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As the NFT brand grows, VeeFriends toys are coming to Macy’s and Toys “R” Us

Gary Vaynerchuk is an investor and entrepreneur. His hand-drawn VeeFriends sketches were turned into NFTs and generated more than $300 million in trading volume, a Christie’s auction, brand partnerships, and May’s VeeCon convention. The leading department store chain in America will soon start carrying toys featuring Gary Vee’s characters.

Later this month, VeeFriends will introduce plush and vinyl toys via Macy’s and its Toys”R”Us brand, which is relaunching across all Macy’s locations in the US. The toys, created in partnership with toy and entertainment startup Toikido, are based on a total of 10 VeeFriends characters from the larger NFT collection.

Characters created by Vaynerchuk, such as the Practical Peacock, Willful Wizard, and Patient Panda, are being made into stuffed animals and vinyl figurines that are presented at random in “blind boxes.” Starting on October 17, the initial batch of toys will be for sale in stores as well as online at the VeeFriends, Macy’s, and Toys”R”Us websites.

Once a well-known independent chain, Toys”R”Us closed in 2018 as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.The “iconic brand” has a special place in Vaynerchuk’s heart as a toy collector, according to VeeFriends president Andy Krainak. Vaynerchuk stated in a news statement that the agreement “means way more to me than you could ever imagine.”

VeeFriends’ transition from an NFT experiment to a mainstream brand was hinted at when the project unveiled its Series 2 line earlier this year. While Vaynerchuk’s personal marker-based doodles served as the inspiration for the first 10,255 Ethereum NFTs (published in 2021), the 55,000 new Series 2 NFTs on Polygon have a more polished, cartoon-like appeal.

The project VeeFriends’ transition from NFT to mainstream products was hinted at earlier this year when That was done on purpose, according to Vaynerchuk, who stated in May, to serve as the foundation for a wide range of possible VeeFriends products, including goods like clothes, packaged foods, games, and more. Then, according to Vaynerchuk, VeeFriends needed to “stand up the intellectual property” by switching to character designs for his ideas that were more substantial and fleshed out.

VeeFriends is still based on Vaynerchuk’s emphasis on inspirational content, which has helped him become a well-known figure on social media and a best-selling author, among other things. Krainak said he no longer sees VeeFriends as merely an NFT play as the enterprise expands into additional categories of content and goods.

“If you asked me a year ago, I would say VeeFriends is an NFT company. 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.”

As the company experiments with novels, video games, and other mediums, Krainak said to anticipate additional narrative opportunities for VeeFriends in the future. In terms of producing daily online content, he claimed that the organisation is still in its “infancy,” but that its objective is to use story-driven initiatives to help both the community and the general public “fall in love with the characters.”

The launch of Macy’s/Toys”R”Us follows the announcement in July of a $50 million seed investment round led by venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz. In light of the current volatility in the cryptocurrency market, Krainak stated that the funds will help with the expansion.

“As we all can tell, we are in a little bit of a crypto winter and potentially a looming recession,” he said. “Above anything else, it’s just a security measure to make sure that we feel like we’re capable and in the right position to continue to build this company for the foreseeable future. Having partners and taking that funding allows us to do so.”

It can be challenging to strike the right balance when expanding a brand from an exclusive NFT endeavour into mass-market goods since the creators don’t want to lose the attraction or value of the original NFT source material by doing so.

In the case of VeeFriends, Vaynerchuk and his team have decided to give some NFT holders free products, such as these toys and other collaborations, such as clothing. Collectors who already have the NFT of any character being made into a toy can get a free version of the toy between now and October 18. They will also get special perks at upcoming toy launch events.

“We’re always 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.”

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