We never stop creating, iterating and exploring. For every yes, there are a thousand nos. We develop everything we sell in-house – from concept, sourcing, ingredients, and production.
The Lab doors are open – we’d love to show you some of the things we’ve nearly made, are working on or need a little bit of help to bring to the future.
Shower Gel Seaweed Sacks.
These were our first stabs at what would ultimately become our famous pill concept shower gel. We created a sack from seaweed that could house our regular shower gel, sized appropriately for a single-use application. We then worked with a food packaging supplier to create a compostable box that could house the multiple sacks in.
We loved iterating with these but feel they would more appropriate for a food-based application.
We posted about this on Instagram on 4 September 2019.
When we moved into our old Casino in Margate, we planned to open a restaurant called Ovule in the previous restaurant space on the premises. We recruited a team of brilliant chefs and nutritionists to help us create edible versions of our skincare products. The idea was simple – you could come into our home, and rather than apply your moisturiser, you could eat it instead.
The execution was much harder, and with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we decided to shelve the project in February 2022.
That’s not to say what was created wasn’t exceptional. In fact, this planted a very big seed in our mind, one which you’ll finally see play out next month with regard to the symbiotic relationship between skincare and nutrition.
Seaweed wraps to replace plastic.
It’s not so much a failure but more of a concept at this stage. Through a cellular extraction of seaweed, we’ve created a compostable wrap that is 100% natural and compostable in all environments. This wrap can be used for a variety of things and formed the basis of our edible cups and our eye masks.
The problem? Trying to scale this from an old casino is near impossible with our resources. We believe this to be the future of sustainable packaging, but it requires more time and investment to make it a viable business operation.
Mind controlling Ocean treatment.
This was a fun one. During the lockdown, we felt meditation played a major role in our handling of the pandemic. We wanted to bring this more fully into Haeckels House, so we got to work on creating a meditative treatment where you could calm a choppy ocean by calming your mind and could create waves by thinking angrily.
It worked! But as with some of our craziest ideas, we struggled to explain them and commercialise them – we also didn’t have the space to house a large screen that wasn’t a corridor or a walkway.
We posted about this on Instagram on 21 June 2020.
3D face scan for face masks.
Another one of our technological developments; we created an app that could scan your face in 3D to create a virtual and visible face. From here, we could analyse your face and create a bespoke face mask (made of our algae biomaterial) that would be infused in the correct areas with actives to help treat skin concerns.
Our team would scan the faces and then create the custom mask by laser cutting our biomem sheet and infusing it with the correct ingredients.
It didn’t so much as fail as didn’t take off – as with most of our ideas, creating these to be customer-facing requires a huge investment. We’re working on bringing out a ‘lite’ version of this which is less labour-intensive.
The Folkestone store.
For our third store and spa, we were going to open on the Folkestone Harbour wall in South East England. By fusing together four shipping containers, we were going to create a Haeckels Spa with a functioning sauna and wood-burning hot tub.
Both of our Haeckels Houses are near enough impossible to get in because they’re so busy, so we wanted to take the House concept and expand it with more treatment rooms and outside space.
Unfortunately, greedy developers ruined this one asking for nearly 30% of every sale without any wiggle room.
We posted about this on the 18th of October 2020.
A central London store.
We are victims of opportunity, and always have been. As a business, we throw ourselves at any opportunity given to us. We operate very differently from other beauty businesses, whereby we expand organically through innovation rather than marketing – marketing accounted for less than 1% of total revenues in January 2023.
Both of our existing stores are too small, and we know that. So we cast our eye to a larger store in Central London where we would have ‘Haeckels World’/
Internally, we referred to this store as Haeckels Couture – the idea being we would grow and make Haeckels Lab products on-site that could be uniquely tailored to different skin concerns. We would have a Haeckels Nutrition bar serving our vegan collagen broth, kvasses and kombucha whilst offering the fullest range of products we’ve ever done.
Unfortunately, this one was our fault. We didn’t make enough products in Q4 last year due to packaging problems, so we missed our operational sales plan. We simply didn’t have the cash to spend on a new store.
Spurned moreso than ideated, we wanted to create a t-shirt made from seaweed and made in Margate. The idea was to create a blended biomaterial in-house using a new type of algae.
We came very close – had lots of samples. In fact, we had a call with some customers where we not-so-obviously let slip that we were wearing our own t-shirts.
Like everything we do, this was an opportunity cost – we needed to take our staff off our core production for weeks and months, so it was deemed unviable (not to say we still aren’t very very interested in making one).
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