The co-founder of Hong Kong-based LIVVIUM Olivia Lee’s unique journey and expertise in the digital realm offers a captivating discussion.
The concept of Web3.0 may seem to be fading out, but Olivia firmly believes that people are now adapting to the changes, and Web3.0 is still in its very early stages, much like when Web2.0 first entered our lives.
Olivia has amassed an impressive range of senior roles across diverse industries over the past two decades. From finance to luxury brands, private equity to marketing and logistics, Olivia’s extensive experience has provided her with a deep understanding of various sectors. Her route to the digital realm was unexpected, born out of an encounter with a metaverse investment deck in her role as head of marketing for a private investment firm. The concept of a 3D immersive environment for shopping, playing, and experiencing brands globally resonated with her deeply.
Since then, Olivia has delved into the world of Web3.0, purchasing cryptocurrencies, acquiring NFTs, and exploring the metaverse. She established her own Web3.0 consulting company LIVVIUM, dedicated to guiding brands to transition and incorporate the concept of Web3.0.
In an exclusive interview, Olivia offers her valuable insights into the ever-evolving world of Web3.0, the intersection of digital fashion, retail, beauty and technology. Excerpts:
Your recognition is a testimony to your pioneering work and influence in the technology industry. To begin with, could you share your understanding of the landscape of Web3 in today’s age with particular reference to NFT, Digital Fashion, Metaverse?
Starting off with Web3, it’s like we’re stepping into a whole new world, and it’s super exciting! If you think about the early days of the internet (Web1), it was pretty much one-sided – companies put information out there, and we consumed it. Fast forward to Web2, it was defined with social media (and the smartphone) was born, soon any user was able to share their stories and content to the world and we’re all connecting and sharing with each other.
Now, here we are at the dawn of Web3, and it’s a game-changer. Imagine owning every piece of content you create, every comment you make, and having the freedom to take it wherever you want. It’s like taking the power back from the big tech companies and putting it into the hands of creators and users. No middleman, no censorship – just pure, unfiltered creativity and connection.
Here’s an example of why NFTs, Metaverse and Digital Fashion:
In the context of gaming; imagine that I spend a lot of my time and money in a game that I play online. It helps me relax, “disconnect” while also connecting with my “online friends”. Imagine that I spent an exorbitant amount of money over the years building my arsenal of tools and skins to be better at my game-play. Now, imagine, one day that game decides to “close” and that all of my time building my assets are gone and not-usable, as the game is no longer available as it is owned by the company that built and hosted it. Now imagine that I effectively own all of the digital assets on the chain, that I am able to buy, sell, and more importantly “import” those assets to another world that I can continue to use. The game may be different but I still own those assets.
The reason why I am so invested in time, energy into this space is, I was too young at the time to fully be involved in the rise of the web1 (for me, it was the late 90s) internet. But I was always ahead and curious as I knew it will ultimately change the way we interact, consume and create. I have also experienced first hand the many times I’ve uploaded or bought things such as uploading my travel pictures online, and not having a printed version, or access to the photos (i.e. on my computer) and only for the company to dissolve so the photos went missing. Or, I spent years building a community and profile (digital fashion collages) and only for it to be sold and I don’t have access to that website anymore. Web3 will be the next iteration, though it is new and ever changing.
Hence the idea of NFTs, digital collectibles on-chain makes sense. Especially in this day in age where everyone is online a good 70% of their time.
Why digital fashion? We will need to talk about the Metaverse, or I’d like to call it the 3D internet. Already, we are accessing features and applications that give us this 3d experience, with the rise of AR and AI (we’ve been aware of such technology for the last decade, but now it has made it mainstream). As users, we have evolved to be more attention seeking, we seek experiences and novelty. We have also evolved to become more sophisticated and demanding of top quality experiences. With the metaverse, personally, it became the outlet where we can explore and seek new connected experiences. This was particularly an outlet for me during COVID-19. One of the first experiences that falls under the space of “metaverse” could be categorized as the museum’s tours that were being offered online. Under Covid, one can’ travel, under lockdown, hence the accessibility to go to a new world becomes a new way to kill time.
I also like to believe that anything that happens in the real world can be replicated in the digital world, this includes some human behaviors. For myself, the idea of being in the metaverse, meant that my avatar would also need to dress to impress, and also a way to express myself. The beauty of digital fashion is the idea that I can wear anything, a branded luxury item, or an out-of-the-world piece that goes beyond any physical limitations to express myself online. Every piece of digital clothing, every NFT, is a unique expression of our identity.
I feel like I’m on this incredible journey, unraveling the mysteries of Web3, the metaverse, and digital fashion. It’s not just about tech and trends – it’s about stepping into a future where we’re not just consumers but active participants, owners, and creators in a world bound only by our imagination. Every day is a new discovery, and I’m just soaking it all in, excited about what tomorrow will bring.
