Philipp Plein has launched a Web 3.0 crypto store in Old Bond Street in London and a free and independent online NFT trading platform.
While many other luxury brands intend to create exclusive Metaverse communities from original Web 3.0 Gen-Zers with entry policies often as unclear as those of their elite American college fraternity, Plein takes a very different approach.
His goal is to transform ordinary people – especially his 67-year-old mother – into the world of cryptocurrency and NFT by making it more accessible. Because after all, Web 3.0 is a numbers game.
He sees huge potential in the Metaverse – “it’s the future of the Internet” – but is well aware that, like e-commerce 25 years ago, it will only succeed once it is widely adopted. So, while he wants to attract consumers to his own platform, he is also determined to push the market forward by accommodating as many converts as possible.
Plein’s new four-story store in London features three floors of accessories and ready-to-wear complimented by the NFT art gallery, called The MoNA, (NFT Museum of Art) showcasing the NFT collection curated by CryptoKing$ co-creator with creator Anthony. Tudisco as well as the physical “Lil Monster” sculptures that collectors demanded for the series earlier this year.
For the consumer, Plein’s new flagship also serves as a Metaverse information hub with staff available for tutorials on digital wallet creation, NFT navigation, and the digital fashion buying process — just like Web 3.0 “Genius Bar” in reality.
The new pioneer of the crypto concept in London accepts payment for physical goods in 24 different cryptocurrencies. Real-time exchange rates can be accessed via the QR code on each product.
The service, which launched yesterday in London, will then be rolled out in 100 Plein stores around the world. Although Plein has offered cryptocurrency payment as an option since August last year, the QR code system greatly simplifies the process.
“It’s a revolution,” he says. “I’m the youngest brand here on the street – my neighbors are the multibillion dollar Cartier and Valentino brand, but they don’t accept cryptocurrency on their websites or in their stores. Still wondering how to do it, but it’s an easy fix.
If you want to refund your purchase, you can do so in either the Fiat currency of the country where you purchased it or cryptocurrency – depending on the exchange rate on the day of the return.
When it comes to NFT ownership, Plein’s goal is to standardize this process as well, encouraging ordinary people to become collectors. To that end, they offer NFTs for free with their physical products, which is also a great way to expand their customer base.
By September, he says, 30% of his products will be automatically linked to NFTs that customers can hold or resell on the secondary market.
And if naysayers are still wondering what to do with said NFT, Plein has that covered as well. It plans to sell hardware frames in a range of different sizes so that customers can download their NFTs and view them at home.
Likewise, the idea behind the NFT market in Plein is to remove barriers to purchase. Unlike market leaders like Opensea, it offers credit card and Apple Pay options as well as encryption. “It’s a huge game-changer because it opens NFTs to anyone with a credit card,” he says.
Plus, everything is included in the payment price and there are no separate gas charges. Gas fees are the additional transaction fees that buyers pay when purchasing an NFT. These can vary greatly.
Plein equals these costs to the cost of delivering physical goods. Even a $10 delivery fee can be a barrier to a consistent online sale, he says, and similarly, “many people don’t feel comfortable buying NFTs because of the gas fee.”
However, the market will not only sell Plein’s NFTs. It will also serve as a standalone platform for NFT artists to whom Plein offers major incentives, including the fact that it does not charge them a free commission.
The goal, he says, is to “create a community of users” like Instagram or Facebook. “In a year or two, once we have a large community, we may start charging for the service, but if you’re profit-driven to begin with, you can make bad decisions.”
In addition to providing a sales platform, the new Plein Marketplace will serve as a one-stop shop for those looking to enter the Web 3.0 space as sellers. It will provide training services on how to implement NFT projects, produce marketing materials and smart contracts, provide access to analytics and advise on equity in both primary coinage and secondary sales.
For the launch of the physical store, he hired British Jamaican rapper Steplon Dawn to perform and his collection was broadcast live at a virtual event held in the Decentraland Metaverse where he purchased land for $1.4 million. Decentraland Plein Plaza was also the location for her virtual fashion show that was shown during Metaverse Fashion Week in March.
The Plein Plaza is home to a virtual MoNA that connects to its own NFT marketplace. In the future, MoNAs plans another physical in its store network.
“Philip Blaine is in a small but healthy independent company but we’re neither LVMH nor Kering,” Blaine admits. “So we have to be different. My success depends on being different, adding value, and being faster whenever I see the opportunity.