Voltage on Main Street has become one of my favourite stores in the entire city. To think I only found out about it a few months ago. Not only does it have great designer toys and funky clothing, it has the best customer service. I’d like to thank Christian for taking the time out to do this interview and giving something back to our awesome readers. The interview and contest details are below.
VcB: First of all I’d like to say I’m now a huge fan of your shop. With that being said what is the story behind the name “Voltage”?
Voltage: Hey, thanks! We try and make the store as fun and friendly as possible and it’s great to know that people enjoy themselves when they visit!
The name is a bit weird, but it has a logical root. When I started my first business almost 10 years ago, I began by importing personal electric vehcicles (mostly electric bicycles) to Canada. That business went through a bunch of transitions, from importer to wholesaler, and finally to retailer. For those products, the name Voltage made a lot of sense!
When my partner Erika came on-board and we transitioned to our current business (which has nothing to do with electric vehicles) we just kept the name! Not that it fits that well, but it is sort of catchy.
VcB: How long have you been on Main Street and why did you choose to open up shop on Main?
Voltage: We opened on Main Street just over 5 years ago. When looking for a location, we spent lots of time walking around different neighbourhoods: Downtown, Westend, Kits, Commercial Drive, etc… and just getting a feel for the street and what the vibe was. Main Street just felt right! Oh, and the rent was pretty reasonable too 😉
VcB: What was the thought process in opening up this type of shop in Vancouver?
Voltage: When we got interested in designer toys and started collecting, there was nowhere in Vancouver that had what we were looking for. We fell pretty deep for all the amazing stuff that was coming out, and because we had experience importing and retailing, it made sense for us to start selling designer toys!
To be honest, we didn’t really think it out too much – never a good idea and not something to recommend, but it all worked out OK.
VcB: For the readers that are unaware could you explain the buzz around Kidrobot? Are there clubs and meets in Vancouver for this sort of thing?
Voltage: The Kidrobot aesthetic is probably what people find most appealing: Clean, modern, fun, and colourful. Kidrobot has taken Pop Art to whole new level and have shown lot of artist’s work to a huge, new audience. They’ve produced pieces with some incredibly talented people, and most items are done in quite limited quantities, so many of the pieces they put out are very collectible.
As far as meet-ups and such: We generally have some kind of event for major toy releases like Kidrobot’s Dunny series and get a good crowd out to the store to hang out and trade. Lots of the activity is centered around the new release, but people bring older pieces to trade too.
VcB: What would be the typical customer profile for Votlage?
Voltage: Hmmm….. That’s a tough one! We’re super-lucky to have a really broad range of customers, from little kids that are drawn in by the bright colours, to older art collectors buying for pieces to show in their homes. We have tattoo artists, figure skaters, young, old – you name it!
VcB: Any more release parties on the horizon?
Voltage: I can’t really say anything yet, but look for something to happen early in the New Year 😉
VcB: What is the hottest item or items that Voltage carries?
Voltage: We do really well with the small, “blind-box” toys like the Dunny series. People enjoy the gambling aspect of it as each box is a surprise, and there are some amazingly detailed pieces for really good prices. Most of the series also have “chase” figures, rarer items that there may only be a few of in the world.
For clothing, we carry quite a lot of tokidoki. The brand is out of LA, but the artist Simone is Italian and they have an amazing line that girls go nuts for!
VcB: Where do you see Voltage 5 years, 10 years from now?
Voltage: Wow, that’s a tough one! We’ve seen the Vinyl toy industry grow a lot since we’ve been in business, and I think there will always be a place for art-centered products, whether toys, t-shirts, home decor, or something else. What we’ve learned is that change is the only constant, so whatever the future holds, it will likely look quite different from today.
VcB: Any last words you’d like to share about Voltage to our readers?
Voltage: First, I want to thank VancityBuzz.com for all their support and to apologize for the ridiculous delay in getting this interview out to you! December is always busy in the shop and there is tons to do keep things running smoothly.
Hopefully your readers will check-out our website, www.VoltageLand.com, to get an idea of the stuff we carry, then come down to the store! We really pride ourselves on our friendly, helpful service and maintaining a clean and bright shop. Mention that you came from VancityBuzz.com and we’ll give you 10% off until January 31st, 2010 (excluding our Boxing Days promotion, always busy with great deals!)
Have a great Holiday Season and hope to see you all in the New Year!
Once again many thanks go out to Christian and the friendly staff at Voltage for doing this interview during what is the busiest time of the year for them. They have kindly given us the following items as part of our giveaway to our loyal readers.
The total value is $55.00 and would make great stocking stuffers for Christmas.
To enter, simply retweet this link @VancityBuzz and leave a comment on this post to double your chances to win! Contest ends at midnight Sunday December 20, 2009.
(. .) VOLTAGE
4346 Main Street, Vancouver BC V5V 3P9
ph. 604.709.8214 or 877.832.9253