Experiencing déjà vu lately? It seems the hot toys that once dominated the toy industries in the ’60s and ’70s are making their way back into the hands of today’s electronically crazed child.
With the resources of new technological advancements, creating new models from old toys is a piece of cake. Actually, it is even easier now than it was in the ’60s. Kids today still love the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Barbies, and of course the Legos empire – brands not likely to exit the market anytime soon.
But what these toys do not offer is a real glimpse into our past. They lack a certain level of authenticity. They lack collectability.
Well, thanks to a group of experienced industry professionals, the collectibles market will continue to grow with their new spin on an old classic.
Welcome to the world of the Head-Liners, a series of reinvented little buddies buzzing with witty one-liners and impeccable illustrations. The new version of the original wooden “Popsies” from the ’60s, Head-Liners offer a customizable, user-friendly plastic collectible that revives the impressionable era of groovier times.
To quote the Grim Reaper, a character in their “Fright Night” series, “It’s time.”
This isn’t really a toy. This is a keepsake item for the young at heart. It’s for the young professionals working their corporate, entry-level gigs during the week and attending every Comic-Con event in the nation on the weekends..
Like most startups these days, the creators of Head-Liners — Justa ‘Bout Any Thangoes LLC of Worcester — have founded a Kickstarter campaign to help move along the production time of the funny, budding characters. With a goal of $9,500 — less than 10 percent raised and two weeks to deadline — members of the Head-Liners production team are heading back to their roots. Grassroots, that is.
Brian Maggio, a man of many fortes, said, “I have a background in the toy industry with sales and product development. I understand the markets and have worked with large national accounts like Hot Topic, Barnes & Noble, and Toys-R-Us, with product placement, sales and trends for over 8 years.”
He adds, “With the Kickstarter, we hope to have the money to unlock future series, as this is a two-part series product, with more to come.”
Julie Dix, the “numbers person” on the team, said, “The $9,500 listed on Kickstarter is to help us launch us into the next step. It is our jumpstart to the next level of production and our ability to speak with huge accounts like Hot Topic. The real work starts after the campaign launches.”
With an extensive background in product knowledge, product development, sales force, art and overall knowledge of consumer behavior, the production team members wear an endless number of hats to contribute to the success of their campaign.
Tom Rushton, Maggio’s partner in sales, said, “Right now, you can purchase the original ‘Popsies’ on eBay for a range of $50 to $100. I say original, because they also come in packaging from the ’60s. You know, the nails are rusty, the paint may or may not have lead and the product quality does not really allow you to enjoy or gift these Popsies.”
So what would you do with a Head-Liner?
Well, you customize it. You create the messages for a sick friend to cheer them up — be sure to stay away from the Grim Reaper on that one — or for laughs in the office, or even to send a marriage proposal to a girlfriend of equal humor. It is user-friendly. In a day and age when new products require you to be plugged into Wi-Fi, the Head-Liners offer a bit of the off-the-grid feeling that so many yearn for.
It is the equivalent of a handwritten note. When was the last time anyone has received one of those?
“This is for the text world. This enhances the new niche market of messaging,” Dix said. “There is nothing out there like it.”
With a bunch of business-savvy team members, the Head-Liners series is able to separate itself from the rest with their innate ability to bring to life some of the characters that are globally acknowledged as front-runners in their genre. This is all possible with the artistic expression of Larry Jones, current illustrator for the primary launch.
“Most of my illustration styles tend to lean toward the fun and wacky with a little bit of a retro twist. Brian Maggio has contacted me for many projects in the past. Some of those were: a puzzle game called ‘Microbes Attack,’ as well as three retro-themed card games: Nab Nana’s Num-Nums, Bea and Buster’s Bubble-Burt, and Dr. Fizzy’s Fabulous Floats,” Jones said.
An illustrator for more than 27 years, Jones seems to be the go-to person on all things artistic.
If this team is so-well versed, then why the Kickstarter page? Can’t they just call Newbury Comics and make them order 300 at a time?
“The fact that we have over 4,500 connections between the four of us, it has actually hindered us. Most of our friends, colleagues and associates assume that we are OK and we do not need the help,” Maggio said. “We are starting to reach out to people and becoming more personal with them, so they understand that our need is there.”