Brainstorming - which designer/firms to reach out to for creating branding guide as merch step 1

I think there is a generally favorable opinion among pretty much the entire Yuga ecosystem that we want high quality, interesting, inclusive and wide assortment of cool merch, specifically coming out of the DAO.

While others have tried to tackle this issue with some designs or ideas for a merch shop/marketplace - it feels like a very tough lift at once, considering all the moving parts where you need a big team consisting of people who are experts in designing, sourcing, online ship building, shipping and all the other supply chain logistical costs that come with it as well.

One of my ideas is that we have a discussion as a community to see what type of designers or people in the fashion world we want to reach out to and at the very least get started on step 1 (and how step 1 would even look)

Ideally this would look like

1 - Finding/ contacting and setting up a shortlist of 3-4 talented designers who are excited to work with the DAO on web3 merch and have extensive experience in that world.
2 - Setting up a proposal for a framework of an initial brandbook - this would be a piece of work/guidelines that anyone can build merch proposals on top of, not just the designer we are choosing.
3 - Using the brandbook, create mockups/designs for a few pieces of merch.
4 - Utilize Apecoin governance to really put up some designs for a vote on what direction the DAO wants the designer to focus on.
5 - Iterate on the designs and/or take a diff route based on outcome.
6 - Create a much larger proposal to do a small merch run. Proposal would require a lot of info on working with the DAO/special council/foundation to provide details on suppliers, timelines, costs etc.

What do you think? Lets get the ball rolling on this.

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It is a good idea to make cool merch and we will never have enough designs and products. All the processes look reasonable to me but one issue is, is it going to be a continuous project or a one-time thing? If doing this periodically, a project manager would be needed for monitoring the whole process.

As you mentioned, there are actually many designs and merch made by the community, and even by Yuga before. I think a major problem is, there’s no place to check past works because some may be “too decentralized” and not noticed by the larger community.

Here I need to mention my recent proposal: AIP-123: Apeverse - A Multi-language Web Hub for Ape Ecosystem and $APE Holders. There’s a merch part on the website and I plan to make the merch design a continuous thing while listing Ape-related derivative products from the community. I have resources of e-commerce and manufacturing in China and I think this could solve the logistics problem.

Back to your thread, I think it’s generally great and should be encouraged. I’m happy to see more brainstorming about the idea.

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Fashion is one of the big three that will take web3 mainstream along with games and music. I really truly think web3 and the unique structure of DAOs allows for a much more exciting, inclusive and risk managed form of investing rather than trying to partner with web2 giants.

The free, clear financial pathways of Web3 and innovative tech allows DAOs to build platforms that can attract IP and instantly reward the creators with exciting new ideas. By coming from the bottom up instead of top down, you encourage the millions of creators who haven’t had a shot yet, invigorate them and all their fans to support the DAO, and put the DAO on the leading edge of NEW talent. Plus you don’t have to give up the AAA partnerships, because once the big guys hear about what you’re doing, they’ll probably want to join up anyway to see what all the fuss is about.

For instance, if @ChrisL has low cost manufacturing, I’m much more inclined to create a fashion platform that reaches out to ALL designers for merch-a-thons (hackathons for merch) with the winner given the promise of an initial run. You get way more content, way more participants, you get to see all the new stuff, new people get encouraged, and you’re not paying for a one-time partnership that could be a flop. You’re getting a platform that consistently brings attention to the DAO for a lower cost.

The best way to use celebrity, I think, is to get your AAA designer and make him/her a judge of the contests. DAO pays less and you still get the celeb name recognition.

But yea, overall I’m in favor of building immutable tech to bring consistent IP instead of paying one person for a one time push. I’ve laid out these ideas pretty deep in music and started brainstorming them in gaming, and I very much think the same platform is much better for the DAO in fashion as well. Thoughts? (Not a coincidence I love buidling.)

PS — I’m also 100% for raising the bar on merch and creating a fashion line. I really don’t need any more hoodies. Time for the next generation of this before the next bull run comes!

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Oooh, a merch-a-thon is a fun thought!! :slight_smile:

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Curious what type of merch you guys find interesting. I was thinking about putting an AIP together that would allow us to use the ApeCoin logo in a sticker / patch set. I think some basic items should be readily available so we (I) dont have to buy knock off stickers from etsy … again. :sweat_smile:

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Mantis is on point when it comes to Working Groups across verticals, which is something that I wholeheartedly endorse. It’s what we’re trying to accomplish with ApeComms and also an IRL Events Team.

Too many splintered proposals that don’t make use of economies of scale, coordinated strategies, or consistent branding and messaging will only lead to a mash-up of products, services and general confusion in the marketplace.

The sooner we get to some sort of aligned vision the faster this DAO can deliver on our implied promises - stop working in silos for personal benefit and begin contributing to the greater good of the community.

