Philipp Plein launches crypto concept store, 'groundbreaking' NFT platform
Luxury designer Philipp Plein chose his still-new London flagship on Old Bond Street on Thursday to launch his new ‘crypto concept store’, with plans to roll it out to many more stores within a few weeks.
The brand’s “store of the future” looks like a regular Philipp Plein luxury boutique at first glance, but the “we take crypto” signs and QR codes next to the products on show are the first clue that something different is going on.
The QR codes are a step forward from the more manual process the company previously trialled in-store and replicates the online experience much more closely.
Plein told Fashionnetwork.com that his was the first luxury fashion company to accept crypto and is starting this new phase because of how important he thinks it it will become.
“I thought in the beginning ‘it’s very cool and different’. I wanted to experiment. I wanted to see what it does to me and my business and my consumers and if it would work or not,” he said. “So we started and I immediately thought how impactful it is, how powerful it is and how many people are actually using it. That was very surprising to me and to the people in my company”.
He added that the firm’s overall online retail turnover last year was about €100 million and about 3% of that came from crypto. “We can double that this year”, he insisted.
The challenge with using crypto is that the currencies’ value is changing fast — in fact, every few minutes. “We have to update it in the stores and online all the time”, Plein explained.
“Every product is available to pay in crypto, but you can’t put a price tag on products that’s changing every 10 minutes, so we have QR codes. You scan with your phone and you have a picture of the product and the price in all the currencies. We’re testing the QR system from today and will roll it out in over 100 stores in the next two weeks”.
NFT ART PLATFORM
But the ‘crypto store’ concept is about more than just paying in any one of the 25 cryptocurrencies the label accepts. And it’s upstairs from the main retail selling space that its virtual world really comes to life.
There, visitors can find The M.O.N.A. (Museum of NFT Art), described as “the first physical art gallery of the metaverse”. They can see a mega screen that projects Plein Plaza, the land bought for $1.4 million in the virtual world of Decentraland. This will introduce clients to the metaverse, guiding everyone into the new dimension and helping them create their own avatar for experiencing virtual trips”.
It comes as the brand also launches its very own NFT marketplace that can also be found on the M.O.N.A floor.
It includes an NFT art collection realised by the Crypto Kings, displayed on eight screens. There’ll also be physical artworks belonging to the ‘Lil Monster Capsule, with all of it designed to make the store not just a flagship, but “a cultural, artistic, fashion and futuristic hub”.
The M.O.N.A. is part-museum, part-independent platform for the promotion of new NFT artists that’s designed to boost the NFT market.
Consumers can buy digital art, bid on auctions and have direct contact with the creators through their profiles. They can check statistics related to the NFT market and access the first ever service that allows buyers to bid for a custom NFT created by their favourite artists.
Philipp Plein will produce marketing, contracts, sales platform, analytics, deal with secondary sales and more.
Plein told us that the company’s NFT sales this year, while still small relatively speaking, have nonetheless been impressive.
“Our NFTs included our Pleinsport sneakers, and Monsters”, he said. “Between these two we did €1 million sales more or less in the last three months”.
But it’s the move to build the company’s own platform that’s quite trailblazing on this front.
“It’s very complicated to sell NFTs”, Plein said. “We needed third-parties to be involved to mint, produce and sell them. We didn’t like that so we said ‘let’s do it ourselves’. We created MONA and MONA-art. This will become a leading platform in NFT trading because we will offer our services for free on the platform. That’s groundbreaking. But being here in a physical location is too. I don’t know too many art galleries that do this".
He added: “What’s different here also is that you can buy an NFT in cash. You can’t do that online, you have to pay mainly with crypto, as 90% of the platforms only accept crypto. That’s the advantage of physical locations. We’ll roll this out in 100 stores by the end of the year”.
EVRYONE'S AN ART COLLECTOR
It’s all part of a Plein’s plan to make “this easily accessible for the consumer, and playful”. And the company is going out of its way to bump its customers into the virtual world, even when they haven’t directly chosen to enter it.
“I can link physical products to NFTs”, he said. “If you buy a sneaker in the store, you automatically get an NFT. I make you — in a playful way — start to become a collector. Don’t just be an owner, be a collector! If you own a piece of art, you’re a collector. And an NFT is a piece of art”.
But what do you do with that piece of art? “That’s what my mother would say”, Plein laughed. “I say, ‘no problem’. In our store, we’re selling screens — picture frames — to hang them on the wall. Small ones, big ones. Some to put on the table. You can display an NFT like a painting in your home. You can just look at it. Or you can resell your NFT in the secondary market. We sold these NFTs for €500 and they were later trading for €5,000”.
And if the brand’s customers are still looking to profit from their visit to Philipp Plein, the brand is also launching a new exclusive NFT videogame, available for a limited period. “Recalling a mood of the 80’s, players have to collect the new exclusive NFTs like an arcade ‘treasure hunt’. Finding, buying, exchanging and upgrading the different NFTs”. And at the end of the game players are in with a chance of winning a real diamond gift.
It’s all big news for the brand that in so many ways is turning its existing business model (simply designing, making and selling luxury clothing, shoes and accessories) on its head.
So over to Mr Plein for the last word: “There will in just two to five years be a secondary world that will arrive much faster than you think. The metaverse is going to change the whole world and it’s going to change consumer products too”.
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