The Vogu Collective — Recap
Introspection of an NFT OG
Greetings citizens! We’re writing today to talk about all things Vogu. From where we came from, what we did, and where we see ourselves going. A lot of you may already know who we are and what we’ve accomplished. However, the space has grown so much this past year that there is a large majority that may not have heard about us. If you are new to NFTs or a veteran in the space this article will provide some valuable insights on how a former top PFP/NFT project operates. Our goal is to not only help the community understand what The Vogu has achieved, but put our accomplishments in a perspective that may help you better understand other projects in the space or maybe help you launch your own!
Who We Are
For those of you who don’t know us; The Vogu Collective launched in July of 2021. Shortly after BAYC, Cool Cats and Gutter Cat gang. Our art is STILL some of the best in the space, and our lore is unmatched. (no seriously its DEEP. Check out some of it here: https://papyrus.so/@vogu)
We were one of the first, if not the first, project to have guest artists do 1/1’s that were included in our main collection. These were auctioned off 50% going to the artist and 50% going to charity. They sold from 10–27eth! We also have multiple limited editions with unique backgrounds from artists that were in the space and some that weren’t. Glypsie, Tropical Virtual, Ethan S Brewerton, and Karen Jerzyk all provided amazing art for these editions. Karen’s was actually a photograph! Karen and Ethan both went on to launch their own projects! From the beginning Vogu has always been about supporting artists and creatives in this space. That goal will never change.
NFTs and identity go hand and hand. Most of us buy NFTs because we connect with the identity that they portray. This is why Vogu is working on building a strong IP with a clear brand identity. We strive to be an identity for builders, creators, and nerds of all kinds. Skaters, coders, musicians, film makers, artist, sports enthusiast, we all have something we nerd out on. We want to be a positive community that helps support you in whatever you do. When you rock a Vogu PFP, wear a Vogu hoodie, or sticker bomb your gear with Vogu stickers you are telling the world this is your identity.
The Vogu also set out to reimagine digital art and storytelling. We felt that the current projects were lacking the clear brand identity and stories we felt were needed to launch a big entertainment IP. Both founders have multiple years of experience in the film industry so they knew how to build a universe that could launch an entertainment IP.
The good and the bad
With dope art and amazing world building the launch of the project was a huge success and the hype was tremendous. The most hyped project at the time, our launch went off with a big hiccup. Our minting site started to fail within seconds. Our dev left a tiny bit of code that made multiple “calls” to infura, an ethereum API. Simple stuff like what is the gas price, what block are we at, how long till the next block, stuff like that. This is all data that is not needed for a PFP project mint. However, this is the summer of 2021 back then there was no Youtube videos, no manifold contract, very few repositories and don’t even think about being super optimized for gas. Our dev’s came from the greater blockchain space and we we’re all learning together. After less than 1 minute our mint site had made 90,000 calls to Infura! This kicked on Infura’s ddos protection which caused our mint function on the website to stop working. Our founder Trackzy was on a discord call….live….to over 1,000 people…and our mint site fails…. You know that gif with the fire and the pizza boxes? Yea that sums this up.
In the summer of 2021 the ability to mint from the contract was something very few community members were aware was even possible. Even today some of you may go “wait mint from contract!?” With our mint site down the only people able to purchase the hottest drop the space had ever seen were those who knew how to mint from the contract. This was an extremely unfair situation. With 1,000+ angry people listening in live Trackzy made what he describes as the hardest decision of his life and had to pause the mint.
Over night the team discovered the issue and applied a fix. The next day the drop would go off without any issues. Outside a gas war, which was common at the time. We sold out in less than 10 mins. The team was ecstatic and the hard work had paid off. The devs had done an amazing job and, despite the issues, the team was able to enjoy their success.
Small bump or something bigger?
Looking back we wonder if this first hiccup was more of a ripple. One that would hurt us further down the road. Lots of influential players in the space missed out on this drop. What would have happened if some of the louder influencers we’re able to have snatched a Vogu and joined the community? Would your favorite influencer be hyping the Vogu today? Did it even matter, was it really just a small hiccup? These are the uncontrollable variables that come with leading an NFT project. Stuff will go wrong. People will be upset. As a project we need to do our best to move on and overcome these challenges. But did we do a good enough job of that?
We attracted so many amazing, creative and supportive community members. Our first 2 weeks were better than the other big players BAYC, Gutter Cats and Cool Cats. This put us as a top 3 project behind Punks, and BAYC.
