[FF Story] Launching a Web3 Footwear Platform

Building a startup can be a complex journey, especially when it involves unknown territories with emerging tech, fast-changing trends, and mistrust from lawmakers and some regular people outside of crypto.

Innovation & Tech

In my last article, we discussed our beginnings in Web3 and why we ultimately started to build Futures Factory.

Now, I’d like to explain how we progressed from our first hypothesis and research to building our first platform.

Building a startup can be a complex journey, especially when it involves unknown territories with emerging tech, fast-changing trends, and mistrust from lawmakers and some regular people outside of crypto.

Our initial idea for Futures Factory was to allow brands to offer virtual sneakers linked to NFTs that could finance physical production and create a better experience for collectors.

The conversations we had with independent footwear creators between late 2020 and early 2021 helped us define more precisely the benefits we could bring to them.

As a footwear brand owner myself, I knew well some of the pain points, but I wanted to build a solution that wasn’t just based on my own experience.

These are the key insights we learned by discussing with designers, brands, NFT collectors and sneakerheads around Dec 2020 / Jan 21.

We believed web3 could help lower the entry barriers for footwear creators and help them capture more value (see the previous article). This notion started by providing designers with easier ways to enter Web3 and showcase their creations.

Before we raised funds in 2021, we had a clear idea of our direction: Our go-to-market was to focus on designers, as they better understand how they could leverage Web3, were more creative and were less afraid to take risks. We wouldn’t have to deal with the logistics and long delays of physical products, as the project creator was responsible for that.

As a project backer and creator on Kickstarter, I know they have a similar approach. Also knowing that the footwear industry was really complex, it was not possible to have another position. Btw I had the opportunity to talk with Kickstarter’s founder last year, Yancey Strickler — but that’s a story for another time. 👀

In 2021, during the ‘summer of NFTs’, a few footwear designers were already experimenting on OpenSea, but they were a minority.

We built a website in a few weeks using Webflow, and collaborated with Robert Quach, a great designer at Jordan, to work on our first project.

We dropped the ‘Helios’ on Rarible in the summer of 2021. Although the drop was successful, we realized collectors wanted something more than unique digital artwork — they wanted design attributes, scarcity, and utilities, which were becoming established because of 10k collections driving the NFT market.

The Helios by Robert Quach

The initial framework (2021 — early 2022)

We decided to adopt a framework similar to what we had seen on other projects like Sorare or NBA Top Shot: scarcity levels with different utilities attached to them.

Our aim is to create Futures Factory as a collaboratively curated platform providing creators with the tools to launch their NFT projects and monetize their work autonomously, with unique features for virtual and physical sneakers, including interactive product experiences (AR, 3D viewers, try-on), tokenized pre-sale campaigns, and on-demand 3D printing/access to manufacturing partners.

The ‘capsules’ containing 111 sneakers with 3 levels of scarcity (100+10+1) were designed to be the introduction of the designers and brands to our community.

We needed to find a balance between enticing collectors with features such as rarity traits, randomization, direct mint and providing creatives with the freedom and tools they need. We didn’t want to impose a standard, but we needed to choose a comprehensible framework and test it with creators and collectors.

It was obvious that a model focused on creativity would be best aligned with my ultimate objective: to create the leading decentralized platform for footwear designers and brands. To make this vision a reality, we gathered together the most talented people to get the job done.

Where did we go from here?

In my next article, I will tell you the story of when we launched our first designers’ drops starting in February 2022. We were very excited about these drops, and with the first successes came the first stepbacks.

Stay tuned for more information soon!

Latest writings on innovation, design, fashion
related articles
from design projects to collaborations, we want to learn more about your next big idea

Get in touch with us today.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please contact nicolas@futures-factory.com