Thank you for listening and please vote for me for Special Council

SSP - “It’s $20k a month”

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The merch-a-thon is a great idea, and it is very web3! I’ll probably take this suggestion if my proposal gets passed. I do agree we have too many T-shirts and hoodies with the simple PFP photo. To be honest I will not wear any T-shirts with others’ BAYC photos on them. We need derivative designs, not copy and paste.

If anyone noticed, in my proposal AIP-123 I put a sculpture made by a Chinese holder (I screenshotted it here). It’s a DJ-gestured Ape and it’s located in a key area in Shanghai. While the holder puts his own capital on this just for hobby, the idea of design can be learned. For example, we could make a smaller version for merchandise.

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Both @Brazy and myself would be happy to donate our time and create a playbook / asset library for ApeCoin, I think this is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later via AIP.

I also agree that in general a lot of these branding attempts recently, although well intentioned, come off as very low effort. IMO we need curated items (i like the statue) that make sense for the brand rather than the trade show special. The reason i ask about what type of merch you guys would like to see is because i think Its also important to try and be as inclusive as possible as alot of us are guilty of an ape first mentality.

Excited to see where this goes.

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I don’t think we have to let go of the Ape first mentality. As a matter of fact, we shouldn’t. My thing is Apecoin is a coin, it’s not BAYC. The DAO gets a lot farther IMHO when we start thinking "XXXX Powered by Apecoin DAO rather than yelling “Apecoin, Apecoin, Apecoin” everywhere. But Apes still get preferential treatment in the tech we build and events we throw.

My thinking is be like a16z. Andreesen doesn’t brand itself with t-shirts of a16z everywhere, but they are known by the things that are powered by a16z.

An asset library would be super dope. I would do an asset library for games similar to Steam, those assets could be Ape themed, and we could incentivize their inclusion into games by promising marketing or premier placement within the Ape system or PR that takes the devs thru the Yuga podcast ecosystem.

Good ideas here.

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Yes, exactly what i meant, although i do disagree with preferential treatment.

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Love this so much, thanks for getting the ball rolling on fashion & merch Akhil!

One fashion industry event that comes to mind is the LVMH Prize, a competition that grants 300,000 Euros to the winner as well as personalized assistance and access to industry connections from the LVMH Group (Check out these videos for competition finalists & commentary from icons like Kim Jones, Nigo, & Virgil himself).

We could model a fashion competition for upcoming designers after this, per the point @Mantis made about more content, participation, and excitement around the event! Perhaps we could even host live exhibitions during events like Apefest, or one proposed by @Novocrypto, and auction off or raffle 1/1 concept pieces by the designers.

In response to @12GAUGE’s questions, based off the demographics of NFTs and the crypto world in general, streetwear seems like an ideal fit! A recent TV series “The Hype” featured many upcoming designers, their contestant list would be a good place for us to start looking for streetwear designers.

I also was recently inspired by the League of Legend’s Worlds 2022 merch drop- their designs include puffer jackets, vests, and ponchos and even their hoodies are more elevated than the standard designs we have now:

Generally, any merch that goes beyond the standard t-shirt, hoodie, sweatpant, & baseball cap would be refreshing to see! I know for women’s fashion items like cargo pants, blazers, and varsity jackets are very popular now- the same is certainly true for men’s varsity jackets (@ChrisL please connect us with manufacturers for patches!), so there’s no shortage of creative options.

Overall existing crypto/NFT fashion pieces give me the impression the “crypto” part is the focus- excited to turn it around and put the spotlight on the “fashion” aspect :cherry_blossom:

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Now we’re getting somewhere. Thinking about bringing in new people, contests, spreading the opportunity around, stepping up… I’m loving it.

@Halina speaking of the Worlds drop, hope you checked out the video in the Bluetail thread I tagged you on. My company was a part of Worlds, and we brought talent and people of our own to the League of Legends tourney, and it’s not a stretch to get in touch with organizers if need be.

“crypto” part is the focus- excited to turn it around and put the spotlight on the “fashion” aspect :cherry_blossom:

Agreed. The “crypto” part is creating platforms that automate the administration of initiatives like what @akhilttm has in mind so the people involved (us) can focus on having fun while the platforms fund the process using all that mathy-defi stuff.

And this is where you combine the efforts of people like @Amplify to direct DAO funding into sustainable efforts, so fashion shows like what akhilttm wants aren’t a one-time event that drain DAO funds. Not saying it would, just saying that crypto has the ability to ensure that it can’t be. You can create upside potential while protecting the downside. This is a new level of productivity that I hope people recognize.

While others have tried to tackle this issue with some designs or ideas for a merch shop/marketplace - it feels like a very tough lift at once, considering all the moving parts where you need a big team consisting of people who are experts in designing, sourcing, online ship building, shipping and all the other supply chain logistical costs that come with it as well.