In an age where there are perceptions of and approaches to the metaverse and Web3 in different countries, how do Co-creation and community activation play a significant role in delivering to the community?
It’s clear that the landscape for trading, buying, and selling NFTs or tokenized real-world assets (RWA) varies greatly depending on the region, influenced by distinct regulations in different countries. As we’re navigating a largely uncharted terrain, there’s a considerable degree of uncertainty and complexity. The evolution of this space is ongoing, and clarity will only emerge over time.
Countries like Hong Kong, with their embrace of a Web3-friendly environment, play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the current reality and the expansive vision of a decentralized world. They are crucial in alleviating uncertainties and fostering a space where innovation can thrive. The initial utopian vision of a completely decentralized, transparent, and free world – devoid of the control of private corporations or centralized authorities – is being reevaluated. The complexities and challenges inherent in fully realizing this vision are becoming apparent. The practical path forward likely involves a collaborative approach, uniting the efforts of government bodies, corporations, and decentralized entities. By working together, we can establish a balanced ecosystem that upholds the principles of decentralization while adhering to regulatory and ethical standards. This collaborative stance could pave the way for a harmonious integration of Web3 technologies into our global economy and society.
Now, in the context of digital fashion, digital collectibles and immersive commerce (another term that is a subcategory of Metaverse), I have to introduce three new terms that marketers and brands alike will need to get comfortable with related to co-creation and community activation. They are Connected User Journey, Empowered Community and Participant’s Economy.
These three terms can be summed up as a “dual-approach” relationship between a brand and customer. No longer are brands the only one crafting their narrative, or creating a product and ads and communication that fuels the desire for customers to acquire the product, the seismic shift means customers, assuming ‘holder of a digital collectible within the brand’s ecosystem” signifies they are a part of the brand’s ecosystem and is welcomed to also suggest and therefore “co-create” for a brand. At this point, the customer is seen as a participant and “stakeholder” in the brand’s company. This does not necessarily mean to get financial rewards, but the engagement factor becomes deeper. This could be categorized as “brand loyalty”. The community part will transcend any regional borders, as members can reap in the intrinsic value of having a say.
In your opinion, what opportunities does Metaverse have to offer in terms of new jobs for women in sectors such as digital fashion, Beauty, NFTs, besides inclusivity and diversity?
There’s simply too many possibilities that will stem from the rise of jobs in the Metaverse, especially for women. Firstly, it’s important to know that due to the early stage of the Metaverse and any auxiliary roles related in the web3. It is still very early. In other words, there’s a lot of opportunities no matter your expertise, or skill sets. I speak for myself, when I say, as long as there’s a sense of curiosity, and “go-getter” attitude, one can carve a space for themselves, as I have demonstrated (with less than 3 years experience, 1 year actively sharing and advocating this space)
Roles that may stem from; could come from a matrix of skills and experience, any role that is more or less available in the real world can be of use in the Metaverse, for example, sales and marketing skills, designing skills, story telling, gaming, and problem-solving skills.
Some of the more interesting roles within the digital fashion and beauty space (not jumping into the Technical/ R&D. engineer part) could be;
-educating others and advocating about the Web3 space (something that I am actively doing)
-stylist for avatars! (such job exists)
-interior designers for worlds; many metaverses allow you to upload your designs and get a % or the sales.
-gaming specialist (marketing activations)
-owner of virtual showrooms. You can create your own “shopping mall” and bring in brands. This is no different than a multi-brand e-commerce store.
As a hands-on metaverse explorer, according to you, how is Web3 Marketing is Shaping the Industry of the New Age?
The idea of Web3 Marketing is still in its infancy, but under the scope of Web3, many brands especially luxury and heritage brands are taking notice, with many starting their own Web3 in-house team as they navigate this uncharted territory. Personally, it is refreshing as it is exciting. We are to expect many new innovations, and creativity to prosper, giving customers a heightened way to experience a brand, whether by wearing and using a product, or to be fully immersed in a brand’s story that is tailored for them, hyper personalization.
The shift from Web2 marketing to Web3 went bust before it even began. For a short time, we were blinded and excited by the idea of the crypto bull run and allowed empty plans to take over action. You may recall NFTs and Roadmap became an integral part of an offering. Buying a piece of land for an exorbitant amount of money became a PR blitz. Having an NFT (PFP) will allow you to go to the Metaverse (that was just a concept, as part of the roadmap). We moved fast, there were a lot of “false” promises made under the guise of a roadmap. Many of which are still not realized to this day. As a result, along with the realization of the crypto winter, not much is sustainable. The key is to scale back and take several steps back. Find value and connection with everyday users. I believe the concept of digital collectibles will be the cornerstone of every brand’s brand engagement, if not a part of their entire ecosystem, it can be a part of a smaller one, such as a particular product line or even a product item.
