January 21, 2020
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to experience trending fitness classes—from cycling to boxing to yoga to rowing to barre, and more—then you might want to think about ClassPass.
With over 30,000 health clubs in 28 countries worldwide to choose a class from, the three-year-old company, based in New York City, offers the chance to sample different workouts, depending on your mood, fitness level, and schedule.
Their standard introductory offer is typically two weeks, Business Insider reports, but now, Class Pass is offering a one-month free trial for the new year. You can take up to six classes during your free month, and you can cancel your membership whenever. If you don’t cancel, though, you’ll be auto-enrolled in a monthly membership. That’s all you’ll need. You won’t need a membership to any of the clubs.
And since budget-friendly options can often mean second-rate options, it’s nice to know ClassPass typically features popular studios, including a majority of the fitness classes you’ve likely heard of from word-of-mouth or have actually been meaning to try.
According to Business Insider, after your free trial, you pay a monthly membership fee that’s based on your city and how many classes you want to take each month. The lowest tier membership starts at $9, but you should expect to pay something closer to $39 (the rate in cities like Minneapolis) to $49 (the rate in New York City) per month for four to nine classes.
Research contact: @businessinsider
January 20, 2020
With more than 3 million restaurant listed on its crowd-sourced review forum, , determining the top eatery nationwide was no small chore for Yelp—but a food truck serving Middle Eastern fare has been named number one on the service’s list of “Top 100 Places to Eat in 2020,” CBS News reports.
And it’s so popular, if you’re interested in ordering, you should save a little extra time for lunch: In San Diego’s South Park, the line of customers to get to the Shawarma Guys food truck stretches around the corner.
They don’t have an exclusive address or a single Michelin star—but they do get 530 reviews and five full stars on the site. Iraqi-American chef Bryan Zeto opened up in front of his friend’s liquor store 11 months ago after he quit his job selling cell phones. His father Samer is a sous chef.
The key ingredient in their popular beef plate is wagyu beef from Australia.
“We would have regulars come three to four times a week. Some people would come twice a day,” Zeto stold CBS News. “We have been working 12 to 13 hours a day, every day for the past year. But it is fun. I love what I do now.”
Currently, he serves up to 900 plates a day. “The business quadrupled overnight. We had lines a block and a half up,” Zeto said.
But he said the best part is driving a dream, with his dad in the passenger seat. “Anything for my kids,” Samer said. “Anything for my son to be successful.”
Research contact: @CBSNews
January 17, 2020
Some romantics fondly remember making mixed tapes and CDs for their objects of affection in days gone by. But for the furry, four-legged kind?
The Stockholm, Sweden-based music service—which currently operates out of 16 nations worldwide—released Pet Playlists on January 16. The company says the project considers both “your listening habits and your pet’s attributes” to generate playlists “you both can enjoy.”
And ass you might have guessed— no, there’s not a ton of research out there to back any of this up.
However, some studies have suggested that that Fido might prefer a few musical genres over others, Fast Company notes. Indeed, recent research conducted by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish SPCA has found that dogs chill out while listening to reggae and soft rock. Classical music also “appears particularly beneficial” for dogs, while heavy metal seemed to encourage them to bark.
While Spotify acknowledges that “music for pets isn’t an exact science,” the Pet Playlists tool considers whether your dog is relaxed or energetic, shy or friendly, curious or apathetic. The company says it consulted with cellist and musicologist David Teie, who’s built a business selling music to cat owners, to shape “how the algorithm was programmed.”
Privacy-conscious pets may be reassured by Spotify’s promise to only use the information you share about your pet to make your playlist. According to Spotify’s FAQ, “the information is not stored and is not used for any other purpose.”
Spotify’s new tool also caters to birds and hamsters. Have a different kind of companion animal? The company encourages you to try it anyway:”You may find your rabbit really likes hamster music!”
January 16, 2020
At Clean Market, New Yorkers have a wide menu of healthy offerings to choose from, such as “superfood smoothies” and bowls. Also available à la carte: vitamins delivered intravenously at the NutriDrip bar, CNBC reports.
They are not cheap, but the 30-minute IV infusions—administered by medical professionals—are growing in popularity.
