As the digital art and NFT space continue to grow and become an emerging platform, one pervasive issue remains — gender inequality. Excedrin is on a mission to change the future that we seem to be headed toward by making the metaverse more inclusive and equitable for women. 

To do so, Excedrin is introducing Equal Bytes — an effort sponsored by the brand in partnership with Makersplace — designed to support female NFT creators and remove the literal and metaphorical headaches they face when entering the space. Through MakersPlace, Excedrin will launch an exclusive grant program that will recruit female artists to the NFT space and support the minting and purchase of their first NFT.

We sat down with Stacey Harris, VP of Marketing, US Pain, Haleon to learn more about Excedrin’s motivations, plans for the future, and how they will be rooting for women creators for the long haul.

MP: What was the genesis moment for the idea behind Equal Bytes?

SH: As the head pain expert for more than 50 years, we at Excedrin are on a mission to reduce literal – and metaphorical – headaches wherever they exist. We know that in the digital art and NFT environment, one pervasive issue remains – gender inequality. 

Research showed us that 77% of NFT sales go to male creators, and women make up less than 20% of the NFT market – proving there’s a big gender disparity in the space. And not just that but women (and all artists) are faced with barriers (or headaches) to getting their art minted and sold. 

So, we teamed up with MakersPlace, the premier marketplace for rare and authentic digital fine art, to introduce Equal Bytes and remove the headaches women creators face when entering the space. We’re excited to embark on this shared mission to make the digital art landscape more inclusive and equitable for women, especially as the NFT and cryptocurrency space continue to grow in popularity. 

MP: How do you envision Equal Bytes actually lifting up women creators in the NFT space? What does the best-case scenario look like a year after Equal Bytes is done?

SH: Through Equal Bytes, our mission is to reduce the crypto art space gender disparity by reducing the barriers many women face upon entry — ultimately encouraging more women creators to enter the digital art space. 

A year from now (but hopefully much sooner!), we hope women creators will have increased visibility and exposure throughout the industry. 

MP: What do you see as the biggest challenge to making Equal Bytes the success you envision?

SH: Our ultimate goal is to shrink (and close) the gender gap within this area, but we know this isn’t something that we can “fix” overnight. We’re starting off with the creation of Equal Bytes to encourage more women to enter the crypto art space.

From there, we’re guaranteeing 100 bids, but we hope this spurs additional societal awareness of the issue at hand: gender inequality. More importantly, we hope to elevate the conversation that will ultimately create a groundswell of additional support in closing the gender gap. 

MP: In what other ways has Excedrin entered the crypto space?

SH: This is an exciting new chapter for us, so we are grateful to the MakersPlace team for their partnership and expertise in helping us understand where we can make the most difference. 

MP: Can you tell me about any other social-good programs that Excedrin has been involved in recently?

SH: As mentioned above, as a brand, we are on a mission to relieve headaches – both literal and metaphorical – wherever they exist. While this is our first official “social-good” program, as a brand, we strive to deliver empathy and understanding in everything we do, and especially to those experiencing head pain of all kinds. Sometimes that has come to life in more lighthearted ways, like helping gamers “keep their heads in the game,” or in more serious ways, like giving back missed moments due to migraines to those who suffer. 

MP: Has Excedrin been involved with the art world previously? If so, in what capacity?

SH: Yes! In 2021 we partnered with female visual artists across a variety of verticals to harness the power of visual expression and spread awareness of migraine through the representation of their own personal migraine experiences. We called it #MYgraine. 

For most migraine sufferers, research shows an average gap of six years between their first migraine occurrence and a formal diagnosis—with the first onset typically occurring around age 16. That is six years of unexplained pain, disorientation, and anxiety for the more than 39 million people in the US who suffer from migraines. 

Migraine is also an “invisible condition,” and so art was an important tool to help sufferers not only express how they felt but also to help others understand what migraine can feel like in the hopes they would recognize the condition and work with their doctor to get properly diagnosed, thereby shrinking the “Migraine Diagnosis Gap.” 

You can check out our partners’ artistic expressions on their Instagram profiles: Creme Fatale, Jamie Greenberg, Stina Aleah, and Annie Thomas (CreativeCliche).

MP: How do you see the NFT space developing in the future? Artistically, culturally, and financially?

SH: NFTs have had many ups and downs over the past year, but we think that the core technology – proof of provenance and ownership – is going to have a lasting impact on the art world.

In fact, it’s already had an immense impact. Whether it is Beeple’s historic auction sale, the growth of new categories like Generative and AI-collaborative art, or the emergence of new crypto and digital-first marketplaces like our partners, NFTs have already transformed the art world and created new opportunities for generations of digital artists. 

NFTs may continue to transform industries like finance, live event ticketing, and many others. But we see its immediate impact being in the art world and creator economy, and we’re excited to have Excedrin be a part of this transformation.

MP: Do you personally have any favorite artists on MakersPlace?

SH: It’s hard to name just one, but I’ve been especially impressed and inspired by the Equal Bytes Curators, who we’ve partnered with through Equal Bytes, and look forward to seeing who else emerges through the program! This space is all about the freedom to do what one wants and be creative, even if it means going against the status quo. However, one of my favorite qualities of these talented artists is how they bring people together through different communities, whether you’re a painter, sculptor, illustrator, or designer. 

MP: Do you own any NFTs? If so, which are your most prized pieces? And how do you display them?

SH: Not yet! But Equal Bytes will give me a new opportunity to purchase!

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