Crypto start-ups and stealth NFT projects aren't the only ones professing to build in a bear market, as the toy retail staple Build-A-Bear has also taken up that mantle.
Famous for its customized teddy bears and other stuffed characters, the company has announced its entry into web3 with the launch of three digital collectible projects with matching physical items. The series includes a Swarovski crystal-encrusted one-of-a-kind bear.
The mint comes in partnership with NFT platform Sweet and will be launched in three phases using Polygon. Customers will be able to pay with either fiat or crypto.
The Swarovski bear will be sold via auction between Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 with a starting price of $2,500. Ten percent of the final sale price will be donated to Build-A-Bear Foundation, its philanthropic arm.
During the second auction in November, bidders will compete to win five unique silver-themed Bear NFTs that will also be accompanied by a matching physical Build-A-Bear. Then, in December, Build-A-Bear will launch 5,000 NFTs at a fixed price, with randomly generated features and rarity tiers.
Build-A-Bear has a significant customer base to tap for this, with 10 million signed-up loyalty members.
The company feels that moving into the NFT space means tapping into a market of collectors, Jenn Kretchmar, Build-A-Bear's chief digital and merchandising 0fficer, told The Block in an interview.
"We're a personalization and creator company at heart," Kretchmar said. "It's so intrinsic to who we are, so web3 is the natural progression."
"We see web3 as a journey we're on," she added. "This is a long journey."
The company has also said in previous quarterly statements it is also looking to explore gaming.
"This announcement speaks to our future in a world that is increasingly about the physical blending with the digital," Sharon Price John, president and CEO of Build-A-Bear said in a statement. "Every aspect of this multi-dimensional collection is designed to capture the appeal of our brand and the collectability of our furry friends."
Build-A-Bear's move follows a number of other custom NFT projects promising physical items into the market. Earlier this year, jeweler Tiffany & Co. partnered with Chain to create custom CryptoPunk pendants based on the coveted NFTs.
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