The tech means it’s NOT a tough lift. But we can’t do this:

1 - Finding/ contacting and setting up a shortlist of 3-4 talented designers who are excited to work with the DAO on web3 merch and have extensive experience in that world.

“extensive experience” = already rich and would take up the whole budget, and there’s no reason to do that when you have the tech that can reach out to thousands of untapped talent pools to bring you the incredible fashion ideas you need. I’m adamant on this: The DAO will achieve new levels of participation when it focuses on providing jobs and opportunities to the next generation of talented people, most likely in these hidden off countries you never knew were countries.

i’ve seen artists at little music festival booths in Serbia selling stuff that’s just as amazing as the stuff you see in the finest stores at Mall of the Emirates. With MORE style and innovation. There’s so much that hasn’t been touched!

We can use A-list celebs as judges and inspirations for the next generation. E.g. We should not try to hire Kim Jones and Niga to design for us. The DAO’s budget cannot compete with the people they have in their phones. Let’s FIND the next Virgil.

And let’s not forget our defi and infrastructure focused friends who are now working in silo (that’s why we have so much overlapping tech with small audiences instead of big efforts that combine everyone’s talents), who can help create sustainable platforms to relieve the DAO’s people of the need to worry about financing and adminstrating one-off programs!

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100% agree on this :fist:t4:

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Lots of insightful replies! Love the idea of a merch-a-thon! and not just for bayc merch but merch thats “powered by ape”

@Mantis - Theres always pros/cons to using a well known designer vs unknown. I thanks the reason I wanted to start this thread to see peoples opinions on this. Appreciate your insights here

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Thanks for getting the ball rolling! I think that merch and fashion could be a great way to bring more people into the ApeCoin ecosystem. Before the ApeComms team came together, merch was one of the things I was looking into and had spoken to several others about.

I really love @Mantis’s idea of a merch-a-thon and using untapped talent. I love how it aligns with web3 values. Ideally, would love to get the community involved as much as possible, so it’s not just designs by outsiders.

I also think a fashion line powered by $ape could be a very interesting thing to look into. I agree with @Halina that other merch would be refreshing. Most of us have closets full of hoodies and t-shirts at this point. :laughing:

I also believe women’s merch and clothing in the crypto space is an untapped market. Most of the women I’ve spoken with are frustrated with the merch in the NFT space. Everything is very baggy and there rarely is anything that fits a woman well. Women want more options than just hoodies and t-shirts. A lot of them make their own merch. When I’ve asked in the past what types of thing they would like to see for ApeCoin merch, some of the items they have suggested (it was spring when I asked) are women’s fit crop tops, tanks, t-shirts, shorts, dresses, swimsuits, bucket hats, beanies, and possibly scarves (not everyone liked that idea). There was a joking request for Apecoin pepper spray too, lol

In the broader community other ideas for types of ApeCoin merch I saw discussed were workout clothes. Down the road, a workout clothing line might have the potential to do very well if it was done right.

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The idea of working with small, up-and-coming designers really excites me – it feels like we could really make a difference and help them become more influential. I totally understand the concerns around finding designers and making sure they’re a good fit, but I believe that giving the little guys a chance can really pay off. I’ve seen it time and time again on projects I’ve run – the smaller, nimbler teams always seem to outperform the bigger, more established ones.

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So true - the community is amazing. I feel like we need to get things done soon. We want everyone - not just Ape holders - to feel that sense of being part of one of the biggest projects out there. We need a balance of flashy things, minimal items, and even troll items to get everyone all crazy about it. Azuki lighters were one of the coolest items I got at NFT NYC. I noticed that our quality of merch over time has been going down but every other project has stepped up its game.

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This is fire!! League really has stepped up their game over time. I lowkey want to get it HAHAH!

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Thanks for raising this. While I’m not big on merch, I recognize how tremendous of an impact this element can have on not only the brand, but the community. It’s so clearly a point of emphasis for so many casual holders and even simply fans of the IP… one need only look at the responses when token-gated Yuga merch drops happen, specifically from non-holders who only wish they could cop some.

To me, the first miss came from the second major merch drop, with the “Bored to Death” and “Mutant Slime” designs… the collection felt incredibly out of step with the rest of the merch up to that point. While it was still a success from a sales standpoint, many of those designs left us longing for something better and scratching our heads as to how some of these things made it off the cutting room floor.

Love Halina’s remark, the League of Legends stuff is an intriguing approach. And we most certainly need to better incorporate more distinctively women’s apparel into the mix as well. I for one am intrigued to see the next step on this… and ideally open the offerings up to non-holders as well. That’s going to be where we really see things get interesting, and not in a “Spencers Gifts” kinda way either.

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