Funko CEO talks about two Pop Brands

Mondo logo top shop.

Mondo’s booth at Funkovill at Comic-Con 2022.
picture: io9 / Germain Loser

Growing up, we’ve all had a moment where something special and special that we loved officially became mainstream and became less and less cool. Maybe your favorite band finally has a huge album. It’s probably a great little movie that you’ve discovered getting a new version of Hollywood. The sad truth is that with anything smart and successful, it’s inevitable Something bigger will take her Everything good about her is destroyed.

for lovers Collectible brand MondoThis was among the initial ideas when Funko bought the poster, vinyl, and toys in June 2022. These days, there aren’t many brands in the collectible space. Bigger than Funko. It is a name that is synonymous with having something for everyone and available everywhere. It is basically the opposite of Mondo. Mondo products are usually limited and only available in one place. This is a big part of what Make it wonderful.

When San Diego Comic-Con 2022 was initially announced, Mondo—then owned by the Alamo Drafthouse—was on the west side of the convention hall, surrounded by fellow convenience stores and dealers. But after it was acquired by Funko, it was moved to the exact other side of the convention, part of a massive kiosk called Funkoville, which consisted of multiple Funko brand storefronts, massive shoots, and square footage that dwarfed every time. Another booth on the floor.

I have Mondo Stickers Collected Since about 2008. At first I would buy them online or on special occasions, and eventually that turned into lining up for exhibitions and conferences. I’ve been collecting Funko for a long time too Famous commentary on their demise in 2015. But the brands feel so diametrically opposed to one and the other that when I had the chance to talk to Funko CEO, Andrew Perlmutter, at Comic-Con, I had to figure out why his massive brand took over this smaller Mondo brand, and what it means. for both. Read our conversation below.

sdcc crowds outside funko . booth

Crowds are heading to Funcoville. Mondo on the left.
picture: io9 / Germain Loser

Germain Lussier, io9: I’ve been a fan of both Mondo and Funko for a long time but when I heard you’ve acquired Mondo I thought “that’s a pretty weird marriage” because it’s obviously pop culture but Mondo is like a niche thing, and Funko is very mainstream. So at first, I’d just like to hear how did this happen?

Andrew Perlmutter: We’ve been fans of the Mondo brand for many years, for the same reason you are. They make beautiful products, [there’s] Very unique look and feel of their products. And so we liked them for a long time. We are always in conversations with the various brands we admire. And so when we had the opportunity to have a conversation about acquiring it and including it in our portfolio of brands, we took full advantage of it. We had a chat and decided Funko would be a really good home for them and they agreed. So it was mutual. They were very excited about it.

And I think the most important thing for someone like you who is a Mondo fan is that our goal is to build the Mondo brand. Our goal is not to turn Mundo into Funko. This is not what we do. Because you are right. We have an opening price point, and a low entry in holdings. That’s what Funko does. Not only do we do it at a good price, but we do it for 1,100 different licensees.

io9: Exactly. yes.

Perlmutter: So we go a mile, sometimes an inch deep, which is why we’re still around the corner and everything is going well because we don’t have to optimize every SKU. So with Mondo, it’s a completely different proposition and we know that and we’re excited to help them grow in different ways. Can we put Mondo at every Walmart tomorrow? yes. are we going to? No, this will not happen. We think of Mondo as an opportunity to grow globally, also do our direct to consumer business, and continue to build our direct to consumer business through Mondo[shop].com.

io9: That’s great to hear. Now, when I asked a bunch of Mondo fans online what they wanted to know about this new property, the main thing was the licenses. Like I said, you can access almost every license. I’m sure there’s no license you can’t get if you wanted to. Maybe one or two. Mondo, with regard to their posters, sometimes there are problems with it. They can’t have every license, there are similarity rights issues, they need to approve all credits. Fans want to know if owning a Funko would make this easier for them? Is this something you talked to them about?

