A makeup and crypto crossover is not an obvious one, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Enter: the first metaverse makeup collective, Crypto Besties.
Founded in 2020, Crypto Besties didn’t start as a makeup brand but as a community for women interested in the metaverse. But founders Rima Patel and Jaiya Gill quickly saw an existing gap: Fashion had been a big part of virtual reality spaces for decades, but what about makeup?
“Our target audience [for our beauty brand] didn’t exist in [the crypto] space, so we thought to ourselves, ‘Why not go to where our target audience already exists?'” Patel said. “Women hold the largest purchasing power in the makeup industry, but for far too long have not been given a voice in the beauty industry, just like they haven’t been informed on investing in their future.”
Patel and Gill decided to combine a physical beauty line with a digital one that lives on the blockchain and in the metaverse via Crypto Besties. Anyone is welcome to join Crypto Besties by entering its Discord to chat about makeup and crypto, submitting an application to contribute to the platform or purchasing an NFT friendship bracelet which contributes to the larger crowdfund to start Crypto Besties’ makeup line. Its friendship bracelets can be purchased on the Web3 platform Mirror, with each tier of support reflected in the color of the bracelet. In addition, each bracelet color comes with exclusive benefits, including first access to product drops and tokens that will later be used to vote on the next Crypto Besties products.
Crypto Besties members who participate in any of these tiers are also eligible to become voters in its product creation process. Community product proposals and voting on various product names, shades and packaging on the blockchain exist for each product released. Crowdsourcing for the company’s first product started during the week of May 10, with members eventually settling on a lip gloss as the brand’s inaugural item. It will be released later this summer.
“The community will be able to choose the product’s name, color and branding. We sourced the designers and creators directly from our community,” Gill said.
Like Patel and Gill themselves, most of the 5,000-member Crypto Besties collective is millennial and Gen-Z women. The branding and style of the brand hearken back to the early 2000s, during the initial boom of internet culture when everything was pink and sparkly.
While creating the makeup products of their dreams, community members can also learn about cryptocurrency investing, NFTs and the decentralized web on Pallet, a web3 community-based hiring platform.
Every physical product released by Crypto Besties comes with an identical digital collectible. Customers of the makeup product drops are able to redeem their Polygon-based NFT on any compatible metaverse, including Decentraland, Axie Infinity and Sandbox, for their avatar to wear. Once the Crypto Besties community votes on a launch, a limited number of those products are released.
“Everyone who purchases the first product will be given a free digital collectible. This will allow those not familiar with the Web3 ecosystem to get their footing at no additional cost or risk to themselves,” said Gill. “We hope this will encourage curiosity and push more people toward action items like creating a wallet, utilizing the digital collectible and participating in the creation process for the next drop.”
The limited drops will be sized based on community demand. It’s been a challenge for Patel and Gill to find manufacturers willing to turn over small product runs quickly, but the founders used connections with other mixed reality fashion and lifestyle brands to make it possible. Patel and Gill did not disclose who their manufacturing partners are. Funding for the initial product launch was sourced from NFTs sales, consulting services provided to larger beauty brands looking to break into the metaverse and angel investors. Thus far, Crypto Besties has raised $10,000 in crowdsourced NFT sales, but Patel and Gill did not disclose any additional investment in the collective.
Muaz Notiar, co-founder of Revstance, a metaverse product development company, sees the metaverse as a place to democratize. “The metaverse makes the inaccessible now accessible. [Plus] it lowers barriers, improves inclusion and challenges our perceptions. The metaverse allows brands to remove distance barriers and create more immersive customer experiences,” said Notiar.