For example, as you see now, there is a rise of iCommerce, immersive commerce, certainly it should have elements of the metaverse, this is a 3D world where anyone can access through different access points. It could be through SnapChat or TikTok or WebAR, where the user can see themselves in a branded environment, with the accessibility to try on virtual items on their wrist (such as Cartier or Audemar Piguet virtual try on with Snap), or in the near future all of the clothing will entail a NFC (near field communication) tag that is embedded into our physical clothing. What it entails maybe; that by scanning the NFC with a VTO (virtual try on) Mirror at a physical store, it can unlock a personalized experience for the wearer IRL or digitally, the “phygital” part. It may give the wearer details and information about the piece of clothing they are wearing that they otherwise may not know (ie, such as it unlocks a story unveiled in a mirror that shares the story of the designer’s inspiration for that specific piece of clothing), or, that the otherwise “safe and boring” outfit may morph into an elevated piece of clothing with details that defies physical limitations. This is where it’s fun to be a part of marketing!
Overall, its safe to say that the Metaverse and all of the interesting innovations may not have to be all on chain, we don’t have to expect every element to be on chain, but with some activations on chain, it will give the user and the brand unprecedented possibilities to bring the user into that brand’s world.
With a sizable 20 Metaverse platforms explored and over 50 brand activations undertaken since 2021, how do you help your audience and clients looking to navigate this new digital Universe?
(as a Web3 and Metaverse Explorer) I find myself understanding Metaverse and its many moving factors in a newly enhanced and deeper level related to human and consumer behavior, marketing and psychology. Certainly, my definition of metaverse has changed drastically too in the past three years. I started paying attention to this space.
At one point, I read there were over 2000 metaverse platforms (many were game and design studios opening up from making an adventurous “racing” game, to a “shopping environment mecca” and many were just concepts). Recently, I believe the number has scaled down to 193. I have only been on about 20 of them. This is also because many of the 193 could be very specific to an industry, not yet launched etc and I prioritize fashion and branding experiences.
I help both the curious minded and the clients navigate this fast moving space. With less than 1% of the population has heard about the term Web3 and Metaverse, and within that 1% even less people are engaged in it. It is imperative for someone like me; a metaverse explorer with the objective to demystify the space. My intention is to spark that “aha” moment for the curious minded, something that resonates with them and to remind them that much of the recent wave of AR, AI tools are not exactly new. There are just new usages for them now, or we decided to emphasize the technology and its too-technical term.
I break down the purpose, the strategy and what the user is expected to do and achieve in such spaces.
For my clients, I hope that my vast and deep insights about the brand activations (including marketing, and gaming factors) can help the client choose the right metaverse platforms.
The challenge right now is the accessibility to the platforms, the onboarding process, and the number of people readily looking to enter the metaverse. Brands have ROI and KPI to report on the success as well.
“How does LIVVIUM tailor its consultancy services to assist brands in creating compelling, immersive experiences on platforms like Roblox, and what makes your approach uniquely effective for both established companies and startups?”
At LIVVIUM, we specialize in empowering brands to transition seamlessly into the world of Web3, and Roblox is a prime platform for creating interactive, engaging virtual experiences. Our approach is hands-on and customized to each client’s specific needs and objectives.
We start by understanding your brand’s unique ethos and goals. Our team is well-versed in the nuances of Roblox’s user-friendly design interface and its diverse, dynamic user base. We leverage this insight to develop custom virtual experiences that resonate with your target audience, ensuring that your brand not only has a presence but thrives in this digital landscape. LIVVIUM’s advantage lies in our multidimensional team of experts and established partners in the Web3 space who are not just technologically adept but are also seasoned in strategizing brand positioning, storytelling, and engagement within virtual spaces like Roblox. We ensure that the virtual environments we craft are not just visually appealing but are also functional, interactive, and conducive to fostering community and engagement.
What will become of Metaverse platforms? How do you see this evolving?
Right now, I see there is still a long way to go in terms of metaverse platforms. Soon, we won’t be using the term metaverse, as it would be fully integrated into our existing knowledge in experiencing the online world, whatever our vice is.
Currently brands are still curious and wondering if they should be IN a metaverse platform, my answer would be yes. There are several reputable platforms such as spatial, oncyber, Pixel Canva and The Omniverse City that allows brands to experience with limited cost.
The next stage would be the evolution of eCommerce and social media platforms. Many brands have visibility and active social media platforms; why? Because each platform has its own niche, aesthetics, popularity in different countries, means of communication etc. A brand will have presence on WhatsApp Business, X, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and XiaoHongShu. Why? Because the audience is there. So, I predict at a later stage, a brand will have a presence in a couple of the remaining metaverse platforms. Ultimately, they will host and own their own metaverse platform, and it should all be interoperable. This would be the ultimate experience for brands and users.