What is the meaning of new luxury? The Arksen founder tells Spinach Branding
‘People have started to dream bigger, to plan further ahead, to commit to a different lifestyle,’ begins Jasper Smith. ‘Arksen is an enabler of a new way of life that embraces adventure, science and philanthropy,’ says the founder of a brand that perfectly embodies new thinking within the luxury landscape. Speaking to Spinach Branding consultant Nargess Banks he continues: ‘We exist only to allow people to take the first step towards their greatest adventures. Each of us has felt the effects of the pandemic in different ways, but one thing that shines through is our desire to set off on adventures and to feel the great outdoors.’
Smith is an entrepreneur and an explorer with a portfolio of highly successful businesses. He set-up Arksen in 2019 with a single mission: to bring an element of philanthropy to luxury marine travel. The brand proposition is equally clear. Arksen customers dedicate a certain percentage of their vessel’s time to support vital marine research and conservation projects. Then in return, they get to experience grand curated expeditions alongside the explorers and scientists, photographers and artists and filmmakers who are conducting the research work. It’s a pretty evocative proposition.
Many thought leaders and brands within the luxury sphere are seeing the global health crisis and climate change as opportunities to step back and rethink the word. Working with clients from around the world and from businesses that range from property and construction to fine wines, our team at Spinach Branding are always asking what true luxury mean in this altering landscape.
The word has simply lost its place and meaning. It is disconnected to a new generation who want objects and experiences to give meaning to their lives. We see this through the brands they invest in, what and how they consume, the plant-based lives they lead, the shared car systems and clean transport they invest in. Brands and businesses must evolve to be at the forefront of new luxury – something that we always stress to our clients.
Arksen’s Smith is equally passionate about the subject. ‘The post-pandemic recovery presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset our relationship with business, consumerism and the planet,’ he says. ‘Capital drives change and so in the first instance, it is essential that all capital flows are linked to sustainable outcomes. We will not get a second chance.’
‘Running through all of our adventures is a desire to take people beyond the normal realms of experience – to provide life-enhancing journeys,’ says Smith. And the spirit of sustainability is reflected in every aspect of his business – from the fleet which uses ecological materials and is efficient to run, through to the travel routes that respect marine life. Arksen works alongside expedition experts Pelorus to design voyages to some of the least explored oceans with a set of itineraries that focus on conservation and research activities, sprinkled with adventure sports and cultural explorations.
The team partner with ecological organisations such as the Coral Yachts for Science, which give scientists greater access to the oceans by matching them with vessels and routes to continue their research. Smith explains: ‘We can encourage yacht owners to host vital ocean explorations while we are building our own research-capable vessels. It also helps shift the existing paradigm of travel as well as improve the utilisation of these vessels.’ The organisation has also started the ‘10% for the Ocean’ campaign to address why only 1% of philanthropic funding goes towards ocean-related causes. ‘Given that the ocean covers 71% of the earth’s surface and supports 94% of the planets’ species, we see this deficit as a systemic failing, posing a huge risk to a sustainable future.’
Smith is clearly charged with enthusiasm. ‘This, more than the definition of luxury in a post-pandemic world, must be the mantra of recovery. Achieving positive momentum towards sustainability will enable us to redefine luxury as the opportunity to live comfortably today without depleting the resources that may be required by future generations.’ While acknowledging that all forms of travel use energy and are therefore harmful to the planet, Smith says that we can do better by investing in technologies, systems and processes that promote change. ‘We can design products that embrace the principals of a circular economy: design out waste, design for longevity, design for reuse, repair and recycling. The definition of a luxury product becomes one that is built with these principals, with heart and soul and with purpose… ideally, one that opens doors to a new world of experiences.’
Images Arksen 85, copyright © The Boundary for Arksen.
Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.< Back