The momentum was amazing. Interviews, articles and conference calls everyday, the team got busy starting to build on the success. In our first month we began to finalize our plans for our airdrop we would call MUTTS, we reached out to potential partners inside and outside of the space, and we started to knock on the door of the entertainment industry. We connected with an unbelievable advisor, our floor was reaching 2 eth. Everything was golden.
Thanks to our advisor we were able to connect and pitch to a 3 letter Hollywood agency. In the founders years in Hollywood they knew how crazy it was to be able to get a call with one of these agency's and have them agree to work with you. This is a huge step towards anything entertainment.
Things don’t always go your way.
As we were developing our relationship with the agency, another agency announced they were representing Crypto punks, the #1 project in the space at the time. This is was a dagger to our founders. In a perfect world, It was still going to be very hard to get an agency to announce we were working together. We felt the announcement would have been huge for the project and would have legitimized what we were trying to build. After the punks announcement, we knew…you don’t announce the #3 project when your competitor announces the #1 project. The agency agreed to pitch the Vogu around to huge names and get some feedback but no announcement. Still huge news. But we couldn’t tell anyone. No excitement, no hype. We even had community members telling us the entertainment plans we had were a joke and we had no chance. We had to take that on the chin. Knowing the calls we were on. Knowing who we were talking to, and we couldn't say anything. Its a huge deal for an NFT project to be announced by these agencies and its a huge deal for an agency to work with projects like ours. We’re still on a lot of desks in Hollywood and there is plenty of opportunity there for us. We wanted to come out and say this now because we wanted to give you a peak behind the curtain and let everyone know that everything isn’t black and white. These kind of things are complicated.
Would the announcement have spiked our sales? Could that have kept the hype going? Would the community be disappointed with how long this process takes? Should we have teased that we were doing more? Was being quiet and professional the right play?
Space is ever expanding
Our amazing 2 weeks was partially a reflection on how much the space was growing. We launched to around 100k wallets. By the end of August that was 200k! We saw around 8k eth in our first month. We’re still around that number. In July and August of 2021 it was about 1–5 projects dropping every week. By September it was 5–10 projects dropping a week. Now there is almost too many to count.
Success of other projects
The projects that launched right after us all did similar or bigger numbers. Right after our launch we saw some big projects drop. In our first 3 months Vogu did around $20 million in secondary sales, Animetas — $25 million, On1force — $143 million! There were about 5–10 other projects that dropped around this time to varying degrees of success. The attention of your holders was hard to keep. Each drop was making its minters money. Would you buy a project that is a few weeks old and whose floor is dropping? Or would you rather mint the next drop and almost guarantee a 2x+ return? Of course most would dump and move to the next one. Which is what many did, and is why most projects make a large portion of their money in the first 3 months. The top projects in this space are able to create hype and momentum past that 3 months.
In your first 3 months as a project in the NFT space you hit the highest highs and the lowest lows. One project can come along and suck all the hype out of your projects sails. It’s our job as projects to keep the hype going and engage the community so that post 3-months new holders are looking to enter the project and your current holders aren’t rushing to get out.
Easier said then done. Next we will explain our approach, what we accomplished and then we will go into how the market has reacted.
Our approach to building
The Vogu Collective’s goal is to build an identity brand, establish an attractive entertainment IP, and support fellow creatives. To support these goals we:
- Establish real life partnerships that would build value for the brand as a whole and help create a clear brand identity
- Secure metaverse and NFT partnerships that would help deliver on the brands messaging and bring utility and excitement to holders
- Support creatives in our community and the NFT space as a whole
- Build the Vogu IP universe through story telling, mixed media content, further NFT drops
What We Achieved
Above all we want to shout out to the amazing community that has sprung up around The Vogu Collective. Community builds everything in this space and we have some unbelievable members that chose to be a part of our family. Thank you!
Real World Partnerships
- Just Hype — Very early on in our project we reached out to Just Hype to see if they were interested in some sort of collaboration. The team at Just Hype was super responsive and jumped at the opportunity to learn and build in this space. It took a LOT longer than our community would have wanted. However, we didn’t want our main merch release to be a gatekeeped shopify store with over priced, limited merch. We wanted a global release with a respected brand. Just Hype NAILED IT. Seriously, check it out. 10+ designs, front page of the website, email blasts to their community, professional photo AND video shoot. We are very confident that this is the best merch collab release in the space. It doesn’t come close. Aesthetically, well that’s an opinion. But we believe execution-wise there is no competition. See the drop here: https://uk.justhype.com/pages/vogu-store
- Netgear — The Meural by Netgear is our favorite way to display our NFT’s. We think its the best in class. Affordable, high quality and building web3 integration. Checks all the boxes. Being a tech GIANT we felt Netgear offered a perfect identity fit. So we reached out. We we’re lucky again and Netgear was super responsive. They are 100% invested in being a true web3 partner and building a project for NFT collectors. Our future with them is still in the works. Some things we are working on? Joint marketing, giveaways, discounts, joint community events, and the creation of outlets for our communities remix artists to gain exposure.
