Image source: Benzinga
Gary Vaynerchuk made a name for himself by converting his VeeFriends doodles to NFTs, earning a trading volume of over $300 million.
VeeFriends won a Christie’s auction seat, a brand partnership, and a slot at the VeeCon convention in May.
This time around, the project gets another update when characters transform into toy chain toys in US department stores.
VeeFriends will hit the shelves of Macy’s and Toys “R” Us brands as plush and vinyl figures this month.
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.
Characters like Patient Panda, Practical Peacock, and Willful Wizard will be randomly distributed in “blind boxes,” which will end up in people’s homes as real collectibles.
The first wave of toys will go on sale on October 17th.
Potential owners can also order them from Macy’s, Toys R Us, and VeeFriends websites.
Toys ‘R’ Us
Although Toys R Us was once a popular independent chain, bankruptcy proceedings forced it to close in 2018.
Andy Krainak, president of VeeFriends, said the iconic brand holds a special place in Vaynerchuk’s heart as a toy collector and toy flipper.
They shared in a press release that the deal meant more to Vaynerchuk than anyone could have ever imagined.
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 based on Vaynerchuk’s marker-based doodles, Series 2 NFTs have a more refined look with cartoon-like features.
This was done to provide a backbone for potential VeeFriends products such as clothing, games, packaged food, and more.
Vaynerchuk explained that VeeFriends needs to “stand up to intellectual property” and resort to more sophisticated character designs for their creations.
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 game.
“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 for books, video games, and other formats, the company is still in its infancy when it comes to creating everyday online content.
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 support expansion after the volatile state of the cryptocurrency market in recent months.
The transition from NFTs to consumer products will be difficult.
Developers generally don’t want to diminish the value or appeal of NFT by appealing to a wider audience.
However, with VeeFriends, Gary Vaynerchuk and his team decided to reward certain NFT owners with free products like toys and other partnerships, including clothing.
Collectors who have NFTs of characters that turn into toys have until October 18 to request a free version.
They also get perks 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.”