likes of Google or Instagram as greater competition than other brokers. "[If you're playing] the audience game that means that as a brand, what's the best most authentic, great return on investment medium, that I can reach an audience at for that moment in time, for that campaign, for that product, for that season.And if that happens to be retail, you're going to be making that decision over what you're spending on AdWords or over what you're spending anywhere else," he comments. Appear Here launched in 2013 hoping to disrupt a long-established market that no longer corresponded to how customers shopped. While commercial landlords demanded an average five-year commitment from brands, customers were dispersing from the high street and shopping in a much more flexible, non-committal way. Today, AppearHere's short-term rental model – often referred to as the "Airbnb of retail" – sees the company operate an average of 350 stores in London alone at any given time, making it the largest retailer currently operating in the city. Bailey hopes the model gives brands and retailers much more flexibility to appear and disappear whenever they see fit, rather than wait for the consumer to do so first. For brands across the spectrum, of which he has 180,000 on his platform, there are different approaches however. For luxury names like Chanel, Nike or Netflix, all Appear Here clients, it's about reaching a new audience or promoting a particular product or campaign; for more independent brands, it's about creating awareness outside their online bubble where competition is too high without enormous ad budgets, he suggests. During this conversation Bailey also explains why he sees no problem with an in-store ballpit as a popular experiential idea as long as it is authentic to the brand; how Selfridges' early retail days inspires him to think about how to bring back showmanship; and why technology, much like children, he says, should be seen but not heard.
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