I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but click headlines like “Meet the 12-year-old Boy Who Became a Millionaire Off NFTs.”NFTs, which stand for non-fungible tokens, are a whole new world of art, technology, and opportunity available to anyone, including pre-teens. And don’t expect this to be a flash-in-the-pan techno-trend that’s past it before you even “get” it. Experts say NFTs will continue to grow in popularity, becoming part of our mainstream culture. So what exactly are NFTs, and why should you GAF? Do non-fungible tokens have any impact on the beauty industry? We dive in.
What Are NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)?
Fungible means something that can be easily exchanged or replaced, so non-fungible implies the opposite. These tokens are digital collectibles that use blockchain technology (think of a digital barcode) to track their ownership and authorship. Someone creates the token, usually a piece of digital artwork or a video, uploads it, then it can be bought and sold or kept and used as a profile pic, for example. If you want to know more about how to make an NFT, this is a great video; and if you want to know more about buying them, check this out.
And surprisingly — or maybe not so — they’re becoming a tool that the beauty industry is embracing, which means it might be more up your alley than you realized. Here’s how.
NFTs as Art and Profit
Profile pics and avatars are two of the most popular ways to display your unique art piece for the world to see. If you ever had trading cards as a kid (baseball or Garbage Pail Kids, for example), you might remember when you got a cool, highly desired card. You would tell the other kids on the playground about it, trade it for a couple of other good cards, or sell it for cash. Well, same idea here — you get bragging rights, and if you decide the price is high enough, you can cash out. You could also compare sharing a pic of your NFT to wearing an expensive piece of clothing — you love the way something looks, so you’re going to invest in it and show it off. But it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot; many NFTs are very inexpensive, and if you bet on the right artist, its price can increase.
Another way to monetize “art” is by selling videos. TikTok users can sell their videos as NFTs; for example, someone who creates makeup tutorials and hair how-to’s can sell them to followers who want to own the video forever. (Tweets can also be made into NFTs and sold.)
In specific platforms like Decentaland, avatars can be accessorized. “Avatars will need accessories, and when we talk accessories, we talk beauty,” says Marie-Laure Fournier-Uder, who runs a PR agency that launched a beauty NFT with luxury fragrance brand Krigler. So beauty companies can sell NFTs that can be used across platforms on your avatar. Adds a spokesperson from beauty giant Beiersdorf AG, “The metaverse is here to stay. Consumers are increasingly building their presence in virtual spaces, and it is safe to say their IRL perception of beauty lives on with their virtual avatar and digital skins.”
@sineadbovell I got the chance to sit down with @Bustle to chat about NFTs and the future of fashion. Here’s a clip from our discussion🎬 #nfts #fashion #avatars #metaverse #thefutureoffashion #futurist #techfacts ♬ original sound – Sinead Bovell
Franny Lakoubay, who calls herself an NFT queen and operates under LAL art as an art advisor that specializes in NFTs, explains how a brand can sell NFTs as a collectible: “They partner with an artist, create a series of NFTs, and people get a lot of money; even if each NFT is very cheap, if there are 10,000 of them, it’s a volume game.” NARS is one such company that did an initiative of selling NFTs with their Orgasm products; the amount you spent on the NFT determined how much NARS product came along with it.
You can do it, too: If you want to buy an NFT for a profile pic, look for something that speaks to you or see if an artist you like is creating NFTs, says Lakoubay. “I don’t think you should get into crypto cacti because it’s a thing.” Buy something because it speaks to you on an artistic level, not because it’s trendy. And if you want to learn how to accessorize your avatar, have a read of this. Here are steps on how to sell your TikTok videos as NFTs. Keep in mind that while many brands are expected to launch NFTs, the options and ways to use them are still limited…for the time being.
NFTs as Marketing Tools
Gather ‘round influencers and brands — NFTs may be the tool that’s been missing to engage customers and bring awareness to brand news. We’ve already seen NFT initiatives from NARS, Givenchy, e.l.f., L’Oreal, Clinique, Nivea, and IGK Haircare, who did an online treasure hunt in December to launch its new at-home hair color line, where the 25 winners all won an NFT; e.l.f. sold images of their new products, and Clinique offered NFTs as a customer giveaway. Lakoubay explains, “It’s a way to connect with customers differently. It’s not a coupon code; it’s something new. You can engage them, invite them to things, so you’re building a community.”
Huda Kattan, the founder of Huda Beauty and a social media maven with 2.4 million Instagram followers, is one of the most popular influencers embracing NFTs, even posting: “I have not been this excited about anything in my entire life. I am more excited about NFTs than I was about social media.” It should be noted that other influencers have called out how NFT companies have contacted them about paid partnerships; it’s unclear if Kattan is profiting in this way or not or if she is merely a collector, investor, and promoter of the technology.
Who might use them and how they can be used almost seems endless. “NFTs, although existing in the blockchain, can also unlock experiences in the real world, such as free products, samples, personalized items, and even access to events,” said the Beiersdorf spokesperson, whose brand Nivea did an NFT giveaway last year.
You can do it, too: If you’re a social media influencer or an aspiring one, using an NFT for a follower contest “can build engagement and reward their community,” says Lakoubay. Brands announce NFT initiatives via their social channels, so follow your favorite brands to be in the know. Most of them are making it extremely easy to get involved with very little tech-savvy, making it an easy way to get into the world of NFTs.
NFTs as Authenticators
What if you could look up everything about your $300 fragrance because of its specific blockchain code? You could prove it’s authentic, where it was made and where it was bought. Says the Beiersdorf rep, “You cannot fake authenticity in the blockchain, offering transparency about the history of transactions.” Fournier-Uder says that this technology is “Particularly great for the luxury industry with blockchain that gives certificates of authenticity that are traceable. For bespoke cosmetics and fragrance, it will be a must.”
You can do it, too: Watch this space. At the moment, it’s wise to buy your beauty products from authentic, reputable retailers so you know that you’re getting the real deal (not someone selling expensive shampoo on eBay but filling the bottle with a drugstore version). Expect to see more high-end brands offering an NFT authenticity certificate in the future.
NFTs to Bring Awareness
Some beauty brands have used NFTs to bring awareness to one of their causes. For example, to celebrate and support Pride Month, Givenchy Parfums enlisted artists to create digital artwork that was sold and profits given to its LGBT+ charitable cause. Earlier this year, L’Oreal launched a new red lipstick and enlisted female artists to create NFTs inspired by the lipstick to bring awareness to the lack of female representation in the crypto and NFT space. Profits from the NFTs went to the artists and women who are making a difference in their communities. (Side note: The NFT marketplace is currently male-dominated, with only five percent of NFT sales coming from female artists Lakoubay says she’s “fighting” to bring more women “to the forefront” in the crypto and digital worlds. “Most influential NFT artists are not women, but they have been here the whole time.”)
You can do it, too: If you want to support a cause, merely go to an NFT retailer (like opensea.io) and search “charity NFT.” Or support a brand that sells NFTs for a cause; expect to see plenty of them as the year continues.
Yes, it takes a bit of effort to familiarize yourself with the world of NFTs, but once you get there, you’ll likely get hooked on this new technology of buying, selling, and sharing art. But don’t dawdle! Fournier-Uder says: “Get on with it if you don’t want to miss the train.” She suggests videos on TikTok “that can teach you everything you need to know about it.” Undoubtedly, this space will continue to get more user-friendly as it becomes part of everyday existence. After all, as Lakoubay says, when it comes to NFTs and their role in our lives, “We’ve only scratched the surface.”