The Australian pop culture and toy firm, Geek X, has outlined its plans to shake up the puppets sector with a new line of Jack in the Box toys based on the iconic villains of the DC Comics universe.
Geek X is relatively new to the toy and pop culture merchandise scene, but plans are afoot for a determined launch in to the UK market, with discussions with potential UK distributors already taking place. The outfit has highlighted the UK as a key market for efforts that kick off with the launch of a Harley Quinn and The Joker jack in the box line.
Amid what is now set to be a busy year ahead of it, Geek X’s director Phillip Kapogiannis, takes some time out to chat with ToyNews about the comic-book fan’s grand plans.
Can you tell us about Geek X – who are you guys and what are you bringing to the toy/licensed gift space?
We’re a gaggle of geeky kids, who make toys and statues for other kids. The origin story is simple. All we’ve ever known and digested is pop culture. We’re the sort of people that read comic books, and feel so moved and inspired that we open the crayon pack and try to draw.
We’re a young team and have essentially been born into the toy sector, so we grew up around other companies creating amazing and impressive products and thought that we can add to the community and make our own statement.
Our USP is personal, we’re bringing a different approach to the traditional toy and collectable market. Batman for instance, isn’t just entertainment to us. These characters have much deeper stories, with super intricate meanings and lessons. They feel love, pain, pride and misery, sometimes even through a single issue or movie.
So in effect we’re trying to capture that storytelling aspect in every piece we make. It’s the real essence and emotions of the characters that we’re putting forward, and it’s as important to us as the functional design and so far the public response has been overwhelming.
How are you guys looking to shake up some of the more traditional toy sectors?
Specifically, in regard to the jack-in-the-boxes, we’re taking something traditionally aimed at children and styling it in a way that can be loved by all. The intention is to try a different approach with kids, normally reserved more for adults and collectors.
The younger generation, including infants, are constantly exposed to these IPs, they have never been ostracised or segregated for revelling in superheroes or pop culture. It’s a staple to them and ingrained in their psyche. Our aim is to give them and adults a pathway into their favourite stories and a cool memento to keep on the shelf. For example, the Harley Quinn Jack In The Box is intended to be read as a calling card left for Batman. It’s cheeky, mischievous and helps you craft your own story with Harley. One can add the included sticker and letter pack to further personalise and express individuality in a fun way. The puppet can be interpreted as cute or crazy depending on your perspective, again opening it up to all demographics.
We take a lot of time to make our products, and don’t want to just throw something together. It’s a way for us to communicate our love of pop culture by adding a story to each toy.
What plans have you guys got for the toy space from here? What plans have you got for the UK? How is Geek X tapping into the current pop culture explosion? What are your own plans for the pop culture space?
We’re going to keep working on our large scale premium pieces similar to the BXJ bust, and continuing the lower price point mass toys like the Jack In The Boxes. As a result of the immense social media response the Jack In The Boxes have had, there will be a full line of DC Comics villains coming, as well as lots of exciting new things that we are currently developing.
Regarding the UK we’re currently putting the plan together and discussing offers from distributors. We have a worldwide license and love working with likeminded companies. The UK is one of our primary markets and we’re super excited to see our pieces on the shelves soon.
What kind of licenses and brands are you looking to work with in this field?
We love Harry Potter so that would be great, and where there is DC there is Marvel. The Adult Swim titles are very interesting too. Fundamentally we only work with licenses and licensors we adore, understand their work and can make product deserving of their characters.
Can you talk us through your approach to building retail partnerships? How is this reflective of the current retail landscape?
A retail partnership is a symbiotic relationship. The manufacturer and the retailer both need each other, and it needs to be mutually beneficial. We believe in complete transparency, high ROIs for them and communication is a must for all parties.
When it comes to brokering relationships, we’re a little bit old school. We don’t want people to just list our product on their wholesale websites. We want to work closely with them, offering any assistance we can, be it from marketing to altering design based on their feedback. We want to structure long term partnerships and help retailers grow a community around our product.
What’s next for Geek X?
The plan is to work even harder for the consumers, especially given we are now trending. We want to give them the product they want, at the quality they want, without sacrificing a lower price point.
Furthermore, given our license is global, relationships with distributors we aren’t yet aware of is key, and spreading our brand is a priority. We also believe interaction with the customer base is important to future success. If we enlist the consumer in helping to design, we have a chance at the perfect product.
We’re growing so quickly from all the love and support and are humbled and very grateful.
It’s going to be a very exciting year for Geek X.