[FF Story] How we started Futures Factory back in 2021

Futures Factory’s core missions are to empower footwear designers, improve the way people interact and consume sneakers, and offer a sustainable demand-driven distribution model for footwear brands.

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On a mission to empower creatives in the sneakers industry.

Futures Factory’s core missions are to empower footwear designers, improve the way people interact and consume sneakers, and offer a sustainable demand-driven distribution model for footwear brands.

What is Futures Factory?

A sneakers platform...

Futures Factory is a sneakers platform merging both the physical and digital worlds through Augmented Reality & NFTs.

… offering virtual and physical sneakers…

You can find two types of sneakers at Futures Factory.

Virtual-only sneakers that you will be able to collect, play within video games, display on your feet, or anywhere else using Augmented Reality.

“Futures” are sneakers (= with the same characteristics as above) but they will be physically manufactured and available to redeem by the owner of the NFT.

… gathering a community of fans, artists, and brands, creating new opportunities.

The social features will be as important as the sale/distribution features. We realized that one of the most important needs for designers is to create stronger connections with their audience and have access to work opportunities with brands and collaborations with other designers.

FF will allow them to showcase their work, discuss and share the revenue and royalties in a seamless way as part of project collaboration.

Customers will be able to display their sneakers in virtual rooms or directly from their phones.

Led by an expert team

The founding team includes Nicolas Romero as CEO and Alexandre Frih as CTO. Nicolas Romero is the founder of Satoshi Studio, the 1st sneaker brand using NFTs. Alexandre Frih is the initiator and architect of the Aura blockchain at LVMH.

Futures Factory co-founders, Nicolas Romero, CEO (left) & Alexandre Frih, CTO (right)

With an engaged community

With a community of +30 passionate footwear designers and brands, Futures Factory’s goal is to engage its users as stakeholders and provide them an infrastructure to leverage the decentralized web.

Futures Factory intends to give back, invest in the design community, and allow the creator economy to strive.

Why Futures Factory?

It began with sustainability

We created Satoshi Studio, our own sneakers brand, in 2018. Satoshi Studio is using blockchain to create a more transparent and circular model. We are using NFTs to create a digital twin of each pair of sneakers. Satoshi Studio was the 1st sneakers brand to link physical products to NFTs.

On each NFT, the customer has access to all kinds of information on the product (suppliers, materials, description). In the future, the NFT will grant access to third-party services like repairing, reselling, recycling programs. The implementation of blockchain is useful because you can use the same decentralized infrastructure with other brands (without sharing any information on customers) and build on top of it in a collaborative way.

Having a focus on sustainability, we are using a pre-sale model: it is a no-waste model, driven by demand.

But the experience wasn’t great

Pre-sales models often require time to communicate, finance, manufacture, and ship the sneakers. The main pain point for customers is the waiting time, they are left to wait for 4 months or more with nothing else than a bill receipt and a few updates by newsletters.

So we decided to do something about it

Lean production models are part of the answer when it comes to solving the issues the industry is facing. But very few brands are leveraging them.

Our main assumption was that NFTs and AR filters could be used to finance the production of sneakers, make the waiting time and collecting more entertaining, and create new interactions between the consumers and the brands.

What’s more, by using NFTs and AR filters, we can finally value and monetize a designers’ concept sneakers that so many fans love but yet have no chance to be produced.

For many years, designers have been creating concept kicks to build their audience, express their visual identity and find opportunities with brands. Some design students already have more than +10k followers on IG just by sharing their concept kicks.

We interviewed 23 designers, brands, and sneakerheads to verify our assumptions and get as many insights as we could.

That’s when we started Futures Factory.

We want to change the way brands pre-finance their production.

Small/intermediate brands can sell Futures (a.k.a future physical sneakers) to finance their production. The fashion industry needs more “demand-driven” models.

We want to empower sneakers designers.

Creating new opportunities for them to meet and share their skills with others, connect with their audience and generate new revenue streams.

We want to improve how people consume and interact with sneakers.

Providing a new experience for collectors to trade sneakers more entertainingly and efficiently Futures Factory offers virtual-only sneakers that you can collect, play within video games, display on your feet or anywhere else using Augmented Reality. “Futures” are virtual sneakers that are backed by real physical sneakers and can be redeemed by the owner of the NFT.

Helios “Genesis” by Robert Quach for Futures Factory

Our Goals

Be the leading sneakers marketplace for digital and future physical sneakers.

  • Designers and brands will be collaborating with us, all the major footwear designers and brands will have their own FF profile.
  • Futures Factory will be the leading NFT startup focused on sneakers.
  • We will make the fashion industry more transparent, creative, and inclusive. How? By creating features around traceability, transparency, and circularity, by giving back and investing into our community, by allowing the creator economy to strive instead of just making big brands more powerful.

We started discussing with designers and brands back in September 2020 to make our user research and we have been helped by talented designers from brands like Nike, Adidas, Anta, Reebok, Puma, Y-3, Balmain, Filling Pieces, Agent33, Rombaut, and more.

We want to start with footwear designers and virtual-only sneakers because it’s easier for them to understand the concept. NFTs are the digital format that will allow creators to capture more from the value they create.

NFTs are what make every content on the internet ownable and we all know the importance for creators to own their IP.

We are here to create specific features for the sneakers market and to give designers the tools to leverage the decentralized web in the best way possible.

In the short term, NFTs are an amazing opportunity for creators. In the medium-long term, the real opportunity (and challenge) is to bring big brands to participate and leverage these new tools to produce more responsibly, be more transparent and responsible.

The fashion industry embraces not only the business of fashion but also the art, production, and consumption. We believe NFTs will have a positive impact in each area.

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