Funko FunKlub Asia (not affiliated with Funko) is a community of Funko collectors in the Asian region.
FFA Collector is a series that interviews a member collector and how the hobby is doing at his or her location. We had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing Ms. Prair Tumwattana. This beautiful scion of the famed Tumwattana business clan in Thailand is the owner of Play House and a leading light in her country’s retail toy scene. She was just recently at SDCC 2015 but still found some time in her jet-setter schedule to design the Tossakan POP in conjunction with Mindstyle.
FFA: So as I understand it, your family is a well known business family in Thailand with many business interests?
Prair: My family owns Thailand’s leading fresh goods market in Bangkok and we also have the license to design and sell Body Glove Merchandise here.
FFA: What is your background? Did you study/work in the UK as a fashion designer?
Prair: My background is in business management. I have a master’s degree in that field but I also obtained a master’s degree in fashion marketing from the London College of Fashion. Most of my degrees are from the United Kingdom. I also did a 6-month internship with Eugenia Kim in New York City.
FFA: Do you own Play House? Why did you open it? How did you start selling Funko?
Prair: Yes I am the owner of Play House. Play House was established in 2014, but plans were in place since 2010. I took time to do my research and gather all the brands. I wanted to make a landmark store in Thailand. I opened Play House because I wanted to host the Thailand Toy Expo event and I saw there was a big market for it. My goal was to create a community rather than just a new store. With regards to Funko, I wanted to be their sole distributor. It took me a year to create a relationship with them. They’ve been great to deal with.
FFA: Do you have a lot of friends into collecting POPs? How did they get into it?
Prair: When I started selling POPs, no one in Thailand knew the brand but people were attracted to the cuteness and eventually became hooked. Now, most of my friends collect POPs. POPs provide an avenue for my customers to create community by sharing customs and photos for example.
FFA: How did you get into it?
Prair: I first bought POPs because my mom loves toys and I found myself buying all of the Disney princesses for her. I didn’t consider myself a collector but I was wrong! (laughs)
FFA: What was your first POP?
Prair: classic Disney Aurora
FFA: What is your favorite POP?
Prair: My favorite Pop is Pop! Asia Tossakan. I helped design it from scratch and conceptualized the character. I love all the detailing on it. The head piece was exceptionally difficult but it turned out perfect!
FFA: Why do you think POPs have taken off all of a sudden in Thailand when they’ve been around for a while?
Prair: I think it’s just the timing. I showcased POPs at the Thailand Toy Expo. We had 500,000+ attendees and did a ton of interviews, media events and celebrity endorsements. We were able to introduce POPs to the mainstream market. POPs offer an alternative for those who love collectible toys but don’t want to spend $200-300 per figure. They are also kid-friendly.
FFA: Do you do other collectibles/toys?
Prair: Yes I also have other collectible toys as well. My brother has a huge collection of designer toys. These are all pre-ordered and very limited in quantity.
FFA: Which POPs are you still looking for?
Prair : The older SDCC sets. Hopefully I can get them all.
FFA Got a picture of your POP display?
FFA: What POP would you next like to see?
Prair: I would like to see Doraemon, Bomberman and Raving Rabbit.