Metaverse and NFT’s
Being a web3 company we can’t ignore the metaverse! Is it a buzz word right now? Yea of course. Any gamer out there has been playing in the metaverse for the last 20 years. This doesn’t make it any less important to us and we want to be a premier metaverse identity. We believe a huge value in PFP nft’s comes from the utility of the identity alone. Here are some way’s we are helping develop the Vogu identity in the metaverse:
- Sandbox Helmet— Within our first few weeks we airdropped all holders a flashy Patrician’s Vogu helmet for use in Sandbox games. Created by one of the official Sandbox teams talented artists (shout out Voxelbunny). You can find this helmet on the secondary market, its got a + to luck!
- Multi-Utility-Terra-Trekking-System or MUTTS — A staple for PFP projects, our companion drop! The first fully animated generative companion drop was available for free to all holders. Cute, adorable, and potentially dangerous these MUTTS make great companions for your TARS. Originally this drop was supposed to come around a month after our release. As we were in the early stages of development a community member (Shout out Pizza Later) reached out to help in anyway they could. We learned that Pizza was an animation guru and it got our creative juices flowing. A week after meeting with Pizza we re-designed the whole project pipeline to handle generative animations. This was no small feat and it took the team longer to deliver the companions than we had hoped. The community was frustrated at the delays, and we saved the announcement they were animated until very close to the drop. Upon release the market did not respond well. It could have been the delays, the overall state of the market, the aesthetic, or all of the above. The team worked incredibly hard to bring a companion drop that was executed at a crazy high level and we saw a lot of disappointment in the markets reaction and received lots of hate pointed at the team for our lack of execution. This hurts us a lot because we wanted to do everything our power to deliver, what we believe, was an amazing companion for the community. To bust your butts for 2–3 months on a project and have people tell you that you didn’t do a good job stings. It comes with the territory. If the market doesn’t react kindly to your drops, companion or otherwise, you will be seen as failing. Some people will only see the financial aspect and some have entirely different visions for the project. They don’t see the sweat the artists and dev’s put into the project. As artist and builders it can be hard to ignore this. This is why you’ll see a lot of leads in this space talk about the need for mental breaks. There is nothing like the level of access to projects and founders that you see in this space. We hope our current and future community members will grow to love the MUTTS as much as we do.
- Metakey — One of the biggest names in the metaverse and one of the most positive and supportive communities in the space. This one was a no brainer. Metakey has a footprint in every metaverse. When Vogu want’s to build or expand our brand into a metaverse Metakey is there to support us if needed. Together we dropped Vogu leather jacket wearables to holders of both Metakey AND the Vogu! You can pick these up on the secondary market as well.
- Decentraland — One of the top metaverses in the world and hosts of the biggest events in the metaverse. Hundreds of thousands of users visit DCL and attend their various events. We teamed up with Atlas Corp and Feeka Games to build an innovative, first of its kind, and immersive experience for Vogu holders and Vogu fans. Recently we released our 5 model lines as wearable heads for your DCL avatar! Truly taking your NFT identity into the metaverse at a level never seen before. Check the mint experience at assembly.thevogu.io . (Currently a claim window for Vogu holders that held during a snapshot. Public sale will open again soon)
- Metaverse Fashion Week — In the first ever metaverse fashion week The Vogu teamed up with Just Hype to create 30+ wearables and an entire main stage fashion show! Only 2 NFT pfp projects were featured on the main catwalks, Vogu and NounsDAO. Other participants were fashion giants like Dolce&Gabbana, Perry Ellis, and even the luxury car brand Acura. We’re in good company to say the least.
- Human Park — We are a proud launch partner for Virtually Human Studios, the team behind Zed Run, new metaverse Human Park. Powered by the Unreal Engine we think Human Park will be a great fit for some amazing Vogu experiences. More info will come later as this platform is just launching.
It’s a pillar of our project that we always do our best to help creatives in our community find ways to thrive in this crazy space. We are always looking for ways to engage the creatives in our community. We held a “build-a-vogu” contest and got some incredible submissions. Our artist Jason hosts Twitch streams every Wednesday, there we chat and vibe with community members. Sometimes community members even come and join to draw alongside Jason or just chat. Other times we host Q&A’s with different projects or community members. We’ve also helped some of our community members launch their own projects, provided support with both advice and marketing, and we’ve hired most of our talent from within our community. These aren’t one off giveaways or marketing ploys. This is a core part of our identity.
