Luxury brands are no longer alien to the NFT world. From Gucci and Givenchy to Dolce & Gabbana, Bugatti, and more, some of the globe’s iconic luxury brands have already forayed into the Web3 world. While some have dropped their own NFTs, several others have marked their presence in the metaverse. As the luxury industry takes giant strides in the space, the curated NFT marketplace, Exclusible, is bringing luxury to the metaverse.
Founded last year, Exclusible is a premium marketplace for luxury brands in fashion, beauty, watches, jewellery, lifestyle, and supercars. But, Exclusible’s offerings go beyond that of a mere NFT marketplace. As a matter of fact, Exclusible is taking the digital luxury experience to new heights. The platform, after all, has established itself in the metaverse with a slew of luxury villas and private islands.
Understanding Exclusible’s early days
Serial entrepreneurs Thibault Launay and Romain Girbal first came up with the idea in Spring 2021, said Olivier Moingeon, Exclusible’s Chief Commercial Officer. Soon enough, they built a team with a wealth of experience in diverse fields. Artur Goulão, their Chief Technology Officer, for instance, is the founder of Utrust, a leading cryptocurrency payment gateway. Chief Operating Officer, Pierre Guigourese, is an NFT collector with a high-level consulting background. On the contrary, Olivier Bureau, Chief Digital Officer, is an entrepreneur with 15 years of experience leading technical and marketing teams. To sum up, from blockchain to entrepreneurship and luxury, the team boasts invaluable experience.
“The one common element between all of us is that we are all NFT collectors*,” Moingeon told NFTevening. He has over 18 years of experience in the luxury industry and has worked with Cartier, Goyard, and as the CEO of Bastide.
“We all share the common vision of what NFTs and blockchain can bring to brands, athletes, and celebrities, as the metaverse is being built,” he added. “We think that it’s an incredible opportunity to tell your story differently and to connect with an entirely new audience in a very rich and creative way.”
Initially, Exclsuible started off as the Farfetch or Net-a-porter (platforms for luxury fashion) for NFTs, Moingeon said. In other words, a marketplace dedicated to NFTs from luxury brands. At the time, amid a flurry of marketplaces like OpenSea that mostly catered to art, there was a significant dearth of luxury-focused NFT platforms.
“Knowing luxury, we knew that these environments were not conducive for luxury brands to really start their journey into Web3,” he recalled. “So, we set out to build a platform that didn’t exist back then.”
From an NFT marketplace to the metaverse
The team officially launched Exclusible in late October 2021 with their own collection, called the Alpha NFT collection. The NFTs in the collection serves as VIP membership card for community members. To be specific, Alpha collection holders enjoy special privileges and benefits, especially regarding all future drops on the platform.
It was around this time that the then Facebook announced its metaverse move and suddenly, the metaverse was on everyone’s lips. The market dynamics shifted drastically and everyone wanted to be part of this new digital world phenomenon. This wasn’t really surprising given how Web3 is a rapidly-evolving space.
For Exclusible, NFTs and the metaverse were always part of its vision, said Moingeon. “NFT is the product—it’s the what and metaverse is the how and where…Metaverse is the experience that the brand can create for its aspirational consumers.”
With Facebook’s announcement, it was time for Exclsuible to prioritize its “metaverse strategy”. As a first step, the company bought $1.8 million worth of land on The Sandbox. Its vision—to create “the ultimate digital luxury experience” in the metaverse. Additionally, the team started hosting events in Decentraland, another popular metaverse in the Web3 space.
“We are doers. We come from doing things, instead of theorising, or talking,” he added. To that end, the team wasted no time in building on the virtual land. First, they developed the ‘Exclusible Luxury District’ in The Sandbox with a total of 150 luxury villas. Then, the Exclusible Private Islands followed suit.
“We created that entire revenue stream very quickly—real estate promotion in the metaverse,” Moingeon added. “[This] allows us to then create activations, events, and projects on behalf of brands or celebrities.”
Exclusible luxury villas and islands are sold out
Early this year, Exclusible sold 150 Luxury Villas part of its Luxury District. To explain, the 108 parcels of Sandbox land are divided into four parts—three luxurious cities and an Exclusible hub. Built by Exclusible and The Sandbox, all villas are unique, modern, and luxurious. All premium villas are also fully furnished with top-notch designs. What’s more, Exclusible will regularly give players exciting pieces to decorate their villas.
