How Do Designers Generate Wealth in Web3?

Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee
4 min readSep 9, 2021

Web3 Fashion is an entirely novel market, very distinct from more traditional and familiar expectations that it leaves behind.

The opportunity is so big that it may be hard for many to know at first how to make the most of it.

In web3, the ability to uncover and create alpha is accessible because common friction is removed. Middlemen, who previously stood actively in your way, preventing you from entering the market, gathering customers, accessing basic tools and capital are no longer relevant. These gatekeepers are fully displaced by impartial coordination mechanisms, otherwise known as blockchain.

In this context, how do you, as a designer, succeed?

Well, first things first, understanding what drives and motivates a buyer to buy, a collector to collect or a wearer to wear is simply fundamental. Making your work desirable involves more than simply just doing good work, the most important factor is cultivating relationships with specific segments of the broader market. Flipping, collecting, historical participation and utility from belonging, to access, to future airdrops are all core reasons why buyers buy NFTs.

How do you stoke demand?

Twitter as a communication and relationship discovery tool is a great place to start. In fact, it’s where pretty much the entire crypto community lives, more consequentially than discord. Using twitter to engage with other members of the NFT & web3 community by liking, commenting, retweeting, quote tweeting and actively engaging in deliberate conversations with a wide range of people that you genuinely find interesting, without the direct expectation of return is what leads most directly to high returns. For those that want to geek out on the social science here, take a look at [your mum]… jks, take a look at indirect reciprocity.

Thinking about where the market is and the size of it, you need to have strong connections to a small neighbourhood around you and loose connections to the much broader market. Imagine instead standing on a soapbox in the middle of everything with tens of thousands of other people doing the same, shouting to the world, I have things for sale, without communicating what makes it different and what makes it valuable to a specifically targeted audience. That’s one powerful feature of NFTs afterall, being able to track ownership on-chain to then provide perpetual rewards of one form or another to your neighbourhood.

But the most important factor here is that it is not just about you. It’s not I scratch your back, you scratch mine. It’s not some form of hippy socialist utopism either, the pro-market point of view that leads to the greatest profits is one where “I scratch your back and whilst you don’t necessarily scratch mine, the reputation I build in the process brings me back more scratches from somewhere than I could have ever imagined getting from enforcing a tight, narrow, direct return.” This is the power of small world networks.

Designers, if you go out there and lift each other up, engage each other as if you are genuine neighbours, make the local market as a whole more appealing for each other to succeed it will attract the masses of buyers that you desire.

And, it doesn’t just stop here. Constantly being a student of your own craft and leveling up your design, marketing, communications and entrepreneurial skills, as well as your understanding of web3, decentralisation and crypto in general is absolutely vital. It’s not just about getting better at CLO3D, it’s about understanding where what you create lives. Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft are great examples of some of the strongest digital fashion user generated content markets that exist today — and that design scope is well beyond just 3D. Who said fashion couldn’t be pixelated?

And once you hit increasing levels of thresholds of success, be sure to re-cultivate the market that got you there by collecting your fellow designers work, seeding new designers entering for the first time and being generous with insights into what worked for you and what didn’t.

Distributing more of the value that you’ve earnt into the broader web3 economy, beyond NFTs and digital fashion, like into DeFi protocols, is what raises your ability to gain from your talent and work beyond its all time highs.

Because, being a web3 fashion designer means you have to swim in it. Decentralisation isn’t a buzz word. It is a tremendous advantage. But good luck learning to use it if you don’t believe in it first.

After all, web3 fashion is a revolution and you have a shot any good revolutionary would crave, which is to completely transform the world by creating this new industry from scratch.

So let’s go out there and get it!

Hey! I’m Emma-Jane! I’m a 23 year old fashionaut amongst other things

I am the founder of DIGITALAX and a bunch of other stuff in web3. 😆

Follow me on Twitter and check out my website