Interview with a Collector - ggsdolls blog Series
Here's my monthly series on my blog where I share some of the most amazing collectors, sellers, and creatives, that have become friends of mine and what they collect and why?
For the month of November, my blog interview is with the sweet, kind, and one of the masters of cuteness on Instagram and owner of the Etsy shop LePetitCheriShop, also known as joujoukawaii on Instagram, Alvina.
I was originally from Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver, Canada with my
family when I finished elementary school. I proudly call Vancouver my
home, and am currently living with all boys at home.
Hmmm.. I initially fell in love with the Rushton Happy Bear and my dream bear was the pink happy bear! I began searching on eBay around 4 years ago in 2018 when rubber face plushies were still popular but not as popular as it is today. At the time, I saw adorable Rushtons photos mostly on Japanese collectors account and I searched for hashtags on IG to admire others’ collection.
As many already know, I actually started collecting kitschy ceramics (mostly just animals), in 2017. The Japanese big eyed figurines won my heart. The ceramics are still a big love of mine, in addition to Easter bunny plushies, vintage wind up bears, and of course rubber face plushies! Ohhh! Forgot to mention kitschmas decor too, with pink Santas being my favorite thing to collect! As you can see, I love too many kitschy things!
Oooo.. I would say my collection is the happy place for me. I could spend all day admiring my collection, not knowing where to look first. I love rearranging displays for different seasons, but I must say that bunnies are always in season in my home all year round. Seeing the sweet faces at home make me happy, and thus, all collectibles in my home have happy cute faces. I am a very happy person who is always positive about life and people.. and as such (you guys may also notice), there is never a crying face in my collection. (Despite how cute those crying rubber face plushies are!)
I think it’s the amazing fun colors and unique style. One can mix and match anything kitsch in any way and they will still look cute and pretty altogether. I also love romantic shabby chic style and I am just amazed by how well kitschy cute matches with my shabby chic decor.
I remember it all began with me browsing at amazing kitschy collection photos of our fellow friends on Instagram. Many fellow members started collecting way earlier than me. I have always loved all things cute and Japanese my whole life especially because I spent my childhood growing up in Asia. And one day in 2017, I decided to purchase a few vintage ceramics and it was how it all started. I remember I got this girly bunny ceramic from thevintageunicorn which was my very first. And then I had a few pairs of kitty lovers. Believe it or not, my other first collectibles were rubber squeaks… Sun Rubber kids, an Edward Mobley bear and Japan Iwai baby squeaks!
I am the ONLY person in my family, and extended family who admires vintage. I have always been collecting toys and kawaii Sanrio and Disney goodies since I was little. This kitschy cute hobby of mine never surprised any of my family members! My mom used to say… my vintage goodies would come alive at night and they would freak me out. Whereas, my dad he is a very nostalgic individual and he appreciates my love for vintage toys. (He is actually glad that I am not into brand names fashion. But then he knows I am into expensive toys… lol) I often show him my vintage 50s wind up bears, saying by the time I pass these to my boys, it will be amazing if they still work when they are 100 years old! My brothers think I am insane, and they think my rubber face toys are freaky to the max. I cannot persuade them in any way to like my rubber face plushies… My mom and my mom in-law were both born in the 50s and they used to have kitschy ceramics in the form of piggy banks. So the kitschy faces are no strangers to them.
I used to have many packages mailed to my old office. One time I put this Rushton Cowboy Bunny on my office chair facing out to the door.. One of my colleagues would always be freaked out by that bunny upon entering the room. He wanted me to "take that thing away” but that bunny sat there for at least two months before I took him back home. We always had a good laugh about that bunny.
My favorite item, is my pair of Meyercord running bunny planters. Meyercord cuties are one of my top favorites. I collect the vintage decals like Gigi and I just think it’s amazing how ceramic manufacturers made ceramics based on those decals. So yes, the ceramic running bunnies are definitely my favorites at home. I was very lucky to be able to trade for them years ago. To date, I have never came across them for sale online.
Knowing I am a queen of junk myself, my Etsy shop mainly sells vintage ceramics and collectibles from my downsizing collection. Since most items in my shop are from my own collection and some thrifted. They all tend to have cute happy faces. Yes, I have occasionally sold a few of Rushton rubber face plushies from my collection and that was a time when Rushtons weren’t as popular as they are now. Nevertheless, those rubber faces sold instantly at reasonable prices. Sometimes instead of listing plushies in the shop, I love reaching out to fellow friends and collectors on IG whom I thought would enjoy those plushies. It certainly means more to me that the plushies are heading to friends who cherish them. That also means that I will see photos of them posted which make me happy to see those plushes being enjoyed by others.
Best selling items for me have always been rare ceramics like the polka dot deers, and the sweet Lapin bunnies.
The most unique, I would say it's a pair of lover bunnies someone listed on Craiglist a
few years ago. They have been on my ISO list forever. The lady who sold
them to me was the original owner and her mom bought them for her at a
gift shop in our local Chinatown! I must say I have some luck finding
dreamy bunnies locally… as I have found 4 other large tall Lapin bunnies
locally... and they are my favorite ceramic bunnies to this date!
Another unique find of mine is the Rushton Duckie. I bought her on a buy it now listing on eBay. And the seller whom I bought him from was the original owner. He was telling me that the Duckie survived hurricane Katrina. He lost everything in that storm but the Duckie survived that storm. The house was gone but this Duckie was mint and intact inside a storage box found in the debris of his home. I am so honored this Duckie is now in my collection. I think what makes an item unique is its history, and having the opportunity to talk to the original owner helps us cherish the collectible even more!
If any item could just land on my lap… If that item is a ceramic, it would be finding a furry ceramic in the wild. I always imagine how I would feel finding one in a thrift or antique shop, of course, that hasn’t happened yet! If that item is a rubber plushie, then I wish it could be the Rushton smile face easter bunny! It’s one of those dream plushies for many, I am sure. It has the happiest rubber face so I would love to find one, one day to add to my collection.
Yes of course, I noticed the recent popularity of vintage rubber faces. I believe the popularity was mainly driven by Melanie Martinez and the appearance of vintage Rushton dolls in her music video. However, I think apart from star power, vintage rubber faces really have their charm on collectors. I started collecting before Rushtons became this popular and I fell in love because I saw these plushies being featured by many Japanese collectors. Rubber faces vary from being happy and cute, to silly, sad and sometimes creepy or creepy cute. There is always a face that appeals to each collector, making each and every one lovable, unique and special.
Rubber face plushies are also found in all kinds of conditions too, some can still be very minty and well kept by their original owners... or ones that were very well loved and need freshening up to be loved again. But in whatever condition, each plushie is unique and has a story, and always have that potential to be loved and appreciated by a collector.Lastly, I just want to say that every vintage collectible is unique although they may “look the same” just because they are the same model or series. Sometimes people don’t understand why a collector wants the same item in different colors or even in the same colors. Truth is, each piece is different! Since ceramics were hand painted, I find that each piece has its own personality. This is what makes vintage unique and interesting, and also fun to collect.
Also, I love how vintage collectibles can be junk to some, but treasures to collectors like ourselves! It’s the best of both worlds, really... Giving second lives/chances to these vintage cuties, and also making sustainable purchases too!
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for your blog and for sharing my love for all cute things vintage! ~ Alvina
And with that, thank you Alvina for sharing with us your take on vintage kitschy cute collecting and the love of rubber faced plushies as well. I truly enjoyed reading your thoughts as a collector!
Until our next blog interview with a collector, I am ggsdolls... Happy thrifting!
Thank you for stopping in! ~ ggsdolls