And lately, CNBC says, they’ve been attracting new business partners, too, from the Wynn Hotel, which plans to start offering NutriDrip in Las Vegas early this year; to fitness and lifestyle company Equinox. Indeed, Equinox executives Jeffrey Weinhaus and Harvey Spevak were early investors in NutriDrip.
NutriDrip sells 15 vitamin infusions. The classic Nutribody drip aims to support fat loss with a combination of l-carnitine, taurine, vitamin C, and B complex, among others.
There also are popular hangover remedies—Basic Recover, Super Recovery, and Mega Recovery— which range in price from $119 to $199, depending on how much you’re hurting from the night before.
What’s more, the Nutriyouth drip claims the ability to “help stop cellular aging in its tracks” with a mixture of anti-aging enzymes, molecules and vitamins for $599.
Founded five years ago, NutriDrip is looking to expand in 2020 with a Series A funding round in the first half of this year. Executives declined to say how much money they’re looking to raise.
“Over the last three years, IV nutrient therapy, specifically NutriDrip, has grown, at like a 60% to 80% year-over-year growth rate, even while opening new stores,” co-founder Asa Kitfield told the cable business news channel. “So we’re really excited to see what sort of saturation the market can see on like a local and national basis.”
“As many of our guests now expect a more holistic set of wellness options, we have evolved to include broader wellness themes related to functional wellness, physical fitness, and healthy cuisine,” a Wynn Hotel spokesperson told CNBC; adding “providing IV therapy is one more way to help our guests maintain personal wellness routines while they are traveling.”
Celebrities, including Madonna, Rihanna and Simon Cowell, are reportedly fans of IV vitamin treatments, but it’s drawn some controversy.
“Anytime you poke a hole in somebody’s vein, there is some risk that they’ll bleed excessively. There’s also some risk that they will clot excessively,” Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center told CNBC. “So the risks are not great. And the risks are not very common, but there are risks, and the only way to justify any risk in medicine is by a greater likely benefit.”
On the other hand, Kitfield said NutriDrip doesn’t make grand promises about its treatments—but the company and customers clearly believe in its benefits.
“When you look at our business, where 50% to 60% of our revenue comes from regulars, and that’s why we continue to grow, the proof is kind of in the pudding,”Kitfield said.
According to the Global Wellness Institute—a nonprofit that tracks the $4.5 trillion industry—while IV therapy and alternative medicine is a small portion of the overall spending, it’s among the fastest-growing sectors.
Research contact: @CNBC
January 14, 2020
You can customize your car, your pizza, your sneakers, and now, your pillow. If you get “all bent out of shape” when you lay your head down for a night’s sleep, this might just be the product for you.
While adjustable pillows may not generate the buzz weighted blankets did a couple of years ago, manufacturers are banking on their popularity. “Some 50% of the pillow models released in the last six months have some sort of customizable feature,” Bill Tuck, co-founder of Tuck.com, a sleep resource website, told The Washington Post recently.
While mattresses usually get the blame when you don’t sleep well or when you wake up with a sore back, a pillow is as (or more) important, Philip Schneider, an orthopedic spine surgeon practicing in Chevy Chase, Maryland, told the news outlet. “Without a comfortable, appropriate pillow, you’re likely not to have a good night’s sleep.”
Those sentiments are echoed by Gil Kentof, a chiropractor in Franklin, Tennessee, who specializes in neck and shoulder pain, the Post says. “The problem is not your head, but your neck, and finding something to fill the gap between your head and shoulders so your head and spine are aligned.” He and Schneider agree that side sleepers are the most likely to benefit from a customizable pillow.
Adjustable pillows typically fall into two types: fill or insert. Those sold by Layla, Coop Home Goods, and Snuggle-Pedic are stuffed with small chunks of shredded memory foam and microfibers. Unzip the cover, remove the fill to suit and store the excess in a zip-lock bag.
Either style allows you to increase or decrease the loft (thickness) and/or firmness. Expect to pay between $50 and $125, or about the same as a premium down or memory foam pillow.
