Gaia Group USA Introduces Gaia Innovation and Research Lab (GIRL), the First-Ever Woman-Focused Innovation Lab in Dinnerware Industry
The GAIA Innovation and Research Lab (GIRL) will be focused on developing innovative solutions for every aspect of the dinnerware industry, from product design, development and manufacturing to distribution and marketing.
“In every aspect of the innovation lab, we will approach it through the lens of the woman consumer and her needs and desires”, said Marie McGrath Brown, President and General Manager for Gaia Group USA.
GIRL has two co-headquartered lab locations, one directed by Gaia founder Eloise Huang in Shanghai and the other directed by leading industrial designer David Law in San Francisco. Eloise Huang is formally CEO of Bantum Inc., an integrated product development firm co-located in Silicon Valley and Shanghai. Under her direction, Bantum grew to become the leading product development consulting firm in the U.S. and China markets. David Law is co-founder of Speck Design, a highly-successful Silicon Valley maker of protective cases for portable electronic devices that was sold to Samsonite in 2014 for $85M. Law brings a unique and seasoned perspective on developing low-cost accessible goods for mass markets.
“In an economy where women drive 70-80% of consumer purchasing, Eloise Huang through Gaia Group USA will be tapping directly into this demographic to gain valuable input, direction and guidance in regards to product design and development”, said Marie McGrath Brown, President and General Manager for Gaia Group USA. “To further expand our reach into the addressable marketplace we purposefully chose David because he was not from the housewares industry, but from a sector that focuses on the modern consumer.” Guiding Huang and Law in design strategies will be Jaime Mesner, Gaia Group Director of Trend and Product Development.
GIRL will be guided by four principles:
- Ideation – Creating out-of-the-box solutions that resonate most fully with today’s women consumers and their family needs and concerns
- Innovation – Researching the use of groundbreaking new technologies and materials to provide better products and services more efficiently and effectively
- Augmented Reality
- 3-D Printing
- Integration – Continual exploration of how dinnerware and associated products can best integrate with how today’s consumers really live
- Internationalization – Leveraging cross-cultural experiences to improve the lives of our consumers and to women and their families around the world
First GIRL Effort: Dinnovation™ Student Design Competition
One of the first GIRL efforts is Dinnovation™, a student design competition which honors students designing for accessibility, sustainability, innovative use of materials, lifestyle enhancement, or functionality. The 2018 first-place winner is Dylan Fealtman from Georgia Institute of Technology, who used 3D printing to create BLD Dinnerware, a sophisticated stand on dinnerware for the visually impaired (shown in the featured image). The second-place winner is Shahd Zubier from Rochester Institute of Technology, who designed the Arc Plate using silicone, to enhance control and stability for self-feeding toddlers. The winning designs can be seen at the Gaia Group USA Booth 354-South Hall at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.
“By empowering a new generation of designers working with new materials and emerging technologies, we can respond to the needs of consumers in ways we can’t even yet imagine,” said Mesner.