Makeup artist Jo Baker’s new beauty launch model: NFT first, physical product second

Most of the beauty brands releasing NFTs these days already sell physical products. But for new makeup brand Bakeup by Jo Baker’s first ever product launch, it is taking the opposite approach.

Today, the brand’s futuristic Disco Veiler Eye Adornment is being released virtually as a Snapchat and Instagram filter, as well as an NFT — the latter, as part of the Non-Fungible People (NFP) collection by software company Daz 3D.  At the end of this month, the eye veil will be released for sale as a physical product. The NFT version will be free and sent to 500 select members of the NFP community who were chosen based on their prior engagement with the brand.

Celebrity makeup artist Jo Baker, the brand’s co-founder and chief beauty officer, is best known for her creative IRL red-carpet and editorial looks on a  wide range of celebrities including Lucy Boynton, Jennifer Lawrence, Sharon Stone, Maude Apatow and Salma Hayek, to name a few. But, she said, in the past nine months, she’s become a metaverse enthusiast.

“Post-lockdown and everything that’s happened, there have been so many different realms and forums and avenues to explore,” said Baker. When she first became aware of the metaverse hype, “it wasn’t somewhere I was naturally heading in at all,” she said. But after her friends encouraged her to try out an Oculus headset, she was hooked. “It literally feels like just hitting a button and going into the future. That little taster had me juiced up at the possibilities.” 

Launched on July 22, the brand was co-founded by Baker and CEO Sarah Superfon with a “multiverse” concept of digital and physical beauty. Also involved in its founding are Philosophy founder Cristina Carlino and her daughter Grace Gaustad, a recording artist who serves as the face of the brand and was involved with the creative process. Baker did Gaustad’s looks for the art of their album, “BLKBX: wht r u hiding,” and Gaustad models the eye adornment in her latest music video. 

Non-Fungible People is “a collection of 8,888 women and non-binary hyper-realistic 3D avatars,” according to the description by Daz 3D. It has collaborated with several brands, including Clinique, Louis Moinet and Champion.

With NFT prices plunging, the brand has not yet released details on whether it will sell NFTs in the future or keep the free giveaway model. Superfon said that the brand has tracked NFT price fluctuations.

“We’ve incorporated that into our approach,” she said. “The way that we will do NFTs will be very strategic.” Regarding the question of whether the brand will sell NFTs, she said that “going forward, we will have a strategy tied in with our makeup products,” but isn’t ready to discuss specifics. 

With the brand geared toward the 18- to 28-year-old age demographic, 20-year-old Gaustad has been active in the NFT community, particularly NFP. They released their first NFP NFT in December featuring her makeup look from the “Black Box” album cover. They have participated in several Discord talks, including one unveiling the Black Box NFT as well as a talk last week with Jo to unveil Bakeup. 

For its social promotion plan, the brand will tap into traditional beauty marketing strongholds like Instagram, as well as newer opportunities including Twitter Spaces and Discord. It has a partnership with a gaming platform that will be unveiled in September.

With her artistry featured on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Baker is hoping to add a sophisticated aesthetic to the metaverse. She was blunt about her initial reaction to metaverse style when she got started on Oculus: “The clothes are wack.” But to her, that meant “there’s a real possibility and an opportunity to put this real-world imagination and fantasy together, and create this absolutely futuristic play space.”

The Disco Veiler, a bedazzled mesh eye covering, was created to be the “foolproof way to play with sparkles on your face” in an era of intricate — and difficult to create — bedazzled eye looks, said Baker. Her description of its aesthetic is a “galactic-inspired, lightning-speed beauty adornment for your futuristic cosmic alter ego that wants to dip in and out of fantasy in a flash.” 

Future physical product launches this year will include eye color and “very key, simple, utilitarian skin care,” said Baker. 

On the digital side, “there’s a huge opportunity in digital wearables,” said Superfon. “People are always going to want physical product.” But the brand aims to “provide a new way to express yourself via your avatar, whether you’re in a game or whether it’s your PFP for your Zoom call.” 

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