I learned about NFTs in the summer of 2021. On the heels of leverage trading crypto, being liquidated, then taking a pause, I was hungry to learn about the new buzz word “NFTs”.
I met a new friend last summer. He was a pro in web3, blue chip holder and I basically pressured him into mentoring me. (Shout out to @Muleman69)
I minted my first NFT, learned about generative collections, and got an idea.
My mentor mentioned the staggeringly low number of women in the NFT space and it was at this moment a lightbulb went off.
I feel I should share the following – I am an artist. Not the traditional sort. The sort that is a hairstylist and salon owner, has had a clothing line, jewelry line, watercolor art shows. The sort that does not have an MFA, but does have an incredibly keen eye for things that look and feel amazing.
During the start of COVID, I began playing around with Procreate, the digital art app. iPad and Apple pencil in tow, I set to getting my inner turmoil down on the screen, and what came of it was the start of my NFT project, SleepwalkersNFT.com, only I didn’t know it yet. It was a peaceful, at times emotional, and cathartic process. Never could I have imagined I’d be making this into a project containing 8,888 of these personal pieces.
The process of layering and creating the format for a generative project came naturally to me. I liked the logic of it. This goes here, that goes there, layers were layered and percentages assigned. I was in love with this process and am even considering doing it all over again. I will, however, do things differently.
For starters, I’d had little to no experience in the NFT space; A common refrain heard amongst my peers. I was lucky enough to be connected with incredible developers who were able to handle the generative and solidity work. This was incredibly expensive and my mentor and I self funded this. I naively thought my being a woman, the art, the 9 $10,000 giveaways, and my passion about altruism in the mental health space would guarantee an immediate sell-out. I had also watched many projects selling out with ease, and I felt the money we spent would be back in our wallets in a matter of weeks. It was October of 2021, and the future looked bright. My project was set to mint October 25th 2021. I had done zero marketing, and I truly felt this would just magically happen.
The mint date arrived and it was crickets. I was deflated and defeated. Not only did I barely sell 10, I had also given about 400 free mints to another nft project community, who quickly turned around and listed these on secondary below mint. I paused the mint and quickly realized I needed to pivot. One of my strongest qualities- being open to the pivot. What I needed was marketing. Marketing would solve this whole problem. Sell-out on the horizon!
New marketing strategy in-tow, I set out holding daily spaces, making connections and working with twitter “influencers” to spread the word about my project. We set a new mint date for December. We upped our donation to our non-profit to 20% of the project. It would be a win for sure. The mint date came and went. I think I sold 3 out of an almost 9k collection.
It was at this point my marketing was so disappointed, they bailed, and I also realized the thousands I’d spent on “influencers” drove mostly bots to my discord and twitter. So deflated once more, I pivot again.
I also feel it’s necessary to share here- The consistent feedback I am still receiving to this day goes something like this, “ You are amazing, your perspective is great, your artwork is incredible, you just need more eyes on your project, your time is coming.” I too, believe these things to be true. Gone are my feelings of naivete, I simply want to figure out the channels to bring thoughtful eyes to my project.
My take on having a generative project today goes something like this – There is no formula. There is no magical roadmap that will make a project sell out, and there are no influencers or 1 person marketing teams that will sell out your project. If they promise this, ask for the receipts, and do your due diligence. The truth is, nfts are an imperfect science, and to have huge success in this space is not easy. It takes grit, determination, real belief in your project, and the patience to see it through, even when there may be a deafening silence on your mint day.
My advice is to take your time and build as much of an organic community as possible. Make sure you are able to see yourself working on your project months after mint, because it may not be an overnight success. Also, be open to pivoting and growing with your community and web3 friends, because the space is new, growing and there is room for everyone, it just may take shape differently than you’d planned. Have fun, don’t get caught up in the fomo, and If you believe in what you are doing, keep pushing. I plan to.
Ashley is a music and true crime loving artist, and is happiest when in a pile on her couch with her family and pups.
She’s super bullish on the future of NFTs, recently going “all-in” with the goal of helping other artists make strides through collaboration and community.