Take a moment and think about the Loungefly brand. What did you find? A favorite backpack you carry every day or the one you have on your wish list? The Loungefly brand has become a popular way for fans to display their fandom, and we got the chance to interview Derrick Baca VP of Business and Liz De Silva about the brand’s origins and mission statement.
Fantha Tracks: You and Derrick are truly the face of the Loungefly brand, customers know you very well on social media. Tell us a bit about the history of the brand.
Loungefly: We started in 1998 with brands like Universal, Warner Brothers and Hello Kitty. We’ve expanded overtime and grown a lot over the past four years through our relationship with Funko.
Fantha Tracks: Initially, I think a lot of people thought Loungefly was a female-focused brand, but now you see everyone wearing backpacks. Was that your intention from the start?
Loungefly: Yes, we wanted to move towards a more unisex feel and be more inclusive when it comes to sizing. Anyone who collected Loungefly before 2019 may have encountered short straps and difficulty carrying all the bags, so we wanted to make sure there was a permanent fit and all of our straps so we could really offer a size to everybody . Going forward, next year, we have a lot of really exciting things to announce, but this is definitely to make sure we serve a wider audience.
We’re also reaching out to retailers with a full-size backpack at those retailers, especially at this time of year when you’re seeing like all back-to-school backpacks. You will start to see a lot of Loungefly in retail stores that stock the larger size backpacks.
Fantha Tracks: You’re definitely becoming a lifestyle brand, and social media seems to be a big part of that.
Loungefly: Yes, you see the Instagram videos of fans showing themselves walking around Disneyland for example, whole families including the dad and the children. I love seeing the brand resonate across generations, we love that and want to keep moving in that direction.
Fantha Tracks: Let’s talk a bit about how you choose specific lines to produce, does it start with a personal passion? For instance, The High Republic backpack that debuts as an SDCC exclusive.
Loungefly: Yes. Derrick is a big fan of The High Republic and so was I, and no one was making merchandise at the time, so we reached out to them.
Fantha Tracks: The first Keeve Trennis-based bag debuts here, but will be available to everyone, right?
Loungefly: Yes, it is now available on our website.
Fantha Tracks: The look of your product is something that really stands out on the shelves. Tell me a bit about selecting artists for products.
Loungefly: We are really picky when we hire. Loungefly is a family and everyone is extremely passionate about their work. I feel like the fans know if it’s genuine. I feel like one High Republic fans would know if the people behind the products didn’t know what they were doing. It feels authentic because we have artists and team members who are fans of everything.
We have people who are obsessed with Pokémon and people who are obsessed with anime and Disney. When we choose who is going to work on the project, it’s really important, I don’t let anyone work on the project if they haven’t seen the film. I’ll be like quit, go watch it now. I want people to really see what fans love about this property.
Fantha Tracks: Where do you choose the artists/designers from? Is there a way for fans to find out which specific artists designed which products?
Loungefly: Our social and marketing team has started sharing this information. You’ll see our behind the bag series and video interviews where the artists talk about their experience creating the bags, and I think they can learn more about them that way. On my personal social networks, I try to share. Some of them want to be shared more than others and some of them are private, but those who want to be shared as a brand, we are working to get them promoted. There are artists everywhere. Here at tomorrow’s convention, we’re going to hang out at Artist Alley. I’ve seen art at Disneyland, tracked down artists and hired them.
I met artists at Designer Con and hired them. Sometimes I scroll through Instagram and see an amazing piece of art and I’m going to track that person down. They may be in the Dominican Republic or may not be available for full time work, but I will be doing contract work with them, so we are very open to looking for talent anywhere.
Fantha Tracks: It really feels like you’re both mind readers at times, you’re very connected to what’s popular and the passions of your fans. If the audience had a suggestion about a line, what is the best way for them to express it to you?
Loungefly: Contact our social team with suggestions and ideas. We read reviews all the time, so say you’re a star wars fan and they post about the new bag and there’s a character we didn’t do, or a shirt you think would be awesome. Post comments are the best way to communicate with us.
We really try to give everyone what they are looking for. Eventually will happen to everyone. We are always open to non-traditional ideas and new collaborations.
Derrick and Liz were such a delight! Keep an eye on Loungefly social networks for upcoming reveals from your favorite fandoms.
Thanks to our journalist Fantha Tracks @YogiKai for all SDCC news, and be sure to look back to the #FTSDCC hashtag for more from the show.
Loungefly: Star Wars: Star Wars: Mini Lenticular Backpack Loungefly: Stormtrooper @ ForbiddenPlanet.com – UK and Worldwide Cult Entertainment Megastore