Perlmutter: yes. I would say that one of the benefits for Mondo, for the Mondo brand, from partnering with Funko is the idea that we are able to help them with certain things that have been difficult for them to open as a small niche business. Obviously, we work closely with licensors. Licensors love working with Funko. So we think there will be some slots to get in there. Certain things like similarity will always be an issue, right? And so I can’t say we have a silver bullet for the analogy. But I would say that whether it’s expanding access to different licenses or if opening certain things is an obstacle for them, I think we can help them.

io9: Yeah I guess with Funko Pops, you don’t really have to worry about the similarity, right?

Perlmutter: No, we’ve had conversations about that. You never have to worry about that, but it does come up occasionally, which is why I’m saying I don’t think there’s a silver bullet for that for labels, but I do think we’ve got permission from a lot of our licensing partners who are open to having the conversations.

Big size funko pops of squid toy.

Colossal squid game pops on your screen.
picture: io9 / Germain Loser

io9: One of the things Mondo did so well, and Covid really hurt, was the personal events. They had an exhibition, They had MondoConThey had mystery movies, are those things you’re hoping to get back?

Perlmutter: definitely. You know, it’s very basic in our DNA. We love interacting with our fans. So you can take a look at more of that.

io9: Where do you see Mondo in the next five years?

Perlmutter: I would say that as you do, you will see an expansion of their licenses that they work with and I think we will try to make it easier for global fans of Mondo to get the products.

io9: Yes, sometimes they can only ship to certain countries.

Perlmutter: It’s expensive too. And we have distribution in all of those places. So if we can locate stock near the fans, they will pay much less for shipping. So we believe there are opportunities for growth globally. It is clear that we will help the development of Mondo[shop].com. has just been named one of the fastest growing collectible e-commerce sites, which is very exciting to us, by Newsweek. And so we believe there are a lot of synergies to help develop it. But again, grow mondo Brand. This is important to us and make sure the brand continues to thrive because that’s what we got. I mean, we could have made quality collectibles. We could have made posters. Maybe we could have made vinyl. I don’t know. But it was not Mundo. This is what was important to us.

io9: Mondo started with posters and has continued to expand into vinyl games, toys, and games, do you see this expansion continuing?

Perlmutter: of course, yes. And just like us, we open our eyes to what makes sense. Like, do we make mondo shower curtains? Mostly not. But when there are opportunities to expand and serve Mondo fans, we’ll look at them.

Logo at Mondo booth

Mondo booth
picture: io9 / Germain Loser

io9: We’ve talked about what Funko can do for Mondo but what can Funko learn from Mondo?

Perlmutter: We can learn a lot from Mundo, right? Like what an amazing brand. I think the way they present their products is something we can learn from. Again, we have a different demographic. We’re kind of talking to two different ends of the spectrum in terms of price points. But I mean, they’re just made like this… It’s a work of art. They make beautiful work of art. So, yeah, I think they can teach us as much as we can teach them.

io9: As a fan, it’s great to hear all of this. I know a lot of fans were just thinking “We don’t want Mondo stickers with Funko Pops on them”.

Perlmutter: We don’t do that either. Like I said, we don’t want Mondo to be distributed the same way Funko is distributed. We don’t want pop stickers. We can do it ourselves. This is not interesting to us. So we don’t want to, like, take album covers and turn them into pop covers. This does not happen, so do not worry.

io9: The last thing. With Mondo, since everything tends to be very limited, this means that the brand requires people to wait in line. It’s all about waiting in line. Funko has streaks too, but you also play the lottery and I know this year at Comic-Con a lot of fans were really disappointed because when Mondo moved in with Funko, winning the lottery became much more difficult than just lining up for a poster. Is this something that will continue or perhaps you will reconsider?

Perlmutter: I think we will continue to evaluate it. The idea is that we want to make sure we have this set of brands together and we want to give as many people access as possible. So we’ll continue to evaluate it as we move forward. Maybe there is a chance to get a specific line for Mondo.

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