Even during a crypto bear market where sales of non-fungible tokens are down, the price of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT still remains above six figures while Bored Ape holders party at Ape Fest and NFT.NYC this week.
18-year-old Ricky da Luz discovered how to exploit this space with physical items. Passionate about designing toys, he started messaging NFT Bored Ape owners on Twitter, offering to make replicas of their apes for free.
Before starting IsmToys, he saved around $10,000 mowing lawns and used that capital to make the first free toys to give away to members of the Bored Ape community. His first Bored Ape toy was ordered in January for around $400. Today, he is the founder of IsmToys, which he runs with his father, Tony da Luz, and a team of six people.
“We’re tripling our efforts to help Web2 businesses enter the Web3 space, while converting their audience into Web3 people“, explains the young da Luz. “We link the toys to actual NFTs and the digital assets serve as authenticators for the toys.”
Company has so far generated over $700,000 in toy-related revenue, which comes from a combination of commissioned one-off creations that sell for an average of $700 (but some can reach $2,400) and various other toys including the price varies between 50 and 200 dollars.
Lean on Bored Apes
Last year, he reached out to 100 Twitter users who had Bored Ape NFTs as their profile picture, and about five responded.
A holder of Bored Ape, @phibacka31, accepted the free toy from Ricky da Luz, then showed it to other holders and spread the word. “Without the Bored Ape community, IsmToys would not exist“, said Mr. da Luz.
In the traditional internet space, if you give a celebrity a toy, it wouldn’t even be noticed. But in Web3, more users are likely to try their luckhe added.
Within the Bored Ape community in particular, members have an extremely strong bond with the brand, which is why Ricky da Luz reached out to them first. And some go by their name on the Internet, saying they identify more with their web name than their birth name.
Personalized toys are something people can relate to since the physical world is still what people know best, Ricky said.
“A lot of people think the metaverse is cool, but at the end of the day, we’re still in the physical world, and we have physical things“, he said. “So having something that you can touch, a physical representation of your identity is huge.“