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How Super 7 Built a Retail Environment for the Fans

Super7 shares insight into creating absurdly impractical products and a retail environment built for fans.

Designer, retailer and licensee of retro collectibles and apparel, Super7 was built by fans, for fans. Founded in 2001 by designer Brian Flynn, whose defining mantra is “we grew up with giant monsters, comic books, punk, science fiction, skateboarding, robots and rebellion. No one made what we wanted, so we made it ourselves,” Super7 is forming the foundations of one of the world’s leading collectibles, nostalgia, apparel and accessories licensees in the U.S. 

From retro-inspired toys, play sets and apparel from a wealth of brands and licenses including “Aliens,” “Red Dawn,” “Masters of the Universe,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Iron Maiden, Garbage Pail Kids and Major League Baseball, to name a few, Flynn explains how to create a retail offering with a difference.

License Global: What makes Super7 unique in terms of retail, licensing and manufacturing? 
Flynn: As lifelong fans and collectors, we set out to create the things that we wanted to have that did not already exist. This can lead us to some pretty unusual and fun products – nobody else is going to license Red Dawn or make Paulie's Robot from the fourth film of the Rocky franchise, for example, or absurdly impractical yet amazing items like the humongous Snake Mountain Playset. Conventional wisdom would tell us to stay away from these kinds of things and play it safe, but if we want people to believe in and be excited about what we make, we have to start by making things that we believe in and are excited about ourselves. We hold ourselves to this standard in everything we do, not just in creating the products but in manufacturing, to make certain the product and packaging are perfect when they reach the hands of our customers, and in creating the types of retail environment and experience we would want. 

How is this a market unique to Super7 right now, and how do you see the nostalgia market changing? 
Super7 stands out as unique because we make the things that nobody else is going to make and we push ourselves to go the extra mile necessary to make them perfect. We started making products centered around properties from the 1970s and 1980s, because that's when we grew up. There are now new opportunities to explore both properties from the 1990s and later as well as some of the deeper cuts from our own generation. 

Specializing in retro collectibles, how is your licensing model allowing you to reach more people through more properties? 
There are a lot of people out there who grew up with different things than we did. Expanding the range of properties we license means we can share the nostalgic experience we have with “Star Wars” or “Masters of the Universe” with more people with different interests. 
 
How is your relationship with your consumer changing in these difficult times? What are people looking for? 
Right now, things are pretty weird for everyone, and what people seem to want is to relate directly about it. We are still talking to our customers about specific products we are making, but we are also talking directly via social media with people about how we make the products we make and how we are managing the difficult present scenario ourselves, through our Ask Super7 and Get Weird with Super7 campaigns… Mostly we are seeing people looking for ways to find some entertainment and normalcy in all of this, which has translated into a healthy online retail business for us. 

TAGS: Toys & Games
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