Before Smith and Carnell began their successful brand last summer, the 29-year-olds were working in the Fintech world and investing in NFTs on the sidelines. Disillusioned with their jobs, the tech entrepreneurs decided to dip into the virtual space and build a community around the NFTs that they were looking to create. ’We looked for a visceral storyline which people could emotionally get behind,’ explains Carnell, ‘we came across a conspiracy theory that the highest echelons of society are run by a sort of alien race of lizards who can shapeshift into humans. 15 million people in the United States actually believe this. We flipped the script, and thought, actually, these characters are actually kind of cool. So could we make a set of these alien lizards, who actually are kind of lovable?’.
And so, the pair collaborated with a streetwear artist to create a ‘base character’ which is then transformed by applying different traits; whether it’s different skin or eye colour, clothing and accessories. The character is then put through a generative script and sold as an artwork on the blockchain, making the artwork verifiable and clear that this is an original piece of artwork. After months of working evenings and weekends on the project, Smith and Carnell officially launched Creepz and dropped the first lineup of lizards (which at the time of their release were snapped up for £160 and are now worth over £30,000). ‘Everything sold out within an hour’ says Carnell ‘we got to the point where we thought, wow, we need to jump in and do this full time’. Five months later, Creepz is not only one of the leading brands dominating the virtual space – with NFT’s flying off Opensea(link) for £90,000 – but also the first NFT company to be signed with Three Six Zero Management, the entertainment agency behind faces such as Jason Statham, Calvin Harris, and Willow Smith.
There is no doubt that Creepz’s bright future extends far beyond the metaverse. The entrepreneurs are in talks with top-five production companies in Los Angeles, working in Hong Kong to develop a line of toys, and Smith and Carnell are also busy organising a music festival alongside their agency in New York next month, ‘we’re getting some very famous musicians to play’ hints Smith. In a world where the lines of reality and cyberspace blend, are NFT music festivals the hottest ticket around? ‘People all over the world including in Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and LA from the Creepz community are meeting up in real life,’ says Smith, ‘they are going to the bar and talking about the art, they’re wearing the fashion. They post pictures of the meeting and everyone gets very jealous saying “I wish I was there”’. Whether or not Brooklyn Beckham, Paris Hilton or Willow Smith will be attending the event is yet to be discovered, but there is no doubt that Dominic Smith and Joe Carnell are at the forefront of meta society.