A World Of NFT-Enabled Budsies, Selfies, & Petsies

September 11, 2022

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Notature

According to CEO of Budsies Companies, Scott Meier:

"Adding NFT technology to physical products could transform the collectibles industry”

With one foot firmly planted in the future of Budsies, and the other in honoring the illustrious 9+ year history of the world leader in custom plush manufacturing, innovation in the plush toys market is at an exciting new frontier.   

Meier spoke with SmartSeal about how he discovered the team's product which offered the NFT tagging of physical items using its proprietary Smart Tags. This conversation is filled with the potential of NFTs beyond current uses as digital collectibles and the working relationship SmartSeal has created with Budsies to achieve this. Let's dive in.

We have to understand the best parts of what NFTs are and bring that service into what we do on the custom side and the bulk side. - Scott Meier

Pictures of pets, a girl with a doll, and a boy with a painting of his toy.

The event that led to finding SmartSeal 

As a result of the NFT craze, holders of popular projects began ordering plush versions of their NFTs from Budsies.  This led Meier to, as he puts it, “follow the yeses.” With his intuition sparked, Meier began to seek out how to authenticate the NFTs of the holders who wanted to make the physical plush version. During that search, he came across SmartSeal and “immediately saw the potential” of these special NFC chips cryptographically linked to an NFT.  

A solution that makes sense

As a fan of limited-edition collections, Meier understood the value of artists signing their work and labeling each piece as a unique number in the traditional handwritten sense. After initial conversations, he wanted to take the innovative step of incorporating that tradition with the technologically advanced solutions SmartSeal had to offer.  

It was important for SmartSeal to have ongoing conversations with Scott to discover the needs for Budsies and how SmartTags can serve as a viable solution which led to Scott revealing two findings as he describes:

  • "The idea of being able to sell a Physical NFT for cash."
  • "How do I authenticate an owner?"

As an online retailer, Budsies understood that there needs to be an easy onboarding process which allows customers to buy a plush as they normally would with any online purchase, without the added fall-off that occurs when an end customer isn’t already a blockchain native.

“Ultimately, the NFT experience should be invisible, and customers can choose to interact with it if they want to, knowing that it means something if they need it. In its simplest form, an immutable certificate of authenticity.” 

gif of Stuffed Animal Pros logo

The Case of Unicorn Steve 

You’re not just buying a plush to sit on the shelf or hug and play with, you’re buying proof of fandom. - Scott Meier

As Meier describes, “Unicorn Steve is just the beginning of the Budsies Character Universe.” The focus becomes the intellectual property that can be embedded into the Budsies flagship characters powered by the NFC:NFT tagging of the plush itself to create a novel experience beyond the product.  

Meier has a deep understanding of the NFT space which made this chat nuanced surrounding the features that NFTs are able to provide with Unicorn Steve in the collectibles industry:

  • Verifiable ownership 
  • Ease of trading
  • Proof of loyalty
  • Gateway to the content world 

This is possible through connecting the experiences NFTs provide with the physical product itself by way of the NFC tags that are embedded into Unicorn Steve. Meier details that Budsies is still in the “front end of this” which, in working with SmartSeal is actively taking steps towards revolutionizing the collectibles industry with NFT-enabled products which offers a branded experience beyond the physical toy.   

[Read: How Collectible Sub-Economies Will Drive the Future of Consumer Commerce]

Bringing new experiences to today’s shoppers

As previously stated, Meier wants to meet shoppers where they are when introducing this new form of product. He wants customers to be able to purchase a Budsie without the Web3 transaction while providing an NFT-driven experience.  The fact that this is an NFT should only be visible if the customer cares about that. It’s really more of a seal of authenticity, but with way more functionality. 

With that in mind, Meier mentions that he is in “talks with big box retailers to bring this technology to the masses.” He is preparing to scale the “Beyond-the-product'' experience, so people can have the opportunity to enjoy an NFT-enabled Budsie without the need for a crypto wallet or cryptocurrency…. more to come. 

Meier’s vision to incorporate the SmartSeal solution to deliver a plush toy that connects the customer to an entirely new experience by bridging the product to its NFT. This offers a host of branded activations/participations for an entirely new class of products that has not been introduced to the market.

Working with SmartSeal 

The strength of the team is that we're listening to each other's needs and working together to create this thing. - Scott Meier

The collectibles industry is only going to continue to grow in the years to come and Budsies is perfectly positioned to bring in a new product that is linked to a NFC:NFT tag which allows customers to enjoy the excitement NFTs has brought thus far. This transforms how collectibles are utilized, not only in the primary and secondary market, but how brands can engage with their fans in a new way. 

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