He says that for children, “they are different from their other toys. These are not the ones that are mass generated. And it’s like collectible cards – kids love to collect stuff ”.
The store is rented for free for four months as part of the City of Melbourne’s Storefront Activation Program in which artists and entrepreneurs fill 75 vacant stores in the CBD, Docklands and Carlton.
City Mayor Sally Capp says this is one of the “unique and colorful” businesses in the program that will help attract visitors to the city. Homeowners are always encouraged to come forward to offer vacant spaces.
Andersen, also known as the street artist Facter, is an avid toy collector and learned to make toys on his own as an artistic endeavor six years ago. He created the Irikanji toy brand by Facter.
His meeting with Indonesian toy maker 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 for launching the local community of toy designers and makers by encouraging artist networking and hosting exhibitions.
Mr. Croft-Cusworth and artist Liam Alkamraikhi were behind the new store.
Andersen says designer toys are “huge” abroad, especially in Asia where before the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibits are said to attract 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 boutique’s work 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 a single toy or one of a few dozen of that model.
He says the public can buy toys from the store, meet artists, and maybe get inspired to get into crafts.
He hopes there will be workshops and “toy toys”, where artists make toys together.
“It will be an amazing place for our community to showcase their work,” says Andersen. “It’s gonna be so much fun, I’m so excited about it all.”
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