HOOKED ON A FEELING
I remember the day the idea of making a toy hit me. I had visited a local dinner in Van Nuys, CA and while I waited for my table there was this vintage toy shop next door. At this time in my life I never collected toys nor had any interest in them, but as soon as I walked in an aisle stocked full of my childhood classics - I was smacked with the rush of nostalgia.
I went home and started researching old forgotten memories that seemed to have been set free by what I saw in that aisle. It was such a beautiful feeling that made me think of the power of a toy.
My career path has always been around storytelling and video production. I knew the power of creating an emotional response through video using words, music and visuals but I never experienced it by a tangible product.
From that point on I knew I wanted to make a toy... but no clue where to start.
Looking back, I now realize I started the same way I start most of my projects, I asked myself - Why?
Not why I wanted to make a toy, but why did the toy make me feel that way? What was it about the toy?
To me it landed on imagination. There was one link to all of the toys that sparked that sensation I was chasing, and it was that they all had a STORY. They each had a catchy theme song, and more importantly a tv series that developed the characters and made you fall I love with them.
But the coolest part of all these toys is what happened when those 30 minutes were up and you had no Netflix, HULU, Disney Plus lined up with endless content - you stepped back from the tv and played with your toy.
This is where all the adventures really happened and you let your imagination free, creating the bond you can never create with content. THAT to me was the power of the toy,
OFF THE SCREEN & INTO YOUR HANDS
So I started with what I knew how to do - Story.
I've written scripts with my buddies before, and always imagined creating a TV show. So I just tapped into that energy and this time instead of making scripts no one would ever read, I decided to put these story elements into trading cards, comics and of course create my own animated intro to a show that doesn't exist... yet.
I worked on things I knew I could figure out by a google search. I saw how expensive toy making is and still had a vague idea on how it could be even possible. So I focused on all the elements I could before making a toy.
I assembled all my ideas, had the characters designed by posting a craigslist ad, I had the animation done by using a freelancer site, and then I designed and printed all the elements using online printing services.
I went all out... till I burnt out.
TO THE 90s & BEYOND!
Somewhere down the line I lost spirit and steam. I literally fell in love with the characters and ideas of what they could do- but I still had no toys to hold and connect with.
Cut to 8 years later, the idea of making a toy never seem to have left me. Like a painless ache in the back of my head always calling my attention. During the pandemic I finally took the leap and decided to get them sculpted. I went with Scott Hensey, a traditional toy sculptor who incidentally turned out to be the guy behind so many of my favorite toys. It only seemed fitting!
As of today, I've finally gotten to the point where the prototypes are done and the real work begins... getting them out there!
9 to 5 Warriors is a toyline rooted in nostalgia for both the generation growing up and the Toys R’ Us Kids who never grew up.
Thank you for supporting this journey. I hope they bring you the very sense of magic and imagination that sparked them to life.