A stiff, sore neck sent Julie Ward hunting for a new pillow, the Post recounts. The Nashville-based public relations consultant was convinced that she could find the perfect one at a bargain price from a big-box retailer. Complicating matters: She wanted king-size pillows, which are not only larger, but also thicker.
“I scrutinized all the regular pillows, bought the one that seemed best and brought it home. What seemed perfect in the store would be too thick when I went to bed,” she recalls. “I would return to the store, find another promising pillow, lay it on a flat surface, awkwardly rest my head against it and leave full of optimism.” None worked. After three shopping trips, Ward had nothing to show for her efforts except three new pillows for overnight guests.
At that point, she told the newspaper, she turned to online retailers for customizable options and found a Snuggle-Pedic adjustable model. Ward unzipped the cover and removed some of the stuffing, repeating the process several times until it was her preferred height. “You can’t go wrong with a pillow that is totally adjustable. It’s a foolproof option,” she says.
Take your sleep position into account. According to Schneider, side sleepers need a fuller pillow to prevent the neck from tilting. Stomach sleepers need a thinner pillow, so the head doesn’t hyperextend backward. Back sleepers should opt for a thin to midsize pillow so as not to flex the head forward. Consider body size as well. Those with really big shoulders or chests may have to adjust accordingly to find a pillow that supports the nape of the neck and keeps the head aligned with the body.
Be prepared for a trial run. Multiple factors affect sleep, including temperature, noise, light, what you ate for dinner, and even the day’s news. If you are restless that first night, give your pillow a chance. You may have to play with it a bit. Expect a break-in period of a week or so as your body adjusts.
Ensure it is washable. While it’s important to wash your pillowcase on a regular basis, if you are investing in an adjustable pillow, which is likely to last several years, experts advise that you get one that is machine washable or at minimum has a removable cover that you can wash.
Research contact: @washingtonpost
January 13, 2020
Need a little more help around the house? Bedford, Massachusetts-based IRobot, maker of the disc-shaped Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, hopes to have a product on the market within five years that will have arms to load dishes, pick up clothes, or bring food from kitchen to table, The Boston Globe reports.
Indeed, prototypes of the arms have been produced in the told the Globe in an interview on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. IRobot’s main new hardware launch for 2020 will be its Terra lawnmower.
At the time, the company didn’t know how to adapt the technology for mainstream use, Angle said, but new advancements in computer vision and the ability for robots to map out a person’s home make such devices possible.
Other technology companies also are working on home robots, including Amazon and Samsung Electronics, according to the Globe—but so far they are focusing on devices with video conferencing and voice assistants, rather than the ability to actually perform physical tasks.
The trade war between the U.S. and China could put a damper on iRobot’s ambitions in the near term. Angle said it’s had a “negative impact” on business. “We are having to scale back R&D and profitability” targets, he said. The company started shipping its lower-cost Roomba vacuum cleaner robots out of Malaysia, instead of China, in November, he said.
Research contact: @iRobot
January 9, 2020
France’s fashion sense is timeless, simple, and elegant—but it is not entirely unobtainable. In fact, L’Oréal—the Paris-based beauty group— is betting big on its next product to help women everywhere transform themselves in a style that is uniquely and solely their own.
It’s a tiny device that’s only 6.5 inches tall and weighs just over one pound, but will enable makeup mavens to create personalized cosmetics at home, Fortune Magazine reports.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, the French cosmetics and personal products giant will debut a new hardware device called Perso, which whips up compressed beauty formulas from physical cartridges to create on-the-spot skincare, lipstick, and foundations.
For skincare, Perso’s app will take into account the local air quality, temperature, humidity, and other factors that fluctuate and affect the skin. It then creates a recipe that even adjusts depending on if you are applying the skincare formula in the morning or the evening.
Perso’s hardware features a proprietary motor system located at the top of the device, which moves and compresses the formula from the cartridges at the base of the machine in an upward motion to the dispensing tray above for a clean application.
The lipstick option is more focused on playful trends. Perso has a base of three different colors: light pink, red, and purple, and to create a shade, users can take a picture of themselves and the app will then recommend a shade based on hair color, clothing and skin tone. Users can also create shades based on what’s trending on social media at the time.
