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June 13, 2016

Tenacious.ninja Interviews Gavriel Discordia, Founder of the Designer Toy Summit


Today we are talking with Gavriel Discordia, aka Psychological Industries. He and his wife Starr Mignon are owners of Discordia Culture Shop, Discordia Merchandising, Designer Stickers.net, the Underground Blend project, several capsule clothing labels, a non-profit, and a really cool tour van they use to bring their mobile pop-up designer toy store to cities everywhere. Gavriel also happens to be a blogger for Tenacious.ninja and is, in general, extremely active and creative when it comes to pushing the art toy industry forward. A guy with big ideas and the wherewithal to implement them deserves an interview!


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Benny Kline:  Thanks for talking with us Gavriel! Can you tell us a little bit more about what the Designer Toy Summit is, and why you wanted to launch this new event?

Gavriel Discord: Designer Toy Summit is my way of giving back to the designer toy world that my wife and I love so much. We have covered a huge area across the eastern U.S. and brought everyone's toy creations in front of huge numbers of convention goers and the response from the public was extraordinary. Having never seen these kinds of items before did not matter, the items found new homes and new collectors were born.

And now we are taking our convention experience to the next level and launching an event focused directly on toy artists, sculptors, the customizer community. We hope the retailers, manufacturers and designer toy companies will join in as well. This is a 'summit', not in the sense of an elite conference, but in the sense of a round-table gathering. And of course it is also open to the public, so we are looking forward to any exclusive releases artists can plan for this event.


Starr Mignon of Discordia Culture Shop / Discordia Merchandising / Designerstickers.net / Underground Blend
BK: Sounds like a really cool event! So what sets the Designer Toy Summit apart from the other yearly conventions? Can attendees expect this to be like DesignerCon in Pasadena?

GD: We unfortunately have never made it out to DesignerCon specifically. We hope to get another exclusive toy release launched through Discordia Merchandising and bring it to DesignerCon soon. We like to make every trip a business trip.

How it sets apart from most conventions of any type, is that this show is operated by a convention vending duo with 27+ shows experience, [Gavriel has even more experience vending back as far as 1998 at music festivals] and Designer Toy Summit will be about designer toys, toy artists, everything related to that world, and nothing else.

There are hundreds of comic, anime, and general fandom events across the U.S. every year, but there are far too few designer toy events. We hope to see more Designer Toy Cons spring up before ours even happens. And we cant wait to help others, who need assistance, pull it off so we can bring Discordia Culture Shop to their events too.




BK: DesignerCon is a really fun event. A lot of east coast attendees and vendors make it out. The vibe is really relaxed and fun, so I think in some ways it's the toy convention that is the easiest to draw comparisons to. I'm sure many people reading this piece have been to DCon. If you are able to bring a similar vibe to a more eastern location, I think that would be a real benefit to the designer toy industry.

Can you tell us what types of vendors you are hoping to attract to Designer Toy Summit? In your ideal vision of the event, who would be exhibiting?


GD: Companies that sell the equipment and supplies to make toys. Resin, Vacuum chambers, stuff like that. Companies with lots of DIY platforms like Kidrobot would be great. The more turning people on to making their own toys, the closer we will get to domestic toy factories springing up. We truly believe that the designer toy movement is going to be a big part of the DIY future, and a contributor to bringing manufacturing back to the United States. Events like Designer Toy Summit may be the key to making that happen, by getting the public exposed to the DIY toy process.

BK: And, I suppose, you'd be looking to attract independent artists and small indy toy / collectible companies as exhibitors?

GD:  That is the plan. We have an Exhibitor List for insider info releases, that we have been building up. Its not the same mailing list on the DTS website, that one is for the Convention going public. We can be emailed directly at info@designertoysummit.com for those Artists and Companies that want on the Exhibitor List.

We are reaching out to any Toy Production companies, anyone who makes Supplies and Equipment for toy making, the Paints and Colors, etc. And we are out to make everyone from Unbox Industries to Lego aware of this event. If an event like this can help jump-start relations between artists and companies, then great. If not, we can always start our own co-op companies and factories and chain stores. Maybe even animation companies. What's stopping us anyway?




BK: Well, clearly nothing's stopping you! You're owning this space these days! We are very excited to see how you push this industry forward. As we wrap up, why don't you tell everyone the vital details of the Designer Toy Summit: location, dates/times, how to buy tickets, where to find you on social to keep up, and anything else you need people to know about the event.

GD: Well, I don't know about all that, I just want there to be more Designer Toy Events, and I'm am far from alone in that thinking. If we have to build bridges where we find none, then so be it.

Designer Toy Summit will take place in Memphis TN, Sat, March 18th in 2017.

Exhibitor Spaces, VIP Tickets, and Advance Tickets can all be easily found at www.DesignerToySummit.com - If we missed something, anyone can reach us at info@designertoysummit.com

DTS can be followed at facebook.com/DesignerToySummit/ - Gavriel and Starr are on Instagram under @psyindustries and @starrmignon - and anyone looking to support Independent Art and Designer Toy Creators, over the next 8 months before Designer Toy Summit takes place, can visit www.DiscordiaCultureShop.com

Thanks Benny, and shout out to Plastic and Plush, Spanky Stokes, The Toy Chronicle, and Street Robot for the Blog Support for this event, and to Playful Gorilla on the SHOWception Podcast for having us on to talk about Designer Toy Summit.

See you all in Memphis,
Gavriel and Starr.