This 18-year-old just raked in $700,000 of revenue selling Bored Ape toys — and NFT holders say the physical replicas reinforce their attachment to digital identities.
Ricky da Luz, 18, founder of IsmToys, at NFT.NYC.Phil Rosen/Insider
Ricky da Luz, 18, has sold over $700,000 worth of NFT toys, including Bored Ape replicas.
He broke down how he saved money mowing the lawn last year before coldly messaging Twitter users to offer them free toys.
Two Bored Ape NFT owners explained why the toys are so popular in the Bored Ape community.
Even during a crypto bear market, when non-fungible token sales are down, the price of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT still remains above six figures as Bored Ape holders celebrate at Ape Fest and NFT.NYC this week.
But despite all the hype surrounding digital assets, 18-year-old Ricky da Luz discovered how to explore space with physical objects. A passionate toy designer, he began tweeting owners of Bored Ape NFTs, offering to make toy replicas of their monkeys for free.
Before launching IsmToys, he saved about $10,000 mowing the lawn and used that capital to make the first free toys to give to people in the bored ape community, da Luz told Insider at the NFT.NYC conference on Thursday.
His first Bored Ape toy was commissioned in January for around $400. Fast forward today and he is the founder of IsmToys which he runs with his father Tony da Luz and a team of six.
"We're tripling up by helping Web2 companies get into the Web3 space, while also converting their audiences into Web3 people," said the younger da Luz. "We link the toys to actual NFTs and the digital assets act as authenticators for the toys."
He said his company has so far generated over $700,000 in toy revenue from a combination of commissioned, one-of-a-kind creations that sell for an average of $700 (although some can cost as much as $2,400) and various other toys that can range from $50 to $200.
Da Luz said that 99% of IsmToys transactions are made in Ethereum. Transaction receipts were verified by Insider on Etherscan.
Since January, IsmToys has received orders for more than 300 unique toys, but the NFT.NYC conference has boosted the outlook. For the next month alone they have over 200 orders on deck.
IsmToys also mints NFTs, which then act as an authenticator for humans to receive the matching physical toy. IsmToys minted a series of 888 "Golemz" that raised $300,000 in 96 seconds, da Luz said.
And last month, the company minted 400 Bored Ape chess sets and their accompanying NFTs - priced at $400 each - and they sold out in less than 24 hours.
IsmToys Bored Ape Chess Set, at NFT.NYC 2022.Phil Rosen/Insider
Leaning into bored monkeys
Last year he had reached 100 users on Twitter who had Bored Ape NFTs as their profile pictures and about five responded.
A Bored Ape owner, @phibacka31, accepted da Luz's free toy, then showed it to other owners and spread the word.
"Without the Bored Ape community, IsmToys would not exist," said da Luz.
In the traditional internet realm, if you offered a toy to a celebrity, they wouldn't even be noticed. But in Web3, more users are likely to take risks, he said.
Within the Bored Ape community in particular, da Luz added, members have an extremely strong bond with the brand, which is why he reached out to them first. And some call themselves their internet names and say they identify more with their web names than with their birth names.
"I've sort of identified as my Bored Ape now," a Bored Ape NFT owner, known online as @dejen_art, told Insider at the NFT.NYC conference. "Ricky's toys really bring the digital world into the physical world and to see art come to life is just amazing."
Jen and Gerry, 2 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT owners at NFT.NYC 2022 with IsmToys replicas.Phil Rosen/Insider
Her husband, who is known as @nftgerry, agreed and said he wasn't surprised that the online community was embracing da Luz and his toys.
"Anytime someone is emotionally attached to something, even just a photo of something, you want to see it and celebrate all the time," he told Insider. "I'm emotionally attached to my monkey, so my monkey's toy reinforces my emotional attachment to my digital personality."
The custom toys are something that people can relate to because the physical world is still what people know best, da Luz said.
"A lot of people think the metaverse is cool, but ultimately we're still in the physical world and we have physical things," he said. "So having something you can touch, a physical representation of your identity is huge."
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