Perso is essentially all about tech-enabled personalization, a trend making waves in a variety of consumer product categories, including apparel, food and beverage, and footwear.
“Everyone understand the value of personalization and no one owns that more than beauty because it is in their foundation,” Genevieve Aronson, VP of Communications at Nielsen told Fortune Magazine.
Embracing personalization is a way for beauty makers like L’Oréal to boost the industry’s sales. In-store beauty sales total approximately $37 billion in the U.S. market, but annual growth is reported at just 1% over the past two years, according to Nielsen. And yet personalized products are 1.7 times more likely to drive sales, says Aronson. So placing a greater emphasis on personalization can potentially help jolt beauty sales.
“The only way to achieve beauty for all is through technology,” says Balooch. “You can go to a [makeup] counter and find 40 to 50 shades of foundation. But the reality is, there are far more people with different shades than those options.”
In fact, testing for Perso hit a bit of a snag during the development process when Balooch and his team realized that the application wasn’t quite nailing skincare recommendations for individuals with darker skin tones. “It was a lot harder than we had anticipated,” Balooch says, adding that for foundation, 50% of women say they can’t find the exact shade they’d like at the store.
So L’Oréal spent an additional six months testing the product with 400 women, varying from very light to very dark skin. “We realized we had to measure peoples’ skintones, put the product on skin, and then achieve the match,” says Balooch.
Still, some key details need to be ironed out for Perso. Balooch says L’Oréal hasn’t yet solidified distribution for the Perso system and no-pricing structure has been set for the device or the cartridges that would need to be re-ordered over time. The goal is to launch the technology in 2021.
Research contact: @FortuneMagazine
January 8, 2020
If “drink more water” is among your list of goals for 2020, this could be the year you actually keep a resolution, thanks to a new-fangled water bottle from Uncommon Goods.
According to a report by House Beautiful, the bottle—which is made of sturdy glass with a stainless steel cap—has cute markings and motivational phrases that will keep you on a strict drinking schedule throughout the day.
If you follow the bottle’s schedule, you’ll finish two full bottles between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At that rate—since the bottle holds 16 fluid ounces—you’ll get at least 32 ounces of water in per day.
There’s even a little water faucet graphic at the bottom to remind you when it’s time to refill, and the font is particularly catchy. It almost looks like handwriting, so it’s like a little affirmation to yourself.
And if this bottle sounds like your new favorite gizmo, there’s more good news: it’s under $20! That’s right, for just $19.99 you can be the best, most hydrated version of yourself in 2020. Let’s all drink to that.
Research contact: @HouseBeautiful
January 7, 2020
At the Consumer Electronics Show—the humongous trade show hosted annually by the Consumer Technology Association in Las Vegas— there’s something new to wrap your head around this year (or should we say, to wrap around your head?)
In years past, the show has seen everything from walking cars to smart diapers. And this year is no exception to the glorious strangeness, Fortune Magazine reports.
Pretty much everyone wears a baseball cap for protection from the sun and heat at one point or another—even when they are not at the ballpark. Now, entrepreneur Steve Feher is taking things to the next level—showcasing a cap that has air conditioning built in.
This is not his first “cool” device, either. Feher—who founded Feher Research in 1993 in Honolulu—has previously produced a personally air-cooled mattress pad, seat, pillowcase, and steering wheel,
The cap that he brought to CES this year foregoes refrigerants and instead uses thermoelectric technology to produce cooler air that, in turn, lowers the temperature of the scalp—as much as 22 degrees below the ambient temperature, he told Chris Morris of Fortune during an interview on the show floor.
The cap is a prototype, and Feher is looking for licensees at the show. It’s not exactly a fashion-forward item, as the cap needs to hook up to a battery system (which, Feher notes, weighs less than a “high quality pair of running shoes”).
The hat prototype itself weighs 305 grams, a bit more than a mini-can of soda. (The production model is expected to weigh a bit less.) Throw in the battery pack and you’re looking at more than 800 grams (just shy of 2 pounds.)
The cap is not in production yet, but with global warming affecting weather worldwide, it may be worth both the “wait” and the “weight.”
Research contact: @FortuneMagazine