Innovations to help you ease into summer

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Chairs on Beach

forward focus logoAlthough we have had a bit of a weather roller coaster and at times it really has not felt like it, the summer season is upon us with the hot days coming soon. As I read about some great companies and the products and services that they offer, the idea of highlighting a few innovative concepts that are summer-related came to me.

There are many great companies out there with some really cool products and services. I like to profile them as well as what makes them different and innovative as often as I’m able. In the past I have written about products such as the Casper bed, SimpliSafe, and the Wakē alarm clock. I have also written about great innovations that will greatly benefit the healthcare field and disease management such as immunotherapy and the medical benefits of 3D printing. New technologies that prevent wrong-way drivers as well as hands-free phone use options have also been highlighted in previous articles. There are so many great things happening and new products being developed because of technology and innovation that it is often hard for me to pick only a few.

This week the focus is on summer-related companies and products so the choice was a little easier.

Every summer the females in my life talk about the difficulty of swimsuit shopping and finding one with “just the right fit.” Being a guy, the process is fairly simple – I just go to the store and pick a pair of shorts and a shirt that fits and buy them. But for women it is not so easy as there are size, fit, and style considerations among other factors that go into a buying decision. Woman also have to deal with physiological realities that men do not, which can affect how clothing fits at any given moment.

Jude Al-Khalil, founder of Bikyni.
Jude Al-Khalil, founder of Bikyni.

Jude Al-Khalil, like most women, experienced the pitfalls of shopping for and wearing ill-fitting swimwear as well as having size charts compare her to fruit shapes so decided that she would do something to make the entire experience better. Al-Khalil created Bikyni, an online brand and retailer of bathing suits. Bikyni’s tagline is, “You don’t need a better body, you need a better Bikyni.” The shopping process is simple; the customer checks the fit guide if they need some guidance or for information about padding, extra support, and adjustable straps. The shopper then chooses from among seven tops, six bottoms, and two one-pieces. (The true selling point of Bikyni is fit rather than style so they don’t hit the customer with a lot of options that may not fit). The swimsuits are made of high-quality Italian fabric, so the customer can expect to get a quality product that fits well. You can check Bikyni out at their website.

Summertime road trips are very common in our family. We especially enjoy spending time at the water, whether it be exploring local oceanfront communities like Newport and Bristol, spending time at Rocky Point, or heading north to Castle Island in Boston or the New Hampshire and Maine coasts, much of our summer is spent by the water. We carry a “summer kit” in the trunk of our car that includes, among other things, a blanket for impromptu trips to the water. One thing that we have found is that traditional beach and picnic blankets tend to collect a lot of sand and get wet rather quickly. We have also noticed that getting sand completely out of the blankets usually requires a washing machine and they take a while to dry. (I also found out the hard way that they smell bad when left in the trunk of a vehicle for a couple of days).

Relaxing by the ocean on a Parasheet.
Relaxing by the ocean on a Parasheet.

Two adventurers who by chance met in a small surf town in Thailand, Jon Neff and Kevin Kaiser, also experienced the sand and water issues with traditional beach and picnic blankets and, inspired by their passion for the outdoors and their travel experiences, developed a better blanket. The blanket, called the Parasheet, is a blanket made of quick-drying nylon fabric, which makes it lightweight and prevents it from remaining wet or gathering sand like a traditional beach or picnic blanket. The Parasheet also contains pocket corners that can be filled with sand so it will stay grounded and in place on a windy day. The Parasheet also has loops at the corners so that it can be staked to the ground. The Parasheet is something that we will be adding to our summer kit. More information on the Parasheet and more “goods for the road” that are sold by Jon and Kevin’s company, Grand Trunk, can be found on their website.

Of course, we want to be sun safe, especially during the summer. And although being sun safe should be done year-round, people tend to think about it more during the warmer months. Melanoma, a form of skin cancer, is mostly caused by unprotected exposure to ultraviolet, (UV), rays that emit from the sun and tanning bed lights. According to information gathered by the Skin Cancer Foundation, an estimated 10,130 people will die of melanoma in 2016. Melanoma is preventable, in fact regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.

Sunblock Unit
Sunblock Unit

In an effort to help protect people from the awful effects of skin cancer, Dover New Hampshire-based nonprofit Make Big Change sells touch-free sunscreen dispensers that are designed to be placed in high-traffic areas such as lakes and beaches. The sunblock units are easily identifiable because of their bright yellow color and have a space in the front that can be used for things such as sun safety messages or as revenue ad space. In addition to selling the dispensers and their all-natural sunblock, Make Big Change has also handed out white wrist bands that turn blue when the person wearing it needs sunscreen.

We all want to have a fun and safe summer. Continuous innovation helps us have fun and be safe and will continue to allow people to develop products that will make our lives even better – and more comfortable.

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ChicoineBrian Chicoine was born in Nashua and raised in Manchester, graduating from West High School. After earning his undergraduate degree from Rhode Island College in Providence, Brian and his family lived in Manchester for about five years before returning to the Ocean State. Brian has merged his passion for entrepreneurship and innovation with his love of new and bold ideas to bring fresh perspectives on the way things are done. Brian, his wife Jackie and their two boys live in Rhode Island, but their hearts are in New Hampshire.


About this Author

Brian Chicoine

Brian Chicoine is a New Hampshire native who moved to Manchester from Raymond in 1980. While a student at Notre Dame College here in Manchester, Brian transferred to Rhode Island College in Providence, where he met his now wife, Jackie. Brian and Jackie spent the next 20 years living in Providence and Manchester, returning to Manchester with their two sons, (who are proud Manchester natives), in the fall of 2017. He and his family intend on staying in Manchester and are committed to helping make it an even better place to live, work, and play.