More importantly, all villa owners will have access to a range of events in the metaverse. This includes celebrity shows, fashion shows, VIP parties, and more. Moreover, Exclusible has built several games to keep the players immersed in the virtual world. The Exclusible Hub, on the other hand, will have a large shopping mall, museums, and several other experiences.
Full disclosure—recognising the potential of the Luxury Villas, NFTevening also purchased one after NFT Paris.
Soon after the Luxury District drop, Exclusible launched 25 exotic Private Islands on The Sandbox for high net worth individuals. The idea was to create a space for exclusive members and VIPs of the community to relax in luxurious settings. The collection was quickly sold out through a private sale, raking in 910 ETH or about $2.9 million at the time. Some of the celebrity island owners include PSG football star Marco Verratti, former Victoria’s Secret model Sara Sampaio, and Swiss tennis star Stan Wawrinka, among others.
Why is the metaverse important for luxury brands?
According to Moingeon, the metaverse is “very important” for luxury brands. As more and more people go digital, it has become imperative for luxury brands to adapt and innovate to appeal to new users.
“I think that no one better than luxury brands can make people dream,” he added. “And they have mastered the art of storytelling and aspirational experiences through fashion shows, photoshoot campaigns, and the beauty and craftsmanship behind their products…So, the metaverse is a natural evolution of the business model, which comes as a new division within the architecture of every single brand.”
Amid the pandemic, the need to innovate became all the more essential for luxury brands. For this reason, most of the big players “conquered” all distributions channels, including physical stores and social media. But, as Moingeon explained, here’s the problem—all of these channels are becoming “crowded”. And, it’s getting “harder and harder” and “more costly to grow”.
“Right now, everything is doing well—the luxury brands are booming,” he added. “But, in a few years from now, when everything normalizes, how do you find levers of growth? And that’s when the metaverse becomes this gigantic opportunity to literally develop a new creative experience that just doesn’t exist.”
The metaverse and limitless creativity
Already, the newer generations—Gen alpha and Gen Z—are spending money on skins and accessories in games like Fortnight or Roblox, Moingeon said. Similarly, when a luxury brand starts selling those items to be used on different platforms, “it’s an absolute no-brainer that there will be an entire audience and entire wave of consumers that are going to spend money to buy those.”
That said, he stressed that metaverses are not going to replace retail stores or even physical products. Rather, it will simply be “an additional layer of engagement and virtual commerce”. Moreover, it will target “a new consumer with a product that doesn’t exist…it means that it can have limitless creativity, because all of a sudden, you have no boundaries.”
Exclusible aims to become a metaverse partner for luxury brands
After Exclusible raised €2.2 million in a seed round in August 2021, the team is currently raising their second round of funds, Moingeon said. In the coming months, the platform will continue to develop NFT projects for luxury brands. It will also expand its “metaverse footprints” in collaboration with celebrities, artists, and athletes.
Just days back, Exclsuible sold out its latest NFT collection, Crypto Cameos, created in partnership with the Italian Jewellery brand, Amedeo. Around five to seven more collections in collaboration with “prominent luxury brands” are also in the pipeline.
As it aims to build the future of luxury, Exclusible is planning to expand its metaverse presence. In fact, the team is in discussion with several other metaverses to build luxury worlds there, Moingeon added.
“Our objective is to be a gateway or a metaverse partner for luxury brands, celebrities, and athletes—everything that has to do with a luxury lifestyle,” he said. “Whatever fits these individuals or brands’ strategies better, we want to be able to say ‘you know what, we can help you build your experience.’”
Having said that, Moingeon emphasises that Exclusible is not exactly a virtual real estate company. “We are basically the partner that helps the brands to build the most engaging activations with our community…With our network of builders and agencies that can create all these activations.”
Bringing the next million people to NFTs
As Exclusible strives to become the metaverse partner for luxury brands, it is important to also attract non-crypto savvy customers. After all, currently, the NFT market heavily caters to the crypto community. So, how can the company appeal to users that have never bought crypto before? Well, Exclsuible’s plan is to integrate payment by credit card on the website.
This way, Moingeon hopes the firm can fulfill one of its many visions—“To bring the next million people onto NFTs and traditional luxury clients into the world of Web3, NFTs, and the metaverse.”
*Quotes have been condensed and edited for clarity