Journal

June 2020 In Review: Atom Lab Micro Ventures

By July 13, 2020 July 19th, 2020 No Comments

THE GOOD LAB

Presentation


TOFT

June sharpened the TOFT team’s focus on accelerating our launch into market. We had many conversations with furniture industry experts, and formed partnerships with leaders in the industry. For example, we had a socially distanced meeting in person with one of our furniture partners and learned more about what it means to be an expert in the industry. We’re ready to start thinking about how we can dominate the home office space that has been opening up since March. Many companies are realizing that a work from home model can be productive for their employees, and because of this, are searching for ways to support their employees. TOFT’s goal shifted in June to generating leads and becoming a part of Space Age’s Future of Work campaign. We also polished up our online presence, by adding more partners to our website and linking resources like an ergonomics guide, and launching our social media accounts. We have had many positive interactions with people interested in learning more about our innovative and simple way to set up an ergonomic home office. The TOFT team has worked hard to curate hand-picked commercial-grade furniture to form our packages. We know that the work industry is changing, and we can’t wait to be a part of the future of work.

Presentation


Heavenly Street

Heavenly Street’s biggest challenge in June was juggling all of the many components that the team was working on simultaneously. We worked on selecting the best companies to partner with to create our soap kit to send to customers, and perfecting our packaging design. As well, we developed a substantial digital marketing plan to ensure that while we were preparing an amazing product, we also didn’t forget to work on traction. We also learned the many legal requirements for creating and labeling a cosmetic product, so that our product complies with all FDA requirements. As well, bringing creativity into product design and marketing was a huge learning opportunity for the Soap Team. For example, we designed a shot list for a product photo shoot. We also worked on educational pieces for consumers, such as about the Palm Oil industry and why Heavenly Street is proud to use ultra-sustainable Palm Oil in our products instead of boycotting Palm Oil. For business development, the team reached out to brands to collaborate with on our PR packages that we want to send to brand ambassadors. We learned the value in having open conversations and following up on leads. Lastly, as always, we worked hard to make the most sustainable choices we can right now as a new business. We selected a packaging manufacturer and fulfillment company that has eco-friendly goals and matches our interest in having a triple bottom line. Finally, we remembered to keep washing our hands! We’re so excited to start July off, and can’t wait to launch our pre-sales on our natural soap kits.

Presentation


Modern Saint

June has been a great month where tasks and goals went by smoothly. The Modern Saint team accomplished several milestones this month, which has led us to almost completing the creation of our very own supplement service.

Over the month of June, six major milestones were accomplished:

  1. Finalizing the supplements we will include in both box sets – the exclusive booster set and the essentials set
  2. Finalizing the additional add ons to the box sets – Facemask and sanitizer
  3. Developing fulfillment methods
  4. Social Media and Marketing Plan
  5. Product Photoshoot
  6. Modern Saint has progressed a lot within a span of one month. Once the photoshoot will be done we can then advance to the promotion phase.

July Goals

We intend to promote, not only Modern Saint, but the supplements we will be including as well. This is so that we can reach out to as many potential customers as possible and have them trust and commit to our service and products we will be offering.
Majority of customers who take supplements tend to gravitate towards the most advertised products out there in the market, which does not always mean they are the best, highest quality supplements.
We will be offering supplements that may not be as well-known yet, as they are fairly new and local. So our goal is to highlight why and how they are the best around. This will be through all the aforementioned social media platforms and blog posts on out Modern Saint webpage.
Reaching out to big and influential advertisers such as BlogTO and Narcity is one other option we are considering.

For the first few months I will be taking care of the packaging of orders. This will give me control over how personalized and safe the handling of each box set will be. I will be able to ensure nothing gets damaged or mishandled and I can give my own personal touch to each box set.

With all this done successfully, we hope to launch Modern Saint by the next two to three weeks!

Challenges/Learning

The biggest challenge I faced from the start was to get companies to commit to a start up business. Due to a smaller volume or budget many companies, particularly fulfillment companies, were reluctant or far out of reach.
The biggest learning was experienced by team members Roshini and Carolyn, who had to learn how to use WordPress and create the Modern Saint webpage. Even though this was an overwhelming task, they did an amazing job and now have an additional skill under their belt!


Mars Solo

Mars Solo in June focused on integrating all the features that have been implemented and tested in May and started to design and develop the map (overall levels and regions) for the world.

During the design phase, we try to emphasize with our user, what layout is the easiest and also engaging for our user to navigate? What functional regions are the most necessary ones for our users that should be included in our virtual office world? How should they navigate themselves from A to B? Can they get any help with finding the way either by map or landmark buildings? We created level design documents to take care of all our research and designs, and it serves as a reference in our later development.

The prototyping process is challenging as well. The first thing is constant tests and iterations. For example, the scale of each asset may vary, or the scale of character gets too big compared to the environment in the actual test, or the placement of the doors makes the user feel hard to find/get to, these can all be the problems that require constant changes and iterations. The other thing is resourcing and scope control. All the assets used in our prototype are downloaded from the internet. Unavoidably, sometimes it can be hard to find assets that are free and appropriate to be used in the prototype. In order to solve this problem, we have to switch between the design phase and development phase, to constantly make changes or adjustments to our original designs and look for ways which can lead to the result that are both desirable and feasible.

