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October 29th, 2019

🐝 Insect Edibles – Blue-Collar Tech – Powder Sunscreen 🌞

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Why blue-collar industries could use their own version of Codeacademy, and how a cannabis luggage company made millions.

Happy #TrendsTuesday! Are you a Shoe Dog fan? It seems many Trendsters dig Phil Knight’s biography. Check out Sarah Charrouf’s post about books and find a biography to inspire your next business––or share your favorite read! Also: we’re hosting our first Trends conference call later this week. Adam Ryan, The Hustle’s president, will be discussing how to grow a sales team. More info here

New this week: The blue-collar job shortage means a surplus of opportunities… An insider’s look at insect edibles…The step-by-step guide for how Revelry Supply made millions in the cannabis lifestyle space…Why you should bet on AR… The importance of knowing your cap table… And more! 

Ready to hustle?

01  Signals
Quick snapshots from across the internet of potential trends before they happen.

Kava bar near me
You’ve heard of CBD, but have you heard of the equally legal kava? Unlike popular plant species kratom (which has also gained popularity), kava isn’t addictive and is considered relatively safe. The Western-Pacific plant—also referred to as the intoxicating pepper—can have similar social-inducing effects as alcohol, without the heavy hangover. Others are using the plant to reduce anxiety, relax muscle tension, or improve sleep.

What’s next: In an age when non-alcoholic beer is gaining attention, so are kava bars. There are currently around 100 kava bars dispersed around the US––yet, despite 12.1k searches for “kava drink” each month, there are entire states without a kava presence. Kava is often consumed through beverages, either through powder form or steeping, but there’s a world of kava products that are waiting to be created.

Powder Sunscreen
Sun protection has finally become trendy, but people still aren’t sold on oily lotions. Instead, interest has turned toward powder sunscreen. Powder sunscreen companies say their products are “skin-friendly”––as they’re designed to sit on top of your skin instead of penetrating your pores.

What’s next: Powder sunscreen isn’t exactly a chemical revolution. In fact, the active ingredients in sunscreen, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, start as a white powder before they are dispersed into liquid sunscreen. Look out for other novel skin-protection products that rethink the use of these chemicals, ranging from scalp spray to sunscreen sticks.

Search interest for this pattern, which consists of speckles against a solid background, has been on a steady incline since last year.

Next steps: Terrazzo was traditionally a type of flooring. It is now being used on various household goods, rugs, clothing, blankets, and just about anything. Like makeup.

See the archive of our Signals here and browse through dozens more Signals based on Inc.’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies here.


02  Trends Recommends  


  • How founders can pay better attention to their cap table (TechCrunch): Close knowledge of the cap table can inform hiring decisions and growth strategies.


  • Get a head start on repping college athletes (Facebook): California NCAA athletes––and likely many others––will soon be able to make money from endorsements. Trendster Scott Duncan recommended setting up a platform that connects athletes to companies. He explained his idea in detail in our group.

🖋️ Take note:

  • Make a bet on AR (Bloomberg): 2020 is expected to be a big year for the augmented reality market, based on interest in Apple’s Smart Glasses. [We flagged this months ago. Read our full AR report here.]


03  ‍♀️ How to capitalize on the blue-collar market

Blue-collar work isn’t dying. There just aren’t enough people for the available jobs. Deloitte estimates ~2.5m jobs will go unfilled in this sector by 2028.

This shortage means there’s a surplus of opportunity. Companies like Fieldwire and Beekeeper, which both supply management platforms for blue-collar-related industries, have each received $40m in funding.    

Here’s how entrepreneurs can capitalize:

  • Using technology to make blue-collar jobs more appealing and easier, and creating better communication between clients and blue-collar vendors.

  • Creating a modern online training platform for various trades, similar to Codecademy or Treehouse for coding. 

  • Marketing a trades-related boot camp geared toward a younger audience.

Read the full report


04  Insect Edibles

Would you eat a cricket? Billions of people around the world already consume bugs, with some sources citing up to 80% of the population.

Because of their high protein content and low environmental impact, the taboo behind these crawly creatures is fading. The edible insect market is expected to grow at a ~25% CAGR in the coming years.

Innovators continue to focus on improving the supply chain and expanding the market through education, concentrating on the environmentally and health-conscious populations.

There are numerous opportunities:

  • Education and marketing: Highlight the health and environmental benefits of insects and fit them into popular trends like paleo and keto. 

  • New product lines: Companies that create new arenas for bug grub will find an unsaturated market. 

  • Entertainment: Ever heard of Wine and Bug Tastings? They exist.

Don’t miss our full report.


05  Get creative with AirPods

AirPods and similar models are more than wireless headphones. They may end up being a transformative technology. 

Unlike regular headphones, people wear AirPods all the time. They give people the simple access to audio applications that we’ve had for years with screens.

Jordan Cooper, general partner at Pace Capital, has written that AirPods could be the next big platform and provide a “new presence paradigm” allowing for social exposure to conversation and music in new ways, as well as augmented reality.

Companies like TTYL have already made moves. 

  • TTYL is an “audio social network” media app that lets users connect with AirPods and see which other friends are connected. Users can connect with up to 7 friends at a time.

Other startups are using wireless earbuds to work on hearing improvement and language translators. 


06   Step-by-Step: How Revelry Supply made millions off cannabis luggage 

Our first how-to guide on building a business was wildly popular. So we’re back with another installment.

Revelry Supply, which launched in late 2015, makes odor-absorbing luggage targeted at cannabis users. The company is on track to make ~$2m in revenue this year.

We break down:

  • How Revelry Supply differentiated from previous cannabis lifestyle companies.  

  • Why it chose brick and mortar and how it marketed early to get into retail stores. 

  • How Revelry Supply spent early money to discover the least expensive and most efficient way to build its products. 

Read the full report


This week’s Trends send was brought to you by Mark Dent, Steph Smith, and Brad Wolverton. We’d love to hear from you.

Mark Dent
Mark Dent
Steph Smith
Steph Smith
Brad Wolverton
Brad Wolverton
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