LONDON – Philipp Plein sends a shock to Bond Street with a new lime-green “crypto shop” offering prices in alternative digital currencies, an NFT art gallery and a free trading platform for metaverse art.
For anyone who has no idea or is just confused about NFTs in particular, Plein has the answers. He wants people to understand them – and also have fun with them.
He is so passionate about pairing complementary NFTs with the store’s physical products, namely the glittering high-tops that are part of the renewed Plein Sport, the designer’s first “metavers-native” model line.
He even gave branded NFTs to special guests at the store’s opening night Thursday night, where Stefflon Don, the British Jamaican rapper, performed.
Plein said his dream was for people like his skeptical 67-year-old mother to say “Yes” to the myriad possibilities of the non-fungible token, rather than “What?”
“My vision is to bring it to people like my mother, to the average consumer, in a fun way. We want to help people take advantage of this technology, and we want to make it available. We look at it from a consumer perspective, ”said Plein, who was full of energy when he visited the room on Thursday afternoon.
On the second floor of MoNA, its new Museum of NFT Art, Plein pointed to a pair of shimmering electric orange high-top sneakers on display inside a display case.
This is one of 10 sneaker styles, each coming with an NFT counterpart. The latter can be enjoyed as a work of art or “burned” – metavers’ slang for prey – into a digital wearable to equip the avatars that populate Decentraland.
“It’s fun to buy a product – and get a free NFT with it,” Plein said. “Even if you do not know anything about NFTs, you will be thinking, ‘What should I do now? Maybe I should buy a digital wallet for it? Or hang it on the wall? Or exchange it, resell it and make money? And then suddenly you become a collector.
Plein said he does not expect to make money on the NFTs he currently earns. “I make money on clothes and I’m not a speculator. I want to give you, the customer, these NFTs, and I want to be a pioneer “in space,” he said. In September, Plein added, about 30% of the physical products it sells will come with free NFTs .
Crypto payouts and NFT bonus art are just the tip of the iceberg for Plein, a metavers evangelist. He believes he has enormous potential for his business, his customers and consumers in general. In a few years, he believes that the shift from the Internet to the meta-verse will be like the shift from radio to television or from radio to the Imax theater experience.
“You can not imagine at all what this is going to do. And it will be very powerful when brands start making money from it,” he said.
For Plein, it’s not yet a matter of making money. He wants to learn more about the meta-verse and take his customers and community with him. He also wants to position the brand for success as the new virtual universe picks up speed.
He recently spent $ 1.4 million on the purchase of Plein Plaza, a 176,528-square-foot plot in the Decentraland metaverse. One of the three skyscrapers he “builds” on the site will house the MoNA platform, where digital artists will be invited to showcase and sell their creative work without paying the usual 20% commission.
The new trading platform will allow users to view statistics related to the NFT market, while buyers will be able to bid on custom NFTs created by their favorite artists. Plein said he would take care of marketing, contracts, analysis of the sales platform and offer advice regarding royalties from initial and secondary sales.
Digital visual artist Antoni Tudisco will play a role in the creation of the overall Plein Plaza project, which will include retail, entertainment, a hotel and luxury housing.
Asked why he made this investment, Plein said he gained knowledge, experience and learned to function in a new world.
“I see it as teaching,” Plein said. “The real value for me is not the land, but the knowledge we acquire. We already had a fashion show and others [events] where we attracted thousands of people. It is important to be there to experience it, build and learn. That’s the beginning. You have to start somewhere. “
Plein also sees his investment in the meta-verse as a necessary marketing medium in a 4.0-world.
“We need to get people into the stores, give them a reason to be excited about the brand. It is a communication tool. It is important that the younger generation, the new investor and others come to us and join the brand. I’m still self-employed and I have to survive. Look through the window. I am the smallest kid on the block here – and I am also the youngest, “he said.
The store on 9 Bond Street, formerly a Michael Kors unit, is an ongoing work. Plein and his team temporarily renovated three of the five floors, with retail on the ground floor and first floor and MoNA on the second floor. Street neighbors include Valentino, Stella McCartney and Cartier.
Plein keeps the store open until the end of August to attract Middle Eastern tourists, who usually flock to London in the summer. In September, he plans a major renovation and will turn it into a flagship store with crypto and metaverse perks.
The store, with its electric glue mats, metallic gold palms and crystals and sparkles everywhere, currently offers men, women and accessories. Each product has a QR code containing the price in pounds and 25 cryptocurrencies. Plein said he was proud to offer this kind of sophisticated technology in a physical store.
Digital currencies fluctuate every 10 minutes or so, so prices can be difficult to pinpoint. With the QR code, customers who pay with crypto can see the latest price and pay on the spot. Plein said a large number of its customers now use crypto: of the brand’s € 100 million in online revenue, 3% came from cryptocurrencies.
(Alternatively, Plein also allows customers who have no idea about crypto to pay cash for NFTs it makes and sells.)
The MoNA floor of the Bond Street store is a physical art gallery of metaverse and NFT creations. The walls are lined with eight rectangular displays of art from Crypto Kings and ‘Lil Monster Capsule.
There is also a preview of the NFT Little Monster video game, which the brand plans to launch in mid-May. Players will be invited to assemble new exclusive NFTs that resemble an arcade treasure hunt, and find, buy, trade, and upgrade the various NFTs. The game has an 80s vibe, Plein said, and will be available for a limited time.
At the end of the game, players will have the chance to win expensive items such as the Philipp Plein Mercedes-AMG G63, an Apple Watch or diamond jewelry.
In the spirit of merging the physical and metaverse worlds, sculptures of little monsters are on display in the MoNA space on Bond Street. Chubby, colorful and quite endearing, they stand ready to accompany their future owners into a new, mysterious, but not so scary universe.