“Selfridges says Work It”: Is the way we work fundamentally changing?
Yesterday we took part in Selfridges’ WorkIt series at their London flagship store, in conjunction with Google Campus London. Love & Robots were one of 5 companies to participate in their panel discussion & demo at the event, which also included We Are Pop Up, Fashercise, Born.com, Mystery Vibe, and Brothers We Stand. The WorkIt space is also inhabited by Makerversity, which houses some pretty cool initiatives including Candy Mechanics, who let you make chocolates lollies in the image of your own face!
Among the businesses on the panel, there was a definite focus on the creation of consumer products and how consumers view the things they buy. Brothers We Stand, like Love & Robots, concentrates on design and sustainability. Making well-designed consumer products from completely recycled materials is the central focus of Brothers We Stand. We see consumers looking for transparency, provenance and accountability more and more. They are no longer content to simply buy without knowing how and where their items are made.
Looking for products with customization in mind is also a common theme among the Selfridges WorkIt panel. For instance, Mystery Vibe makes completely customizable adult toys: “one size does not fit all”. Focusing on designing personalization into products from the ground up, and not as an afterthought, is something which is coming up more and more and large corporations are having trouble dealing efficiently with it.
Mystery Vibe was created through Born.com, a crowd-funding platform for design-led products. The crowdfunding market is led in the US by companies like Kickstarter and Indiegogo proving that customers want the opportunity to have a say in what products are brought to market. They are willing to pay months in advance of actually getting products because they get to participate.
Above: Panellists from We Are Popup, Love & Robots, Brothers We Stand, and Mystery Vibe, with MC from Google Campus.
“I want it here, I want it now, and I want it exactly the way I want it.”
The 21st century attitude of digital at our fingertips, has led us to expect the same immediacy in the physical world that we get from digital. People expect to be able to sign up and start using products immediately with very little waiting time, and with flexibility – no bills, no contracts, no hidden fees. Transparency. Consumers are less likely to buy now than ever before if they’re not happy with a retailers reputation. Companies are under much more pressure now to be open about areas such as how fair-trade, animal friendly and environmentally friendly their production is. And with this information readily available on the internet, consumers are not only more aware, but actively looking for it.
We Are Pop Up is the AirBnB for retail spaces, and it taps into the immediacy and transience of today’s retail market. Businesses that want popup shops for just a couple of months, or even just a few days, can find empty retail locations on We Are Pop Up’s website, and similarly landlords can offer vacant premises on the site.
Selfridges’ WorkIt series is part of their new initiative to engage new brands combining fashion & technology. We love where this is going.