Block Chatter #3: The Fashion Of Blockchain

Dawid Paluch
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How to combine fashion with blockchain technology? How to give the crypto community more style? Why is it important to do high-quality products? We talk with Nicolas Romero, the creator of Satoshi Studio.

In the last episode of Block Chatter we spoke with David Koepsell from Encrypgen. This time, however, we are more into fashion.

Dawid Paluch: How did you come up with the idea of a shoe brand?

Nicolas Romero: My Co-founder Cedric is a Python and Solidity developer, and we’ve worked on several blockchain projects together before starting Satoshi Studio. We’re both sneakers fans. We know that one of the biggest problems when you want to buy a pair of sneakers, especially the exclusive one, there is always counterfeiting. You can’t trust people on the internet, even retailers.

When I heard about the Lukso.network project in 2017, I realized that blockchain could provide trustworthy infrastructure for brands and consumers while tackling the problem of counterfeiting.

D.P.: So, you use the blockchain as a tool to secure transactions.

N.R.: Yeah, for transactions, but also to provide an authenticity stamp on all physical products. It is viewable on any smartphone with our app. It is a kind of digital identity of each physical product. With digital identity, you can put in the products like material, leather information about the production and so on. And then, you can link it with the owner. It can be very useful for reselling or recycling, for example.

You have your own token. 

We have a token for Satoshi Studio, an ERC-20 token that we use to incentivize our backers and reward them when they want to recycle their worn-out Satoshi sneakers. But for physical products, it is another token. It is a non-fungible token. We are talking about ERC-721 created by Ethereum developers. 

Why, though, ERC-721? What are the advantages of that solution?

For those products, it was really perfect because non-fungible tokens are better for individual identity. For a person or physical product, it works better.

You’ve launched your campaign on Kickstarter…

This is our main business model. We want to make high-quality products and sell them for a fair price on pre-sale. We want to work directly with manufacturers and sell the products on short campaigns. And then, with our token, we want to incentivize our supporters. But, we plan to copy the Kickstarter model and do it directly on our e-shop because it offers us flexibility.

And you didn’t think about ICO, IPO, or anything like that for raising funds?

We thought about that, but we didn’t do that. We boost up the project with our own money. We want to test it first. So we’ve partnered with Arianee for the blockchain solution. Then, after the launch of our first product, maybe later we will use other forms of raising money.

We are already profitable right now. We want to test the idea of digital ownership, and show how the solution works, and what we can offer to the community and customers.

You’ve mentioned a fair price. You have $120 in pre-order and $180 in a regular sale. And there are people who…

…Ask about the price? $180 price involves more of marketing activities. If we use a regular business model with retailers and everything, it would be much higher. We took materials from Northern Italy. It is created in Portugal, in the same factory as Givenchy. So it is a high-quality product, and it could cost much, much more if we were already a proven brand. But we decided to offer sneakers at – in our estimation – a good price. Even if we get famous, I don’t think we will want to sell them for $200 or more. $120 is a good price for the Satoshi_one.

Can you take me through the whole process of making those shoes?

We have a friend who studied at Parsons School of Design, which is a really great school for designers. Then, she worked for a huge company in France. She introduced me to our partners in Portugal. We talked with them. We are not from the fashion industry. So we don’t know too much. So we talked with them, and they advised us about the designs, materials, etc.

Basically, we did it like that.

We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. We are working with very good suppliers in Italy, near Vicentino, in the north. In six months, we developed our prototype.

Then, we were focused mostly on the solution. We worked with our blockchain provider Arianee. It was really interesting to work on this project because it is still the beginning of blockchain in the fashion industry.

How many clients do you have? What is your target group?

First, we were focused on the crypto community, but we very quickly realized that a lot of people outside crypto and blockchain were interested in our development, because it is an innovative, nice-looking product. A lot of people were interested in it and asked questions about blockchain in general. 

Right now, we have more than 500 clients. It’s not so little, as for the first brand, but it isn’t any huge number either. For now, we don’t have retailers. It is a possibility for us. Many professionals contacted us via social media. They were interested in buying a few hundred pairs of shoes. So it could be a nice boost. Right now, we are focusing on our e-shop and the Kickstarter campaign.

What about the distribution process? Do you do it all by yourself?

We work with a French company, which is called Supply Web. They do the logistics for us.

You accept payments in 5 cryptocurrencies (BTC, LTC, BCH, ETH, USDC). Will there be more of them?

Right now, no, unfortunately. We use Coinbase Payments, so we can’t have more coins. But in the future, maybe. We are already in talks with one company – Unbank.mobi  (Cashback startup with a crypto-currency). We’ve also made an offer for several blockchain startups. We told them that if they make sufficient order, they can use their token if they want and offer the sneakers to their employees or partners.

You are also planning to launch the app. When will it happen?

The application is already in the beta-phase. It will be ready just after the first deliveries. It is still a prototype, but we will improve it with time and additional funding.

You revealed Satoshi One. What now?

We’ve thought about several new developments, but right now it is a secret.

Satoshi One will be distributed in October.

Yes, because in September we have to buy all the leather, and it will take some time. We will be ready to ship shoes in October. There aren’t any big orders. For now, we have 500 orders. That is not that many, so we won’t be prioritized by our manufacturer in Portugal.

And what about plans for the future?

Our main goal is to create a circular economy, which will enable our customers to send back old products for recycling, and earn our Satoshi Studio Token to buy new products.

We want to make it sure that our products will become resources of tomorrow. By creating this model of operation, we want to partner with other brands to create several collections and bring them to this new, more responsible model. That is our long-term goal.

At last, but not least: what have those sneakers in common with Satoshi Nakamoto? Is it only a brand name, or is there something more?

No, it is definitely more. First, we wanted to create a community. We wanted to use a name that everybody can relate to. Something that would be easy to remember. That is just the beginning.

Nicolas Romero: CEO and co-founder of Satoshi Studio. He graduated from European Business School with a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Before starting Satoshi Studio, he co-founded a research group that brings together investors, developers, entrepreneurs and crypto enthusiasts in France. The group was dedicated to explore and develop valuable new insights from blockchain and expand the boundaries of theory through practice.

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