Photo by Grant Legan

Photo by Grant Legan

apparently, nobody’s having sex.

You may have seen the headlines about the lack of intimacy in America popping up over the last few weeks…Well, the data to support the headlines is actually quite interesting. It seems as though America is in the middle of a "sex recession."

As with any large-scale study, it will take quite some time for our lovely data collectors to truly dive into this research and uncover what our “sex recession” means. In the meantime, the following theories are being tested:

Is a decreasing teen pregnancy rate linked to a record low birth rate? Are dating apps to blame for a decline in physical connection? Does the study point to a decline and younger people's ability to connect on an intimate level?

Most importantly, what can we do to change this?

Read more here.

– Liz Burton, Manager of the Candid Network

Photo by Grant Legan

Photo by Grant Legan

the flow is finally getting a main stream glow up

A split divide amongst the general public is apparent (to me): Those who actually may be more informed and those who think “they’re listening….”

And no – I’m not talking about anything politically inclined. I’m talking about curated Instagram ads.

I might not be the average Instagram consumer anymore, (Apple’s handy new Screen Time setting tells me I am I spend about 3 hours a week on IG. That’s not a lot, right…?) but I am still getting fed ads that are a little too on point. I am a woman in her early 20’s and I am starting to see a trend on my sponsored posts. Nearly half of them are for PMS related products…. But not just your run of the mill Tampax ads, no, this is is a true takeover. The time has come. The millennial wave has hit the "feminine products” industry.

This all started with Lola, the first nicely branded organic tampons to hit the market a few years ago. They really tapped into that millennial branding with their nicely kerned logo, pastel-y colors, and minimal packaging. You could bring that box of life savers up to the register and not have to worry about that 17 year old boy gawking at your hideously neon box, screaming “YES, THE RED SEA IS HERE.”

Fast forward to today – now there a whole mega medicine cabinet full of beautiful products to make that period of time (lol) a little more enjoyable. For starters, knours, a skincare line dedicated to creating products specifically designed to work with your cycle. Their branding could almost be mistaken for Glossier. Millennial pink, san serif typeface, cute product photography including but not limited to, flowers, pastel seamless, glowy skin.  Before diving into their beauitifully-simple (and informative) website, I didn’t even realize how much my skin changes through the month. They’ve even got a fancy app to help you track everything,- including your skin and how your body changes to better understand what the hell is going on. Something I wished I had a long time ago!

Saalt is another rising star in my opinion. Though their product freaks me out a little, I’m seeing a big trend moving toward “the cup.” You know, that no-waste, eco-friendly hype we’re all about these days. All the wellness influencers keep telling me how knowing how much blood they release really lets them “reconnect" with their bodies, but you know, staying in the dark isn’t always a bad thing, right?. Anyways… Saalt was branded by the team at Graphical House in the UK. While the cup has been around for quite some time, Saalt really takes it to the next level with their branding. Their identity is again pastel based, but their illustrations relating back to the land and sea brings in an element of personality. Their packaging caught my eye when I first saw it and just might convert me one day…one day.

Last on my roster is Blume, a subscription based box of goodies designed to show up at just the right time. They’ve got a slew of products from skin care, to tampons, to even PMS oil. You can customize a box filled with all these things (and even a surprise candy). While the subscription cycle box is not something new to the market, I think Blume leans into the millennial crowd a little more so than Lola or Cora. Their cheeky language and typography choices sets them apart. Yet they still rely the mellow colors and simple packaging. But still 10/10 would buy just ‘cuz its pretty. #truemillennial

I love that the flow is finally getting a main stream glow up and I don’t have to worry about ~toxins~ anymore. (Still trying to figure out if my body has fully detoxified yet. IS there a test I can take??) But really, have we had enough pastel yet?


– Ariel Irby, Graphic Designer at Matte Black




From the actual mouths of actual Influencers themselves: Read this article to figure out what faux-pas you can (and probably should) avoid when trying to befriend the next influencer you want to promote your brand, online.



grant legan

Grant Legan is one of Matte Black’s favourite photographers for a myriad of reasons that we can’t even fit into this modest bio. He is also the creator of all images in this month’s issue. A pioneer of the photographer/influencer scene (he’s shot countless striking images of celebrities around the globe), Grant’s unique eye and purposeful drive stands out amongst a crowd. Read our interview with him; it’s uplifting, insightful, and oddly calming.




When I started SWIM in 2015, there were limited resources to put towards influencer marketing on social media. We work with awesome brands and it never felt right to be transactional and pay influencers for promotion. Rather, we thought about how we could develop a mutually beneficial relationship with influencers that share the same value in the brand.




Not to be all “Jerry Seinfeld Live at The Laugh Factory” with this transition, but: what’s with Instagram aesthetics, eh? Can we even break down and rank each different one, though, am I right? I mean, come on, let’s be real, does your choice in Instagram aesthetic show what type of person you are, huh?  




The data to support these recent headlines is actually quite interesting.


A split divide amongst the general public is apparent (to me): Those who actually may be more informed and those who think “they’re listening….”

And no – I’m not talking about anything politically inclined. I’m talking about curated Instagram ads.



033 - are you ready for social?

You've claimed the Instagram handle, but when is the right time to go live with the first post? Listen in to our conversation with Elena Hansen, Founder of social media marketing agency SWIM Social, for her five factors that show if your brand is ready (or not) for social media marketing.

This podcast was first published in May 2018.

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