He says that for children, “they are different from their other toys. They are not the ones that are mass generated. And it’s like trading cards — kids love to collect stuff.
The shop is offered free for four months as part of the City of Melbourne’s storefront activation program in which artists and entrepreneurs occupy 75 vacant shops in the CBD, Docklands and Carlton.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp says it is one of the scheme’s “unique and colourful” businesses that will help attract visitors to the town. Landlords are always encouraged to come forward to offer vacant space.
Andersen, also known as street artist Facter, is an avid toy collector and taught himself how to make toys through art work six years ago. He creates the toy brand Irikanji by Facter.
Meeting Indonesian toymaker Cipta Croft-Cusworth at a toy fair in Singapore in 2017 inspired him even more. Mr. Croft-Cusworth moved to Australia a few months later, and Andersen credits him with boosting the local toy designer-maker community by encouraging artist networking and organizing exhibitions.
Mr Croft-Cusworth and artist Liam Alkamraikhi launched the new store.
Andersen says designer toys are “huge” overseas, particularly in Asia where, before the COVID-19 pandemic, exhibits drew up to 75,000 people. He says that in Japan there are more than 50 designer toy stores.
Among the artists contributing to the Melbourne store will be Rachee Renee (Peachees Toy World) and Mr. Croft-Cusworth’s brand, Good Guys Never Win.
Andersen says prices can range from $10 to hundreds. A toy can be unique or one of dozens of this model.
He says the public can buy toys from the shop, meet artists and maybe be inspired to do the craft themselves.
He hopes there will be workshops and “toy jams”, where artists make toys together.
“It will be such an amazing place for our community to showcase their work,” Andersen said. “It’s going to be so much fun, I’m so excited about the whole thing.”
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