Yesterday the California weed marketing brand Sticker Farmer released its first “public mint” of NFT artworks.
Each image is of a bird with its own unique traits, often smoking a joint and looking stoned. It is a “profile picture” NFT collection, meaning that all images are based on a core portrait-like image of a character.
Sticker Farmer is known for helping build successful weed brands through things like logo design and packaging (think the mylar bag that weed comes in). By applying his skillset to the NFT space, Sticker Farmer dreamed up the idea of the “Featured Underdog Club,” a series of pot-smoking birds that are “underdogs” in the sense of not being a large, well-funded, technologically complex NFT project.
Sticker Farmer founder Ben Pechetti calls it the “biggest project of my life.”
Sticker Farmer appeared in California’s Bay Area scene around 2015 when ben Pechetti and Lesley Van Dalsem teamed up to supply stickers to up-and-coming weed brands. As California transitioned from medical to recreational weed starting in 2016, startup brands and small-time street sellers were coming out from the underground to build on the boom that legalization brought. Word quickly got around that Sticker Farmer was a trusted source of weed-friendly marketing and packaging materials.
By the end of 2021, the company had grown to a total of five locations throughout the state, from southern San Diego to northern Mendocino. Pechetti says that expanding was necessary: the demand for his services was there.
Starting about six months ago, Pechetti turned the Sticker Farmer team to focus on an idea he had for an NFT art project. With years of experience helping others build weed brands, could Sticker Farmer lead the industry into investing in his own brand of NFTs?
Enter the Feathered Underdog Club. The project has been building since the start of the year, all leading up to yesterday’s launch. 6,000 unique, algorithm-produced NFT birds were “minted,” that is, computer-generated and put on sale for purchase.
The collection that drops today is called “Feathered Underdog 2.0: The Flockchain.” It comes after about 1,000 birds were produced “by hand,” conceived and drawn by a select group of artists that Sticker Farmer works with for its bag designs. That initial sale of hand-made birds was to set the stage and build a community around the NFT project. That phase was a resounding success, having sold out all the artworks (at hundreds of dollar per piece), and leading to the creation of an active community of Feathered Underdog Club members who meet daily on Discord.
Most of those members have ties to the weed community in the U.S., and many are artists, growers, sellers, marketers, and all manner of small business owners.
Pechetti turned to NFTs in response to a changing business landscape. He was motivated by “the downturn in the cannabis market, the change and the pace of business, and the fact that NFTs and Crypto is new and exciting. It was alluring.”
The NFT art project, Pechetti says, is a team effort. He says that 10-15 artists contributed to the collection, and his team of employees have helped to conceive and execute it.
As for the technology side of things, Sticker Farmer says his wife Lesley is helping to make the computer-generated side of things happen.
“They call me the Big Eagle. I’m coordinating everything,” Pechetti said, adding that he’s no tech expert.
“She’s [Lesley] basically programming it all,” he says, while avoiding technical jargon.
“I call it the Henerator. It’s the Bird Generator, I’m not really sure how it works. Some sort of mathematical equation,” Pechetti said.
He said that the resulting new collection is top-notch.
“They’re looking beautiful. It’s an amazing thing. Every bird is bad-ass.”
He went with “Feathered Underdogs,” that is, birds, because it’s been a part of Sticker Farmers branding from the beginning.
“We’ve been branding with birds for a long time,” Pechetti said. “I feel like they are a good representation as far as being free and doing what you want.”
The process, he said, has been an adventure that’s not been without headaches. “Every single day we hit roadblocks that I could have never imagined and we navigated through them,” Pechetti said.
The NFTs do not represent a departure from the core business of stickers and mylar bags for the weed industry.
“Without bags and stickers, there is no NFTs. That stuff and the branding will forever be a part of what I do,” Pechetti said.
But he says that the NFT project has helped him expand his business far beyond the boundaries of California.
“I think this community I’m building is going to allow to reach the whole world through just powerful connections I’m making with people,” Pechetti said.
The other benefit of the project has been the community that has formed around it, taking place primarily inside of their Discord server. Feathered Underdog Club members meet there all throughout the day, every day, and use it to network and make connections.
“A lot of people have been able to expand their own networks and their own abilities through the community,” Pechetti said.