Saturday, July 10, 2010

Old toys and trinkets get a new quirky look

MANILA, Philippines - There is hope for old toys and forgotten trinkets. Just give them a dash of pop art, a quirky look and a whole lot of love. The result: new stuff from old, new treasure from outdated junk.

This is exactly what craft-loving sisters Maan and Roma Agsalud of the online shop PopJunkLove did. They have made measuring tapes into ribbons, Lego bricks into jewelry, safety pins into earrings, signages into note pads, and Scrabble tiles into pillows.

"We believe using pop art as our inspiration is our way of recognizing the past and embracing the possibilities of today. For us, nothing is ever too old or outdated. It's just a matter of perception," said Maan. "It may be cliche but other people's junk is our very own treasure."

This concept is called 'upcycling,' a term coined by William McDonough and Michael Braungart who wrote the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. "Instead of recycling, we want to think of upcycling materials--turning old and seemingly useless supplies into new materials with a different value and purpose," explained Maan. "It's a creative and fun way of being earth-friendly. By mixing the old and the new, we create something that's different, something quirky, something that will stand out from the rest."

PopJunkLove's products have become quite popular among the young people who like finding new stuff online.

Among their best sellers are toy accessories. "People may have outgrown playing with them but they will never go out of style. Lego and Scrabble pieces allow our buyers to relive their childhood days with a fashionable twist," said Maan.

Lego bricks made into rings. Credit:

Also saleable are "switch" shirts which feature detachable pins one can use to spruce up the top any way you like. The pins can also be attached to jackets and blazers.

Tee couture feature detachable pins. Credit:

Scrabble fanatics have been ecstatic over the Scrabble pillows. "It's a different kind of pillow that's not just for word-nerds. It's interactive because if you buy enough pillows, you can spell out different things. It's also personal as well because you can spell out your name," explained Maan. There are also Scrabble earrings.

Spell out your favorite word with Scrabble pillows sewn by PopJunkLove. Credit:

Other quirky stuff that fly off the shelves are their have-not monsters -- "plushies that have been rejected by the Cuddly Society"--and go-green notebooks, which are made of used bond paper.

All the products are lovingly handmade by Maan and Roma. "By giving [customers] the satisfaction of owning a DIY item that's not readily available in the malls, we provide them something refreshingly different and delightfully new. This probably explains why people still support our products even if they're relatively more expensive than other mass-produced items. They know our products are one of a kind, made out of craft and a whole lot of love," said Maan.

PopJunkLove has no brick-and-mortar store yet, but they do participate in bazaars aside from doing brisk sales online. They currently have a booth at the 2nd Multiply Bazaar ongoing at the Rockwell Tent in Makati from July 9 to 11.

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