Beauty in the Metaverse: Web3 expert encourages beauty brands to make ‘first small steps’ into the future
“I really believe that it's time for the brands to start moving into Web3. For the first step, start small, maybe with NFTs, which is easily to play and start with,” said Jean-Philippe Hanquez, founder of Web3 consultancy MNT3.
Hanquez was speaking at a webinar event held by the Singapore Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCSS) that explored the future opportunities and challenges within the beauty industry.
He highlighted that Web3 was not just a playground for big brands, noting that he has worked with a young Singaporean brand, Omno to develop an NFT.
“The key takeaway that I would like you to remember is that even a younger brand – [Omno] is two years old – they can test, they can innovate, in order to get ready for the future.”
Recently, more and more companies have been experimenting with the Metaverse, which Hanquez said we can think of as the site of the “shopping mall of the future”.
“Now brands have to think about how they can build the shop of the future. How do brands want the experience to be like? You can even have concerts in the Metaverse so really, your imagination is the limit here,” said Hanquez, who is the founder of Web3 consultancy MNT3.
He explained that there are companies buying land in the Metaverse in anticipation of this. “You can imagine it will be a way to create experiences without having to rent expensive venues. They can also create a whole new image that we do not have at the normal shops. It unlocks a lot of creative opportunities.”
He continued: “The metaverse is a new channel of interaction, very immersive. But there are also transactional opportunities here.”
An unlikely marriage
Given the tactile nature of beauty and personal care products, Hanquez acknowledged that our industry will be pushed to think about how skin care, make-up and fragrances will translate to the digital realm.
He elaborated: “I don’t think you will be able to smell scents in the Metaverse and you won’t be able to have olfactive experiences at home. Similarly, you can’t apply skin care on yourself in the Metaverse. That is a challenge for the beauty industry.”
However, this limitation has not stopped beauty brands from trying to translate their products and experiences into the Metaverse. Hanquez highlighted how niche luxury fragrance brand Byredo has managed to dip its toes into the Metaverse quite successfully.
The Puig-owned brand collaborated with Nike-owned digital fashion start-up Rtfkt to launch an experimental Web3 perfume that was represented by wearable auras based on customised digital and physical scents.
The scents are created with 26 ingredients that represent different emotions, such as acuity, harmony, naivety, and virtue.
These fragrances will be packaged in bottles with near-field communication (NFC) tags that connect to NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens.) Each customised perfume will be launched as a digital collectible in limited quantities.
“This rethinking of fragrances is very interesting, and it will be very important to look at how people are reacting and how people are using it. If these ‘auras’ are a success, Byredo would have succeed in moving something olfactive into colours and feelings – even though you can’t really smell it,” said Hanquez.