Besides, we also started to implement the basic regional functions (which will be the main focus for July). While we are implementing the item interaction feature (which has been tested in May), we find it very helpful to have a development log or design journal to keep track of the previous implementation. Because it serves a technical diary that reminds the developer of their previous work and makes it easy for them to bring everything up after weeks of working on other parts of the project. That helped me to quickly integrate the item interaction function into the build up world regions.

For the July Milestone, we will be working on the regional functions such as office features, voice chat features, etc. which are our core features for this prototype. A new and exciting challenge is awaiting.

Presentation


Haven Nutrition Inc.

Milestones

For the month of June 2020, our main focus has been product development and our digital presence, we’ve been able to progress on both fronts in a timely manner.

Deliverables

  • First batch of photography done which will allow us to get some content going on social and website
  • First batch of product development and tastings done, which is moving us forward to our final product

Learning’s

There is a ton that goes in to product development, and each ingredient combined creates the unique Haven flavour we love. We discovered that a roasted chocolate gives our entire bar a different flavour over the raw version we’ve been working with up until now. Before continuing, we must make sure that we do more chocolate tastings! The chocolate quest continues.

We also taste tested between different nut companies, different almond butters, and dates! Here are some of our results.

Almond Butter – Tasting Notes

New World (winner)

Yupik (potential secondary supplier)

Appearance: Oil separation, prefer the darker colour, looks more “roasted,” difficult to tell if it will separate however the skin particulate within the butter did not sink to the bottom as it did with Yupik.

Oil separation, difficult to mix in larger quantity (a lot of separation, would require to be mixed each time), skin sunk to the bottom, required a hand blender to mix, seems to be thinner in consistency than new world.

Texture: small 1mm particulate of nuts

Very smooth

Smell: smells roasted

Acceptable, but not very pleasing

Mouth Feel: slightly grainy but coats mouth well , sticky and viscous,

 

Flavor: sweetness, no after taste, nutty, very almond strong

Less sweat, tastes more like almonds

Nuts.com vs. Yupik (Walnuts, Jungle Peanuts)

Nuts.com – Jungle Peanut

Yupik – Jungle Peanut

Appearance differs from Yupik, seem longer, darker in colour, some visual impurities

Taste: peanuty, legume taste, slightly off taste like green peas 

Very vibrant, smells much stronger 

Taste: sweet, nutty, mouthfeel is better, crunchier, creamier, better taste.

Nuts.com – Walnut

Yupik – Walnut

Watermelon fragrance, stronger than Yupik, more broken up, crumbly, decent taste nutty, sweet, coats the pallet nicely.

Stronger flavor of walnut, creamier 

Giddyo Hundo Samples – Raw vs Roasted

Roasted:

Raw:

Very Mellow tasting, roasted taste is very dominant, reminiscent of a regular chocolate bar, “wow, really good” naturally sweet, would want to eat with a hot drink, bitter notes happen at the end , chocolatey taste at the very end. 

Floral, bitter, smooth, creamy, chocolatey taste, flavor develops, like the end notes, tastes like grapefruit peel. 

**winner**

Deglet Noor Dates, Terra Delyssa vs. Nuts.com 

Terra Delyssa

Nuts.com

Drier, smells stronger, more like caramel 

Tastes – sweet, dates, chewy, not sticky, 

More moist looking, very faint sweet smell

Tastes – unpleasant, banana, no good, weird mouth feel.

Here are some of our packaging and product notes:

  • Kept samples refrigerated for the entire time of storage.
  • Overall, held up really well, Biodegradable packaging seems to have a little less moisture within the packaging. Samples weighed approx. 109g meaning our cutting ad sizing issues. Chocolate seems to have held up and very minimal ashing on top, it also seems secure, not sliding off. 
  • Opening the polyurethane package is difficult and requires a knife and/or scissors or sentiments are it is what it is at this stage. 
  • Product feels oily and crumbly. Smell is pleasant, visually – looks good, size is perfect it feels like a meal replacement, chocolate looks good – the thickness is approx. 4-5mm on the chocolate. The base is very thick looking too, needs to be thinned out slightly. Karen wants the chocolate top and nut base to both be a tiny bit thinner, this should help with weight reduction issues discussed earlier.
  • Biodegradable product was easier to open looks better, feels a little less oily that the poly urethane, this packaging is a clear winner for the final product.

Challenges

Our main challenge right now is figuring out how to shape and cut our bars so that our product is consistent for both our customers and us. Consistency is key in regards to the taste and feel of the product for our customers, but it is also important in regards to costing our bar appropriately, and creating efficiencies to be able to scale in the near future. 

Next Up

Get our bar mold and cutter done right, settle on our favorite chocolate, finalize our packaging process and design, produce and sell! Stay tuned!

Karen Alex - the dream product development team

Space Age

Author Space Age

More posts by Space Age

Leave a Reply