We're always looking to the next and when it comes to wellness trends, we have identified some that you'll be hearing a lot more about in the next few months. In 2018, we'll focus on Digital Wellness, Transparency, Smart Sleep, Biohacking, Interior Therapy and Detox Beauty. In this month's issue we're taking a look at Smart Sleep via Eight Sleep which focuses on technologies that optimize sleep and Transparency with Agent Inc's app providing awareness in the fashion industry.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What is Eight Sleep and when did it launch?
EIGHT SLEEP: Eight is a sleep technology company improving the way we sleep. It’s signature product, the Mars+ Smart Mattress, is an exceptionally comfortable mattress with a technology
layer that tracks sleep patterns and bedroom environment data. The Eight app provides feedback to users on each night of sleep, and allows for effortless integration with other smart products to regulate bed temperature, lights, door locks and more, in real time. Eight was founded in 2014 and is based in New York. It has raised over $13M in funding by leading Silicon Valley investors including Y Combinator, Stanford University, Yunqui Partners, Azure Capital, Cota Capital and Comcast Ventures.
AM: Eight Sleep's Smart Mattress pairs with other devices in your home like Alexa, are there other devices such as Google Home etc that you can also connect it with?
ES: Yes, Eight works with any WiFi device via IFTTT, this includes Google Home, Nest, and other smart home products.
AM: Eight Sleep's Smart Mattress provides data that is similar to what you get in trackers that we wear in terms of heart rate, your sleep cycle etc. Is there additional information that it provides that is more in-depth than what these devices currently share?
ES: The benefit of the Eight Smart Mattress is that it seamlessly tracks sleep patterns without having to wear anything or remember to charge something. All you have to do is lie down. The
Eight Smart Mattress also comes with many features unavailable to wearables like bed warming and a smart alarm that wakes you up at your lightest stage of sleep.
AM: You offer 3 mattresses in the Smart Collection. What is available in all of these models and then how does each one differ?
ES: The 3 models differ in pricing and materials.
Saturn+: As the most affordable smart mattress on the market to date, the Saturn+ has three layers of high-quality foam for ultimate comfort, ensuring users their best night’s sleep and a daily morning report via Eight’s advanced sleep technology to prove it.
Starting at $699 for a Full mattress
Jupiter+: Made of four layers of dynamic reactive foams, the Jupiter+ is a perfect medium firm. It contours and cradles the body in all right ways making for a dreamlike sleep experience.
Starting at $849 for a Full Mattress
Mars+: The perfect mix of innerspring coils and an industry leading four layers of soft foam that are combined to keep you cool all night long. The Mars+ mattress hugs the body while providing excellent support, bounce and unparalleled breathability.
Starting at $1,299 for a Full mattress
AM: If someone likes the current mattress that they have, can they purchase the Sleep Tracker as an accessory to add it to their current sleep system?
ES: Yes - you can purchase the Eight Sleep Tracker separately. It fits over any mattress like a fitted sheet.
AM: How does the mattress regulate heat and is it able to do it for the whole bed or can it split temperatures for both individuals?
ES: The Eight Smart Mattress offers dual zone controls allowing you and your partner to select different warming levels for each side of the bed.
AM: How important is the temperature to getting optimal sleep?
ES: Very important. Your bedroom should be kept at 68 degrees for optimal sleep, but your bed should be warm enough to help you relax. Eight takes care of this by offering bed warming as well as an integration with Nest so you can automate bedroom temperature the minute you climb into bed.
AM: Are there additional functions that you are looking for this collection to provide that we should keep an eye out for?
ES: Our team is always working to advance the product, so stay tuned for more features!
AM: As a technology forward company, why did you select tackling issues that involve sleep and how important is this technology to giving its users a better rest?
ES: Think about it, there hasn’t been a major innovation in sleep since memory foam was invented over 50 years ago! We still sleep the same - lying on a piece of foam. Technology has enhanced nearly every aspect in our lives, so why not use it to improve sleept? At Eight, we believe technology can measure, understand, and optimize the way we sleep for the ultimate goal of a healthy and happier life. Our products are designed to promote health, energy, productivity, and happiness for everyone.
