SUCCESS Interview: Amanda Archer
Amanda Archer established Women of the Metaverse as a creative studio, NFT collective and development incubator to support women founders entering the Web3 generation. In 2022, Archer and her co-founder Farah Selena launched First Ape Wives Club, an NFT PFP collection that will drive the first female-founded, -funded and -created game in The Sandbox metaverse.
Now, if you’re wondering what all of that means, let’s recap a few terms. An NFT is a non-fungible token—a unique digital asset that technology website The Verge helpfully describes as something akin to a one-of-a-kind trading card. PFP stands for profile picture and is a type of NFT that has grown in popularity with celebrities and companies around the world.
The Sandbox metaverse is ultimately a virtual world. It’s not the only one out there, but it is considered by many to be one of the most advanced. Projects in this community-driven platform come from notable names such as Snoop Dogg, Adidas and MasterCard—not to mention a $93 million investment round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The Sandbox and other metaverses are a hefty component of the third generation of the World Wide Web, known as Web3, which incorporates token-based economies and other real-world benefits.
With Women of the Metaverse, Archer is paving the way for female representation in this brave new world. Kelley Bahata, digital marketing manager at SUCCESS, spoke to Archer about her role, the NFT learning curve and why she drew inspiration from the film The First Wives Club.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Let’s start at the beginning. You’re in the world of NFTs now, but that’s not how you got your start.
Amanda Archer: I’m from Australia, and I was in PR and working in the entertainment business, which brought me to Los Angeles. I was coming out a lot for business, working with Michael Jackson’s family after he died, working on it all day—big interviews with his mother and his daughter. I started specializing in high-profile, world-exclusive celebrity interviews, and that was when media… was all about the magazines and the newspapers. Since then, it’s changed substantially. It went into social media, and we had to change the way we did business as publicists and PR people.
I saw the new world of Web3, NFT and blockchain as a huge opportunity and a change in the marketplace. I wanted to get ahead of it for myself and my clients, knowing that you have to ride the wave of technology and communication to the world—and this seemed to be the new way. I jumped on straight away and put together Women of the Metaverse, and our first project is First Ape Wives Club.
That’s quite the journey from one industry segment to another. How are you handling the learning curve?
AA: We’re putting out a flagship project and make sure we learn (and learn from all the mistakes) and do it ourselves and know who the right people are to work with and the right ways to do things. It’s a fast learning curve. But yeah, that was how it all happened. We just went for it, making it up as we go. You learn from people you’re working with—and it’s changing. You can’t go to college for it right now, so we’re just learning.
What inspired you to create Women of the Metaverse?
AA: I saw this market opening up very male-orientated. Even some of the [projects] looked like [women-backed] projects, but they were backed by men, so we thought that women needed a voice. Also, I’m pretty savvy with commercializing and figuring things out. I want Women of the Metaverse to be a hub where female creators can come, and I can help commercialize their projects and put all the partnerships together and say, “Here’s the right development, and here’s how we’re going to make it sell out, and here’s the right partner for this.” We can guide you through the process, and that’s going to come from learning through this experience with First Ape Wives Club. Do you remember the movie The First Wives Club?
Yes, and I love that name!
AA: It was built off The First Wives Club, because it’s exactly why we were doing it. It was like, “Let’s create a club for women that can help build them up and empower them and show them how to make money.” That’s what I’ve been helping [our co-founder] Farah do. She wasn’t a businessperson. She is extremely intelligent, creative and all these amazing things, so I wanted to empower her to be OK on her own when men fall short. Women can become reliant on men, and then they don’t realize how amazing they are and what they can achieve themselves.
People might not realize that there are benefits and perks to this world. What does the First Ape Wives Club offer NFT holders?
AA: Everybody’s been doing these NFTs and nobody really knows what you get…. What we’ve done at First Ape Wives Club is come up with… a good mix. We’re real life, so we’re launching [a benefits program] to rival the black American Express program. Our hotel perks program is actually more bespoke than theirs. We’re lucky to have 2,000 hotels globally in our program, different brands: Four Seasons, Dorchester Collection, Peninsula, Sofitel, Regis, W. They’re all in our program…. When you book through us, you’ll get early/late check-in, complimentary breakfast, $100 credit on the room to use toward food, beverage, spa—whatever you like. Different brands have welcome notes and champagne from the general manager—you just start to live the experience.
I think for many of us, it’s difficult to fully grasp the concept. How do you see it?
AA: So all of these benefits, they’re all utilities to the NFT. Because the metaverse is going to be such a huge part of what we become (Web3), we’re offering a black AmEx hookup program with lots of cool parties and cool brands. It’s built on a Web3 technology token, so it’s like your membership card is the NFT. As we progress over time, we will be building out shopping in the metaverse and our travel company will be in the metaverse, and you’ll see the experience while you’re booking it.
It sounds like it rivals other high-profile perks packages.
AA: To get into AmEx’s black card program, you have to qualify for it and then pay $2,000 a year. We’re rolling this whole program into our NFT as the launch membership package, complimentary for every person, and that is usually through a referral and a $500 fee every year, but we’ve waived all of that. This is what our members get. They get all those hotel program perks. And then in addition, we have multiple concierge, notable concierge, media-profiled concierge in different parts of the globe. We can get you Pierce Brosnan’s villa on the beach in Broad Beach if you want to rent that out. We’ve done that before. We can get you front-row tickets for the Rolling Stones last minute.
Looking to the future, what excites you most for women of the metaverse or the space in general?
AA: The sky is the limit with what’s about to roll out. I feel so excited that I was one of the first and that I could actually have the name Women of the Metaverse, because it attracts. It does feel like it’s first-to-market and that we can work with all these amazing first-to-market people and build out this incredible network early [on], so that as people adapt slowly, we can be the go-to for that. We care about making sure women in our business have the right guidance and make the right moves and make a lot of money and inspire people. The way forward is definitely women-focused.
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2023 Issue of SUCCESS magazine.
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