Jun 01, 2006
Confessions of a Toy Pusher: There's a Fine Line [opinion]
Alright, so I’m as much of a fan of variants as the next guy but don’t you think it’s getting a little ridiculous? I want to be fair so I’ll start off with some counter-arguments. Designer toy companies drop tons of hard earned cash into making little plastic toys for all of us boys and girls and all they ask for in return is a medium sized wad of cash in their pockets. Looking at it from a broader point of view, the amount of risk being invested on a limited edition, limited targeted toy project is significantly higher than the rewards. Therefore you figure they would need to put themselves in the best position possible to get their investment back and then some. That’s where variants come in. They give the toymakers an added advantage by being able to sell 3 “Limited Editions” (Black! White! Glow!) of a toy instead of selling 1 “Semi-Limited Edition”. You see, making these “variants” is a hell of a lot cheaper than making a brand new sculpt and it significantly increases the chances of selling out all their figures considering there is a certain amount of figures that need to be produced to make them affordable. Sounds all nice and dandy right? But what happens when the medium wad of cash they’ve been earning eventually becomes a big wad of cash? They make even more variants of course!
May 03, 2006
Confessions of a Toy Pusher: The State of the Union
Today we bring you a new opinion column from a designer toy retailer or to use the author's preferred alias, "toy pusher". This column is being authored under that colorful pseudonym so that pusher can let loose just a bit more than might otherwise be the case. The plan is to have a new "confession" each month. And with that, here's the first article.
When the VP posse asked me to put together a column for their website I thought "Why would they want ME to write something about designer toys?" What do I know anyway? I'm just a retailer, a toy pusher. I can't speak for the artists and designers out there who toil for hours on end making toys in their little workshops until their fingers bleed (Blood Splattered Exclusive!) nor can I speak for the fans out there who troll on the messageboards and snipe on eBay© for their next vinyl hit. Heck, I can't even speak for any of the retailers out there. Do they do it for the money (¢¢¢)? Or maybe it's for their love of beautifully designed toys made for adults and kids with rich parents? Who knows. I figure I’m just going to write from the point of view I have any authority over, my own. Hope you understand.
Here's a little info about yours truly. I am a self-absorbed, profit obsessed designer toy retailer who tricks people into spending their hard earned money on little pieces of self destructive vinyl. I also dabble in a little design work from time to time (who doesn't!). My opinions come from me alone, there are no puppetmasters in the background nor is there a corporate entity funding my choice of the Eric So Hellboy figure being the best design in the known universe. If you have a problem with what I have to say please leave the gracious folks at VP out of it. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll have at it there.
The State of the Union (or how I learned to stop worrying and love vinyl)
So, where should we start? There’s a little article by Adrian Faulkner of action-figure.com from 2003 (http://www.action-figure.com/Article9305.html) that gives a very good intro course in Urban Vinyl/Designer Toys. For all you newbies out there, take a look at this article before buying a single designer toy, it’s a pretty neat read.
One of the reasons I bring up the article is because somewhere in there it states that they coined the phrase “Urban Vinyl”. I’m not trying to go after the AF guys about this but I think there’s some kind of unspoken rule that whoever coins a catchphrase is not allowed to announce their own “coinage”. Someone else needs give AF credit for the phrase to make it legitimate, at least that’s how I feel. I digress, the AF guys are cool and they can claim to invent the term if they like. “Urban Vinyl” has lost most of its relevance now anyway, which brings me to the main point of this article…