TRANSPARENCY + EMPOWERMENT
The fashion industry, like the film industry has been one that is filled with excitement and dedication to break into the industry and to hone one's skills. But there are a lot of facets of these industries that have existed for decades that are finally being talked about in the mainstream as we continue to see those who have fallen victim to #MeToo there is a renewed and ongoing effort to provide transparency so that talent and firms can work together in a
synergistic environment. We sat down with Agent Inc. to see how they are contributing to these issues in an era that is truly beginning to understand the importance and balance of
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about Agent Inc., when it started, why you wanted to create it and who is able to use it?
MARK WILLINGHAM: Agent is a technology-driven platform which is the result of our focus to completely re-imagine the modeling industry.
The modeling industry, at its core, has pretty much remained the same for the past 70 years with modeling agencies representing models, often on an exclusive basis, and connecting them with companies that want to book models. The traditional modeling agencies take a commission of up to 20% from both the model and the company. And, the process of booking a model can be quite time consuming as the companies need to search through an agency’s
book of models, either online or in print, identify which models are of interest to them and then communicate this to the agency – via phone or email - who then need to determine the model’s availability for the proposed job. Depending on the complexity of the job and a variety of other factors, this process can take from a few hours to a week or more. Then, there are issues of safety (does the person hiring the model have a criminal/sex offender background?),
payment (will it take weeks or even months for the model to be paid?), lack of transparency (how much is the modeling agency actually getting paid by the client) and career control
(exclusivity agreements between models and agencies tie the model's hands, preventing them controlling their own destiny).
Now, with the Agent platform, things are much different. Agent offers companies more diversity and overall options than a traditional modeling agency. Agent provides real value to both sides of the marketplace, empowering companies to efficiently find and book highly-vetted models in minutes by utilizing powerful, granular search filers. The Agent platform is free to use and a small fee of 5% is only charged to companies once they have completed the
job and electronically paid the model. Further, for companies which book models, Agent provides a guarantee of 100% satisfaction and offers 24/7 customer support.
For models, the Agent platform is focused on empowering them and providing the tools and guidance to control and grow their careers. We have created a much safer work environment
for models by running a criminal/sex offender background check on every person who wants to use the platform to book them. In addition, the models set their own rates on the platform and they are electronically paid immediately (direct deposit in to their bank accounts) when the job is completed. Further, Agent is non-exclusive, free for models to apply and be listed and only charges a 10% booking fee when they are paid for a job (as opposed to the 20% fee charged by traditional agencies).
In addition, the Agent provides for total transparency, giving both the power to rate each other at the completion of each job.
The company was actually formed in December 2015 (Wow! 2 years ago already!). My two business partners, Dustin Diaz and Ashley St. Clair, originally conceptualized Agent when
Dustin was named photographer of the year on Flickr and was awarded a book deal on photography and lighting. He was trying to hire 20 models to shoot for the book and, not knowing where to find them, he ultimately ended up reaching out to models on Instagram
and Model Mayhem. Well, his experience was less-than-desirable with more than half of the booked models not showing up for the job and, of those that did, there was a range of issues
from not being experienced and not looking like their online photos to not being able to accept payment by credit card. He ended up having to go to the bank to get cash and one model
even asked if she could give him marijuana as change for a $100 bill!
All of this got Dustin thinking that if he had such a bad experience trying to book models for one job there must be a much bigger overall problem in the industry. It turns out he was right.
Our goal at Agent is not to replace traditional agencies but to re-imagine the entire industry where all the players – models, companies that hire models and traditional modeling agencies
themselves – benefit from the efficiencies and safeguards which are core to the agent platform.
We currently offer our service in 4 cities: New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami with plans to expand to other major US cities during 2018 and then across the entire country and then into Europe and Asia.
The initial focus is on models and companies (brands, marketing agencies, photographers, etc.) that book models for a broad range of needs including photo shoots (fashion, commercial,
online), trade shows, runway shows, events, promotions, etc.
AM: Although the Agent platform is meant for models, are others who are in the industry (photographers, stylists, makeup artists etc.) able to use this as well?
