Most of the beauty brands releasing NFTs these days already sell physical products. But for new makeup brand Bakeup at Jo Baker’s first ever product launch, it’s taking the opposite approach.
Today, the brand’s futuristic Disco Veiler Eye Adornment is practically released 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 selected based on their past involvement 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 ‘ to name a few. But, she said, in the past nine months she has become a metaverse enthusiast.
“After the shutdown and everything that happened, there were so many different realms and forums and avenues to explore,” Baker said. When she first became aware of the metaverse hype, “it wasn’t somewhere I was naturally going at all,” she said. But after her friends encouraged her to try an Oculus headset, she was hooked. “It literally feels like just pressing a button and going into the future. That little taste made me look up to the possibilities.”
The brand, which launched on June 21, 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 in the creative process. Baker did Gaustad’s look for the cover of her album, “The Black Box,” and Gaustad models the eye makeup 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 falling, the brand has yet to reveal details on whether it will sell NFTs in the future or maintain the free giveaway model. Superfon said the brand tracked NFT price fluctuations.
“We’ve built that into our approach,” she said. “The way we will do NFTs will be very strategic.” Regarding whether the brand will sell NFTs, she said that “going forward we will have a strategy tied to our makeup products,” but was not ready to discuss specifics.
With the brand aimed at the 18- to 28-year-old demographic, 20-year-old Gaustad has been active in the NFT community, particularly NFP. She released her first NFP NFT in December with her makeup look from the “Black Box” album cover. She has participated in several Discord conversations, including one that revealed the Black Box NFT as well as a talk last week with Jo to reveal 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 on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Baker hopes to add a sophisticated aesthetic to the metaverse. She was blunt about her initial reaction to metaverse style when she started with Oculus: “The clothes are wack.” But for her it meant “there’s a real possibility and an opportunity to merge this real imagination and fantasy, and create this absolutely futuristic play space.”
The Disco Veiler, a blacked-out mesh eye covering, was created to be the “foolproof way to play with sparkles on your face” in an age of complicated — and difficult to create — blinded eye looks, Baker said. Her description of its aesthetic is a “galactic-inspired, lightning-fast beauty ornament for your futuristic cosmic alter ego who 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,” Baker said.
On the digital side, “there’s a huge opportunity in digital wearables,” Superfon said. “People will always want a physical product.” But the brand aims to “offer a new way to express yourself via your avatar, whether you’re in a game or it’s your PFP for your Zoom call.”