Building Our Lore
Building an IP with a face for television requires a lot of thought and world building. Lucky for us we love that stuff! We’ve crafted an entire literary universe that is full of potential stories. One of our first team members was our talented “ghost” writer Aimee. Her industry experience in Hollywood with both production and scriptwriting has been extremely valuable to the project. Aimee helps Trackzy and Jason organize their ideas into palatable bits of literary genius. Our community loves the lore and we love delivering it.
- Tar News Network — To deliver regular literary content we devised a fictitious news reporter from the Vogu universe called Zion Bugle. Zion runs a fan blog called Tar News Network or TNN. Here he delivers updates on the latest Vogu news, insight into the different sub-cultures and even historical context for important events.
- Animations — Both Jason and Pizza Later are talented artists capable of making super clean animations that help us tell our stories. Leading up to drops we’ve created multiple animated teasers that give our community glimpses into the Vogu universe. Sparkle studios put together an AMAZING trailer which depicted our TARS getting “delivered” to Decentraland. You can find it here: https://twitter.com/decentraland/status/1500169271342678019?s=20&t=JiGeJMzBqZUsBLY7y4ptgg
- Webtoons — With the help of our amazing community member BumbleVx we celebrated the MUTTS launch by creating an 8 chapter Webtoon. For those unaware, a webtoon is a vertically scrolling comic. We had the idea to do some sort of comic, manga or webtoon when we had just began to discuss how we would launch MUTTS. Our first community manager, the famous Glypsie (she did one of the limited edition bg’s), mentioned a community member she knew that actually drew webtoons. (That was Bumble) When we pitched them the idea it was a perfect match! We certainly hope this isn’t the only webtoon we do. If we had the budget we would ask Bumble to turn this into a full time webtoon. Check it out here: https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/mutts/list?title_no=708420
- https://hyy.pe/ — A platform and a tool that allows NFT holders to write lore for their NFT! A perfect fit for a project like ours. The community has submitted multiple character descriptions, backgrounds and hilarious stories to their Vogu NFT’s. An amazing tool for community members that really want to build on top of their NFT. Read them here: https://hyy.pe/collection/vogu
- Choose Your Own Adventure — A new comer for 2022, we’ve always been looking for ways to not just deliver lore but to collaborate with our community while doing so. One of the more fun idea’s we’ve had has been the Choose Your Own Adventure format. The team builds a specific story that puts the community in the main characters point of view. At the end of each “chapter” the community votes on 1 of 3 outcomes. Do you shoot the bad guy, chase them into the dark alley, or give up? Response has been great so far and it’s fun to see everyone discuss the reasoning behind their choices!
The vision and the goals haven’t changed. Support creatives, create an identity brand and establish an entertainment IP. Our biggest challenges as we move forward is working capital and exposure to the broader NFT market. We want more people talking about us and new entrants to the space aware of us. We have a million great ideas and the community has some dope feedback. Everything we have accomplished has been done with “only” 8k eth secondary sales. When the community discusses who are the top 10 projects, we believe we should be in the conversation. Competing against projects that have 30k+ eth in secondary sales is a huge challenge for us. Bigger activations, bigger teams, more content. We certainly see opportunities to grow this community as more people realize what we have achieved with a smaller budget. We feel a large majority of top 100 projects haven’t delivered nearly what we have, and certainly not at the level that we do. When a project that is delivering as much as we do at such a smaller market cap you would call it undervalued, which we believe we are. Here are just some of the things we are working on:
- Establish real life partnerships — We’re working with a super hot VR game studio that is building a first person VR shooter. It’s already in alpha and has over 30k waitlist sign ups through Steam. Together with them we are looking at ways to integrate the Vogu brand. Earlier than that we are planning to offer some alpha codes to the VR users in our community! We’ve teamed up with a metaverse casino that is building a 3D casino where users can own apartments and traverse the casino floors. We’re working to make the Vogu appear as dealers/bartenders and other NPC’s. In addition we are looking at ways to give our community benefits if they use the platform. Finally, we are in early stages of conversations with other merch brands, other tech companies, game companies, athletes and celebrities. Lots of conversations happen and have been happening over the last year. Some turn into amazing opportunities and some fizzle into nothing. What we can say is we are always looking to grow our brand and find fun utility for our holders. We’ve never been the brand to announce things early. It may have hurt us in the past but I hope our community understands why we are silent, and once we deliver you see the high level we execute at. When Vogu knocks on a door for a partnership, its a different kind of knock.