MW: While the talent side of the Agent platform is currently focused models, during 2018 we will also open it up to photographers, stylists and makeup artists. That being said, we have
thousands of photographers already signed up on the platform as clients so that they can hire models. It is super exciting how responsive photographers have been to our service.
AM: Although the Agent platform allows you to book talent, how is it beneficial in keeping models and other hired talents safe or aware of the people that they are working with?
MW: With the Agent platform we have created a much safer work environment for models by running a verification and criminal/sex offender background check on every person who wants to use the platform to book them. In addition, with our rating system, where the models rate the clients after every job, models can make informed decisions regarding the clients with whom they want to work. We also have many other safeguards in place including educational tools for models which lets them know that they are empowered to say, "no" and can leave a job at any time if the situation is uncomfortable. We are also implementing a “safety” button in
the platform which, in the event of an emergency, allows models to get immediate help without requiring them to make a physical phone call.
Also, by requiring that all clients provide the information necessary for us to run identity verification and background checks they know that the Agent platform is certainly not a place
for them to attempt anything shady. There are many places for predators to go such as Instagram, Model Mayhem, etc. where nobody is sure who they are or what illegal or unsavory
deeds they may have committed in the past . . . Agent certainly would not be a first choice for these characters as we know too much about them.
AM: What top models are currently using this platform?
MW: We already have more than 10K models registered on the Agent platform. And, while we do not break them down based on their annual bookings outside of the platform, I can confidently say that we have as many high-end models as any top modeling agency in the U.S. In addition, we are about diversity not just the stereotypical model-look.
AM: This is available on IOS but will this be available on Android?
MW: The Agent platform started with an iOS app but our goal is for accessibility from any device. In January we will be launching our new web interface which will provide the same functionality as the iOS app. We will soon follow that up with an Android app. Simplicity of access and use is core to our focus.
AM: Can anyone set up an account and if so, what is the application process like?
MW: Anyone can apply to be a model listed on Agent and any business can apply to book models. It is free for both models and clients.
For models the process is super simple and only takes a few minutes. Simply download the free app from the App Store, fill out some basic information including a short bio, measurements,
areas of focus (i.e., runway, commercial, promotional, events, etc.), and upload up to 10 photos. Then, tap on the “submit” button. The review process for model applications takes approximately 2 business days and then the model will be notified of the committee’s decision.
For clients the process is equally simple. Creating a base client account takes less than a minute. Once signed in a client can search for models using the granular search filters. However, in order to book a model, a client must first provide additional information so that we can verify their identity and run a background check. This process too is super-fast and allows clients to quickly begin booking models once they are approved.
AM: How important is transparency to all parties especially in the current #MeToo, #NotMe and #SheKnew climate that we're involved in?
MW: Transparency, at all levels, is fundamental to what we are doing at Agent. We want models to know that by booking jobs on Agent we are providing a much safer environment for them. This peace of mind is not only good for their personal security and well-being, but it also allows them to maintain a positive outlook and focus on their modeling careers which results in better models. On the other hand, clients, by booking models through Agent, are taking a stand in support of the models and making a statement that they will not turn a blind eye nor tolerate inappropriate behavior towards models. With 90% of models (some say this number is higher!) having experienced some form of sexual abuse or coercion while on a job it is time for total transparency to be the norm and it is our goal at Agent to be a catalyst in this movement.
AM: How are you spreading the word about this app and with the upcoming Fashion Month taking place next year, what are your plans to have brands/agencies adopt this as a part of their booking plans?
MW: Even though we have thousands of models and clients already registered on Agent, we are actually still in a live beta (with clients continuously booking models)! We will formally be
launching the Agent platform, including the new web interface, in early January 2018 and then begin our marketing outreach to anyone who books models including brands, marketing agencies, photographers, etc.
We have already been receiving fantastic media coverage (Forbes, Marie Claire, FastCompany, Bloomberg, etc.) and expect this coverage to continue at an increasing rate as we formally
launch the Agent platform. Additionally, we will be executing on a traditional and online sales and marketing strategy to introduce both models and clients to Agent. And, lastly, word-of mouth has been super important for us and we anticipate that this, along with social media, will continue to play a major role in spreading the word about Agent and what we are doing to
improve the modeling industry.