Courtney OKeefe is the Chief Supply Chain Officer of Hologenix, a materials science company dedicated to developing products that amplify human potential, including its flagship innovation CELLIANT®. CELLIANT’s science-backed infrared (IR) technology improves health and wellness by promoting restful sleep and enhancing performance and recovery. CELLIANT’s natural blend of IR-generating minerals is embedded into fibers, yarns and fabrics, powering bio-responsive textiles. CELLIANT is a key ingredient used by world-class brands in products spanning apparel, sleepwear, bedding, upholstery, uniforms and medical supplies. Courtney has a long history in the industry, working with 20+ world-class brands, mastering product categories in all textile variations, from over 45 countries.
Please tell us a little more about yourself?
I’m Courtney OKeefe, the chief supply chain officer of Hologenix. CELLIANT® is our flagship technology and it’s an infrared ingredient brand that enhances textile-based products with health and wellness benefits. And recently, I’ve helped develop one of our newest products, CELLIANT viscose, which is the first in-fiber sustainable viscose infrared solution in the market. We created it in collaboration with Kelheim Fibres, who are a joy to work with and are real leaders in sustainability.
What is Hologenix and what unique services do you provide?
Hologenix is a materials science company that develops products to amplify human potential. But more than that, it’s a company of a bunch of good folks who are great to work with and really are working hard to create unique products that improve people’s lives.
About your flagship technology Celliant, what is it, who is it for and what problems is it solving?
CELLIANT is a blend of bioceramics infused into a carrier fiber or yarn that captures and converts body heat into infrared energy. This gives many wellness benefits, like increased local circulation, improved local cellular oxygenation, improved temperature regulation, more restful sleep, stronger performance and faster recovery from physical activity. It’s an ingredient brand and can be found in many world-class brands across industries. For example, Under Armour RUSH™, Bear Mattress, Lunya, Aeon, mey, and there’s an upholstery collection through our partnerships with Designtex and Crypton Home.
Importantly, we believe in science and validating our claims with clinical and mechanical tests. So far, we’ve conducted nine clinical trials showing the efficacy of CELLIANT and we’re always planning and looking to execute more trials with our Science Advisory Board.
We feel that we’ve created a product that can help people in a wide variety of ways. You can see from our brand partners that we’re in so many different categories where we can not only differentiate the brand but help their consumers. From elite athletes who want every possible advantage, to those people with physically demanding jobs, to people who would love to try to get a more restful sleep, to that downtime on the couch actually being a time where you’re able to recover faster to even sedentary moments in an office, for example.
How big is the market and integration of health and wellness in the textile industry, and what are the most popular trends in this industry?
Well, when you consider that the global wellness economy is valued around $4 trillion, it is natural that an evolving segment of that is going to be health and wellness textiles. Because we’re talking about a rather new technology, or application of technology, the trend is still really the products themselves. Just the idea that you can get wellness benefits while being in a totally passive state. That just by wearing your clothes or your ski boots, or sleeping on specific sheets or blankets, you can benefit. While we’ve long been accustomed to our clothing having functional benefits, the physiological benefits are the latest trend as consumers expect more from the products they are investing in. That said, there are lots of integrations like CBD, menthols, lavenders — they are encapsulated materials and they break down with heat or agitation. So many don’t have longevity. With CELLIANT, it’s a bioceramic and is embedded right into the fiber and doesn’t wash out or wear out and has a long shelf life. Really it lasts the useful life of the product itself.
Tell us more about the CELLIANT® viscose and your collaboration with Kelheim Fibres, what is all about and what makes this project special?
Our collaboration with Kelheim is really special. The two companies just have very similar cultures, believe in innovation and, like us, they are best-in-class in their industry — absolute leaders in sustainability.
CELLIANT viscose is the first in-fiber infrared sustainable solution on the market and meets that very real consumer demand, and our own demands, for more environmentally friendly textiles.