- Metaverse and NFT partnerships — We have some REALLY crazy collabs coming up within the NFT space. BIG IP and super cool utility. We’re also planning out further metaverse utility and partnerships. Malloy, the GOAT designer behind our Decentraland heads, is spearheading our metaverse partnerships and man is the first one a BIG name. Can’t wait to build together with them. We’re also looking into ways to weave lore into quests and maybe develop some utility for our MUTTS in the process.
- Supporting the Community —Our community has musicians, artists, athletes, engineers, etc. We want to find unique ways to work with our community and help them achieve their goals. We are working to make our partnership with Netgear bring some really unique and unprecedented utility for the artists in our community. We’re are always a DM away and have collabed with multiple community lead projects. We also encourage and support community members to work together and help each other to form their own projects. Many of our community members have gone on to launch their own projects or work for other projects in the space. We will continue to support in this way and look for new ways to give exposure to our community. If Vogu can be your gateway into the Web3 world we view that as a huge success and a perfect utility for our project.
- Story Telling and Mixed Media — The continuation of the TNN and CYOA stories will help build strong foundations for our world building. We are still pitching and pushing for some traction in hollywood/entertainment. Some potentials there are attaching well known script writers/producers or making speculative shorts. We would absolutely love to continue the Webtoon and further the MUTTS story in that medium. We already have some idea’s for where that story goes. If you saw our DCL pod trailer I think you see the potential we have to make some really cool short content.
Future NFT drops
When we look at how to plan out our future NFT drops we need to consider a few things. How does this project effect our main collection? Does the project have identical utility? Does this project fit our brand imaging? Does this project dilute the brand, or does it open up new ways to engage with the Vogu community and identity. We’ve answered all those questions and in the next 6 months to a year we will be releasing at least 2 new NFT collections that build on the Vogu identity. We say at least because we are creators and we will always want to create something new and exciting.
This project will differ greatly from the main Vogu collection. For this one, the focus isn’t really on the Vogu. The Vogu will absolutely be the identity of this project, but behind it is so much more. This is a fashion and art focused project that sees us teaming up with some of the hottest names in the fashion and art space in Miami. Featuring Jared Rok, Vic Garcia and Mia Diadoti. Each of them has paintings and clothing owned by athletes, celebrities and socialites not just in Miami but all over the world. If you live in Miami or just love the lifestyle we want this to be a must have NFT. Some of the real life utility we have planned is un-real! This will be a smaller release and a large portion of the mint will go to current Vogu holders. We can’t reveal everything yet but our marketing calendar is ready and the drop will be coming to a popular NFT platform in May! (no not Coinbase)
A community favorite, our artists Jason’s depiction of Vogu TARS as cute, kawaii and chibi stole the hearts of everyone when he first showed them off on his weekly stream. Jason instantly started to plan out what a generative Chibi collection would look like. This collection will be, what we would consider, an “expansion” collection. Very similar to the Mutants from the BAYC. This collection will be a way to grow the holders and community of Vogu. We are a few months out but our goal is around 15k chibi’s with potentially half of that going to current holders. This won’t be a mutant vile or tie in with your current vogu traits in anyway. These will have a lot of fun new traits and some re-imagined versions of your favorites. We are working to secure devs to build out some utility with crazy potential. If we have it our way, the chibi’s won’t just be another Vogu project but the launch of a new platform. Again, this is a long way out and anything could change.
You Made it this far!?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this. We are truly grateful to this space and all of our supportive community members. If you have never owned a Vogu we hope this article helped you understand what we are about and we would be forever grateful if you decided to take on the Vogu identity. Our ecosystem is built so that people can be involved not just by buying our NFT’s but also just by participating in our community, using our metaverse wearables or rocking our merch. We are not an exclusive club that seeks to create a superiority chain of who owns what. We welcome all creatives and builders to join us on our journey and will always try and find ways to create new avenues of entry at all price points.
For those of you that have been with us since the beginning, our early adopters or our recent buyers, thank you. Thank you for having the faith in our small team to build something you would be proud to be a part of. We really feel that communities are more than half of the reason projects succeed in this space. We never would have made it here without your support.
We are now small cap NFT project, sitting outside the top 100. When we launched we were the hottest project in the space. It’s been a crazy ride. We hope this article gave you some insight into the journey we took and how we got here. This peek behind the curtain is an exciting glimpse into an unseen part of our industry. Our team is small, we’re building a real company, with expensive lawyers, high quality products and top tier partnerships. This isn’t a knock or a criticism of other projects but we hope that as members in the NFT community you see what we’ve achieved at our market cap vs what much larger projects have delivered. When you compare us we stand out with a really strong value prop at our current market cap. Signing off, catch you later TAR heads.