for1314 looks to create a sustainable future
Fast forward to June 2020. The world sits on an entirely different axis as travel bans and border closures have brought travelling to a complete halt. Airports once buzzing with movement as global gateways now sit eerily empty, waiting to fill vacant queues manned by temperature gun-wielding employees.
“When this all started, everyone was trying to put some bandages on their wounds and trying scramble all over the place and nobody was really focused,” explains Christoph Henkel, the founder of Miami-based wholesale distributor InnoTRI Limited. “Nobody had the attention to detail and we really had to look and say hey what do we need to do to get out of this?
Henkel makes up one third of for1314| a1dil | c3hristoph | d4enz, a uniquely named association dedicated to create sustainable solutions to move forward. The team is composed of Adil Raïhani, Chief Enabling Officer at Adil Raïhani Consulting, and Denz van der List, TR6 Owner; each member brings a unique skill set to the trinity.
Van der List explains it was important for the team to not focus only on putting out the immediate fires — focusing instead on building something new out of the current global crisis. He was first approached by Henkel inquiring about accessing face masks, with the thought of providing a solution.
Says van der List: “We all work in the same industry and have met multiple times, so we mapped out our network. We came together and said lets have conversation very openly and asked what do we think of the situation? Adil is somebody that is very well known for his extravagant outside-of-the-box thinking. And that’s what we needed at this point.”
The whole program for1314 has created is focused on primarily giving people and organizations the tools to move forward and get back to their daily routine. The association wants to enable the groups behind retailers.Helping airports, logistics companies, luggage handling companies, and facility management companies run smoothly will help retail and will also help with consumer comfort and confidence.
The group predicts there will be a major shift to more sustainable solutions in the near future from e.g. the current state of disposable masks and gloves littering the ground. Also technology will play a much larger role moving forward.
“People have not really given the next step a thought,” says Henkel. “The next step is that people will highlight this, social media will highlight this. We think that this is not what we want to participate in. So we plan to move quickly away from disposable masks. The rest of the portfolio that we are offering, we are focusing on a sustainable solution on every single category that we have. Washable face masks are a key in our program too of course and should replace a disposable one.”
In addition to highlighting sustainability, the group is looking for the highest quality and the highest product standard available. The washable face masks are produced in Vietnam, but quality controlled in Swiss labs. This process involves social working ateliers, to do the final touches on the product in Europe, creating as many jobs as they can along the way.
“At the same time we are slashing margins to a bare minimum. We are not in it to make a profit. We just want to enable all of us to do what we were doing before and move on and maybe change certain points of the mentality of our industry along the way when it comes to how business should be done,” states Henkel.
Van der List also addresses the importance of using a functional mask over a fashionable mask. "What you are seeing is that the category of facial protection has changed. Face masks are designed and manufactured for protection. What you are seeing now on the markets are facial coverings, which can be anything covering the face. There are facial coverings in the design of a face mask as a simple piece of cloth. Although this looks a lot better, 9/10 is not offering any protection. This does not help to flatten and most of all importantly, shorten the curve," he says.
The association is able to offer hand sanitizer from InnoTRI partner UK-based Distell, creating the perfect solution to economical sanitizing stations. The sanitizing stations, which are offered as well by for1314, can be refilled from large containers of bulk sanitization liquid. Comparatively, Purell, an American brand hand sanitizer, sells sanitizing stations for a fraction of the price in the US. This is based on a subscription model that sells refillable cartridges. Not only is this not cost effective, it is also creates more waste.
Another product being highlighted by the group is a unique futuristic robot (Codi Bot UGV – Unmanned ground vehicle) that offers a safe, quick and effective solution to sanitizing areas of high traffic.
Nicknamed “Wall-E” as a term of endearment by van der List, the robot is a compact solution for a colossal concern. Its design allows it to function wherever wheels can go, for example the aisle of an airplane. “The robot is definitely the future. The robot can create a safe situational awareness among travelers. The travelers see what is happening and they see what’s going on. The robot can sanitize, which eliminates human error. It is doing this with UVC lights, so it’s better for the environment, because it just needs a simple charge. And it’s more effective,” explains van der List.
He continues, “The robot is definitely a hot item. We are waiting on the first results after the launch. It’s now deployed in Abu Dhabi International airport and once we have more information, we can release some more content.” Watch this space.
Travel retail and beyond
“The levels of organizations we are looking at reach far beyond travel retail. We love travel retail,” says Henkel. “That is our industry. But we can think of so many other organizations that need this help. Examples are logistic companies, facility management companies, sports venues, nightclubs, restaurant chains and gyms to name a few; basically anybody that has a huge work force or large amount of people in crowded spaces. We want to deliver our product to all of the organizations and eventually travel retail will benefit as well — airports will benefit because people can commute again.”
for1314 is not looking to be an immediate band-aid solution. The association is looking beyond COVID-19 and the tools it can offer to prevent, protect and propel past the inevitable next global challenge.