Leslie Tay, a helicopter rescue crewman by training, also runs studi@pe, a concept store selling Bearbricks and other collectibles. He tells us more about his obsession with big boy toys.
By Kim Hana
Photos by Marc Tan
How many Bearbricks do you own?
About several hundred pieces in different sizes – mainly 100% (7cm), 400% (28cm) and 1000% (70cm).
How long have you been collecting Bearbricks?
6 years. It all started when I was living and working in Hong Kong. Bearbricks are a big thing in Hong Kong and that’s how I started collecting them.
What was the very first toy you bought?
It was a M.A.S.K. Condor as a kid. My first Bearbrick was the Bathing Ape x Bearbrick set.
Which are the most treasured pieces in your collection?
The Bearbrick x OriginalFake Kaws Chomper and Kaws 2002 are my all time faves because of their unique designs. They cost between $700 to $800 each.
Why do Bearbricks appeal to you so much?
It’s fascinating to see various designs and spin-offs applied to the same bear mould.
When did you decide to make a business out of your hobby?
It was an idea I toyed with 6 years ago while I was just a hobbyist collector. I always thought it’d be nice to set up my own shop. Eventually, in August 2012 I set up studi@pe, where I now sell Bearbricks and other toys and t-shirts from A Bathing Ape and Aape. My wife, Esther, who is an experienced hair stylist, also offers hairdressing services at the shop. We welcome both the young and the young at heart to our store!
Are all the Bearbricks in the store for sale?
Not all – but most of them are. Those with price tags are for sale, the rest are priceless and too precious to sell for now!
How do you care for and store your collection?
I ensure that my items are cleaned and dust-free. I also store them away from heat.
What about toy collecting excites you?
The anticipation of a new collection or collaboration is the most exciting part about toy collecting.
Are you still buying new toys or have you stopped?
There is no ending where it comes to toys! Hopefully, we can expand our business by having another branch for the convenience of our customers.
Fill in the blanks. “My friends look at my collection and they say…
… GOOD SH#T!” (The Straatosphere team 100%… 400%… 1000% agrees!)