CELLIANT viscose of course gives all the same wellness benefits as CELLIANT, so capturing and converting body heat into infrared, resulting in increased local circulation and improved cellular oxygenation. But the fibers the CELLIANT is embedded into are made from wood pulp, because that’s what viscose is, and the wood used for viscose production with our partners Kelheim Fibres comes exclusively from FSC® and PEFC™ certified, sustainably managed forests. Additionally, Kelheim Fibres is part of the Canopy Initiative, and was given a dark green shirt in 2021, which means they are leaders in responsible raw materials sourcing.
Then there’s the way CELLIANT viscose blends with other fibers, making it a really versatile as well as functional fiber. It blends well with cotton, micromodal, lyocell and wool varieties including cashmere.
So it’s really special because we’re finding ways to be even more environmentally responsible in the ways we bring CELLIANT to market and that’s really satisfying and then, it’s even better when you get to work with wonderful people like Kelheim.
How do nature-based fibers and infrared wellness work together, could you give us a walkthrough of this technology and integration?
Unlike other infrared viscose products which are coatings based, CELLIANT viscose is an in-fiber solution. That means it really increases the longevity of the infrared benefits, the durability through washing and drying, and that it has a much better wearability with a nice soft feel. It also means that because it’s in fiber, CELLIANT is embedded without the need for additional processing steps, making it more cost effective, time-efficient as well as reducing impact on the environment.
What is a sustainable textile brand, why does it need supply chain disruption and how are these relevant to the CELLIANT project?
I think that a sustainable textile brand is one that really walks the talk. One that puts it right in their brand mission statement and has measurable targets that they are publishing in their annual report. Either you’re real with it or you’re not.
On the supply chain side, I think one really important thing brands should be doing or moving toward, and we are as well, is to partner with like-minded companies or brands who are real about sustainability, and to be local-for-local, so that the full production of the textile product happens in one country whenever possible. This can really help minimize the footprint of the supply chain and also helps with potential trade disruptions, cost and lead-time.
What are the benefits of this innovation to humans and the earth, any use cases or success stories you would like to share with us?
Interestingly, CELLIANT is really about energy efficiency. First and foremost, energy efficiency within human beings. Because CELLIANT captures body heat that would normally just escape into the air and converts it into infrared which the body can use, it really is about making the human body more efficient. Already there are so many applications when we think of helping the body be more energy efficient. There’s performance apparel, loungewear, sleepwear, bedding and mattresses and the list goes on. It even goes beyond humans into our animal friends. CELLIANT is used in leg wraps for horses, as well as saddle pads and in dog beds to help our best friends sleep better and recover faster.
Then beyond the human body and our pets, we are really starting to look for commercial opportunities in agriculture, where we know that CELLIANT improves plant growth with less water demands. There’s even the mechanical side of energy efficiency by helping reduce drying times for our clothes driers.
What are you currently working on and what is next on your roadmap? Any available opportunities for investors and partnerships?
Well, honestly there’s so many things. Sometimes I look at my email inbox and I can’t believe everything that’s going on and the different industries we’re talking to. It’s really remarkable. We’re always looking to innovate new integrations, most of which I can’t talk about quite yet. But one in particular that I can mention, as mentioned in the previous question, is using CELLIANT to reduce drying times. We are working on innovations for CELLIANT to be applied to beauty and skincare products such as sheet masks, which is the first of many future innovations under the umbrella of FemTech and women’s health. We have several partners that are working on integrating CELLIANT into medical devices and consumer products such as wraps, bandages and braces which we’re thrilled about as well.
Do you have more information for our readers?
I would say that I’m really excited for the future of health and wellness in textiles and am proud to be a part of a company and technology that can really help people and, with our focus and commitment to continually improving our sustainability and reducing our impact, help the environment and do our part to make the textile industry cleaner. You can also always follow us on Instagram via @celliant, which is our highlight reel of the different industries we are available in. You can also visit our website at www.celliant.com.