Exploring the future of tech-enabled collectibles with Mighty Jaxx
Based in Singapore, Mighty Jaxx is an award-winning urban culture company that designs and manufactures collectibles and lifestyle products in partnership with global brands like Hasbro, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, as well as world renowned talents. From its start in 2012, it has since produced over 500 unique designs and delivered millions of products to collectors in over 60 countries worldwide. Today, it has grown to become a multi-million-dollar toy design and manufacturing business.
Behind the scenes
The “Hell Lotus” was Mighty Jaxx’s first original character work made in collaboration with local artist, ClogTwo. Over the years, the brand has also worked with other artists such as GOIN, Tik Ka, Jason Freeny and PHUNK. When asked about the creative process that goes behind these collaborations, Mr Jackson Aw mentioned that aesthetics, along with what the team would be proud to own, plays a very big role in deciding what the brand would produce.,
“As an urban culture company specialising in using collectibles as our medium, a healthy number of the work we produce are designed around pop culture. These collectibles serve as a platform for us to create an emotional connection with our collectors, allowing them to regard these products as literal art representations of themselves. We also do regular sharing sessions with our fans to find out what they like and what they would like to see from us in the future.”
“Our collaborations begin with the artists providing our in-house team of designers with their proposed sketches. In order to create a product that infuses both parties’ individuality and style, collaborative discussions are done regularly between our team and the artists/brands to create the finalised design. This is then further refined for 3D modelling before a prototype is pushed out. The entire process of designing and manufacturing a collectible can take anywhere from 6-12 months till it hits the market,” shared Mr Aw.
In creating these works, the brand has also realised its unique position in making a deep impact on individuals. As such, Mighty Jaxx tries its best to use its products as a medium for communicating social messages. One example would be its “Alice in Wasteland” project – a reflection of the current state of the world where e-waste and pollution run rampant, and the “wonderland” that people once knew no longer exists.
Diving deep into the digital sphere
Taking the brand to its next level of growth, Mighty Jaxx has been making efforts to incorporate technology into the business. It has received support through participation in accelerator programmes run by Tribe Accelerator – supported by Enterprise Singapore, GovTech and Ubisoft. Recently, the brand was also selected to be part of the AppWorks Accelerator in Taiwan. These partnerships have helped Mighty Jaxx in the development of its proprietary technology platform, MightyVerse.
“MightyVerse is a blockchain powered platform that is equipped with a patented process to allow for the issuing of tamper-resistant and permanent digital certificates for every product release. As we grew, we realised that there was a growing secondary market of Mighty Jaxx products, in which prices were going for as much as 20 times the original sale amount.”
The development of the platform allows our collectors to know that they are dealing with a legitimate release. It also ensures that each and every digitally unique collectible cannot be duplicated, counterfeited or faked. Since the start of the year, this technology has been rolled out incrementally in our releases,” added Mr Aw.
With its technology platform, Mighty Jaxx seeks to move towards a vision of creating the future of entertainment. This includes the creation and development of smart products that will be able to transcend the physical and digital space. The brand is also exploring the development of experience centres, in which physical art can be made interactive for audiences.
Managing a creative team
When Mighty Jaxx started to grow in scale, managing people became a challenge for Mr Aw. An inability to juggle the situation properly led to good employees leaving, leading him to realise the importance of having a good human resource (HR) system in place.
“I honestly feel that managing people is even more challenging and complicated than managing creative or production processes. There was actually a point in time where I spent at least 70 per cent of my time talking to individuals instead of focusing on the growth of the company. After hiring someone experienced to handle HR matters, the immediate positive change made me wonder why I had thought I could do this all on my own,” expressed Mr Aw.
At Mighty Jaxx, there is a focus on culture fit and work quality to ensure that expectations are aligned and to create a sense of belonging. Beginning from the job interview itself, working relationship expectations are set between the talent and the brand. This is followed by the laying out of clear progression plans so that both parties can be aligned. The company also makes efforts to share and reinforce the vision of the brand to its employees in order to advocate the work culture that the company is trying to build.
In terms of supporting its employees, Mighty Jaxx starts by creating a friendly and inclusive environment for its employees. Recognising that work involves different personalities, styles, modes of concentration and interaction, the company accommodates for flexibility in working hours. Effectively, it helps to boost the productivity and motivation of its employees, which would also go towards talent retention.
“Our studio is designed to encourage creative thinking with the collaborative spaces available. Everyone brings in items that inspires them and the full landscape looks like a mish-mash of cultures; which is what Mighty Jaxx is all about – a convergence of subcultures. We find that this provides our team with the room to experiment. In addition, we never forget to show appreciation to our team by celebrating every small win and achievement. This helps to give encouragement and increase motivation amongst the team,” said Mr Aw.
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