My daughter and I play with toys all the time, and use our imagination to help create scenarios to go with our play time. I decided that since we enjoy toys so much, I would speak with someone about toys. Trevor Yopp, one of the two curators of Toy Joy, was kind enough to answer some questions.
Travis Blair: As a curator of a toy store, you must have seen a lot of children’s faces light up. Is there any common theme among toys that typically brings kids, well, joy?
Trevor Yopp: Color is the most common theme in my opinion. The more vibrant the product is the more it’s likely to get a child’s attention. The best toys are always rainbow colored.
Travis: Trends come and go. Do you have any popular toys in stock that are considered timeless?
Trevor: Conceived in a rubber factory in the 1920’s, the whoopee cushion is one of the most classic toys. Less well known than the whoopee cushion, Rattlesnake Eggs, a classic practical joke from the depression era. One winds up the contents, placing them back in the package and hands them to the victim. The victim opens them out of curiosity and gets a surprise as the contents unwind, creating a rattling noise. We also aim to keep your standards such as the hand buzzer, switchblade comb, and Groucho glasses in stock. I believe every child should experience the mischievous nature of practical jokes.
Travis: What culture do you think has made the most interesting toys?
Trevor: You’ve asked who do I think has made the most interesting toys and realistically speaking, it’s China. China makes the world’s toys, and more specifically since they attempt to circumvent licensing you end up with quite a strange variety. However, Americans used to market some of the most fascinating toys up until the late 1980’s when merchandising took over. Though, as I’ve been curating for the store for the better part of a decade, I have fallen in love with merchandise from Japan. They are so much more in touch with being young at heart.
Travis: Toys don’t have to be limited to just kids. Is there anything at Toy Joy that often appeals to the kids at heart?
Trevor: I often see adults pick up stickers, small plastic toy figures, candy, and party favors. Adults often have to consider the contents of their wallet and as such they are much more frugal with their spending. I rarely see an adult miss an opportunity to prank a friend, and as such, one of our best selling products is a rubber roach.
Travis: What is your favorite toy currently on your store shelves?
Trevor: If I had to pick only one, then I would give it to the Wee Wee Water Squirter Boy. You’ve probably seen it before, it’s a little plastic statue of a boy holding his shirt up. You can reach out and pull his short down and if you do then you’re going to get urinated on. It’s just water, you tell yourself, but you can’t help but feel a little bit dirty.
You can learn about Toy Joy and even buy something fun for your child (or you!) at toyjoy.com, or if you’re in Austin, TX, stop by 2nd St just across from La Condesa and next to Lamberts.
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