Image source: Benzinga
Gary Vaynerchuk made a name for himself by turning his VeeFriends doodles into NFTs, which raked in over $300 million in trading volume.
VeeFriends won a place at Christie’s auction, brand partnerships, and a place at the VeeCon convention in May.
This time, the project will get another upgrade as its characters transform into toys for America’s department store toy chains.
VeeFriends will hit shelves this month through the Macy’s and Toys “R” Us brands as plush toys and vinyl figurines.
The toys are based on ten VeeFriends characters from the extensive NFT collection.
They were designed in collaboration with Toikido, a toy and entertainment startup.
Randomly divided into “blind boxes”, characters like Patient Panda, Practical Peacock, and Willful Wizard will make their way into people’s homes as real-world collectibles.
The first wave of toys will go on sale on October 17th.
Potential owners can also order them on Macy’s, Toys R Us, and VeeFriends websites.
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Toys ‘R’ Us
Although Toys R Us was once a popular independent chain, it was forced to close in 2018 following bankruptcy proceedings.
VeeFriends President Andy Krainak said the iconic brand holds a special place in Vaynerchuk’s heart as a toy collector and flipper.
They wrote in a press release that the deal means more to Vaynerchuk than anyone could ever imagine.
The Series 2 collection
Earlier this year, VeeFriends shared plans to transition from NFTs to mainstream products with the launch of the Series 2 collection.
While the first collection was created from Vaynerchuk’s marker-based doodles, Series 2 NFTs have a more polished look with cartoonish features.
This was done to provide a backbone for potential VeeFriends products such as apparel, games, packaged food, and more.
Vaynerchuk explained that VeeFriends needs to “stand up against intellectual property” and resort to more sophisticated character designs for their creations.
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Despite the expansion, VeeFriends is still based on Vaynerchuk’s focus on inspirational content.
The same goal helped him become a successful author and social media influencer.
As the project ventures into new content products, Krainak said he no longer views the project as an NFT play.
“Today, I think of VeeFriends as a transmedia or multimedia company where we’re doing stories in all forms and fashions,” he explained.
“Any form or medium in which we can bring to life, if you will, the characters and traits that we’re hoping to inspire in others.”
Krainak is also planning other storytelling opportunities for VeeFriends.
With prospects in books, video games, and other formats, he says the company is still in its infancy when it comes to creating daily content online.
However, the goal is to make community members and the general public fall in love with VeeFriends through story-based initiatives.
The launch follows the announcement in July of a $ 50 million funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
According to Krainak, the funds will help the expansion after the cryptocurrency market’s volatile state in recent months.
Moving from the NFT space to consumer products will be difficult.
Developers generally don’t want to detract from the value or attractiveness of NFT by targeting a wider audience.
With VeeFriends, Gary Vaynerchuk and his team have decided to reward some NFT owners with free goods like toys and other partnerships, including apparel.
Collectors who have NFTs of characters that will turn into toys have until October 18 to request a free version.
They will also get benefits at upcoming toy launch events.
“We’re looking at opportunities to reward our current community and holders as they carry on this journey with us,” said Krainak.
“We are here to build VeeFriends over the next 40 years.”
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