Super-niche is the new niche

By Jalaja Ramanunni

Chalhoub Group is taking a super-niche route to launch its brand of sneakers, Sol3mates. The new brand is targeting the intersection between sneakerheads, on one hand, and Web3 and NFT enthusiasts, on the other.

Sol3mates, pronounced ‘soulmates’, is Chalhoub Group’s new luxury, Web3-native sneaker brand that looks into disrupting current industry norms.

Campaign Middle East asked if launching NFTs helped to set the brand apart in an overcrowded sneaker market, Nick Vinckier, Co-Founder and CEO, Sol3mates, said to Campaign, “100 per cent. The Web3 angle is a very big reason for the traction we see. If we announced that Chalhoub group is creating a new sneaker brand, we wouldn’t have been able to create so much buzz in the industry. Now, we have partners in Japan, and people in Sub Saharan Africa are involved because of the Web3 aspect. So, absolutely.”

Sol3mates is a token-gated community. Community members who have purchased their NFTs get access to behind-the-scenes content, to each other and to the designer. “They are involved in the decision-making and can vote for new colourways, silhouettes and designers for the sneakers,” Vinckier added. While Web3 is a large focus for the brand, the community is at the centre of what they do. “We are extremely Web3-minded and NFTs are an essential part of our very close community. Instead of going into a two-way street, we are doing a full 360 with communication by involving them in our decisions.”

NTF-holders will have access to the limited-edition shoes when it launches in September. Once they purchase a pair of sneakers, they will receive a physical version of the shoe as well as a digital one that can be worn in Decentraland, a metaverse built, governed and owned by its users.

From May 4th to 7th, the brand is dropping 10,000 OG NFTs for 0.03 Ethereum. In simpler words, buying Sol3mates’ NFT for about $55 gets you an entry ticket into Sol3mates’ community. This will give you pre-access to the limited-edition sneakers, free global shipping, sneaker giveaways and freebies.