Toy plants take up residence in homes. No green thumb needed | Mint

Toy plants take up residence in homes. No green thumb needed

AFP
AFP

Summary

  • Toy makers are cashing in on adults looking to destress and decorate

When Alyssa Domasica decided to spruce up her Cincinnati apartment, plants were the obvious choice.

The 23-year-old digital-experience specialist now owns a rubber tree, an orchid, a monstera, a fern, a few succulents, a bouquet of flowers and a bonsai tree. About half of these are real, and the others are made of Lego bricks.

“It’s mainly just for aesthetic and design in my apartment," Ms. Domasica said. “I just think they look nice."

During the pandemic, many people reconnected with old hobbies and amused themselves with items of nostalgic value to get through tough times. After spending hours confined indoors, or suddenly needing to outfit workspaces in their home, some adults turned to childhood toys to decorate—including the classic plastic brick.

Lego A/S’s line of plants, released in 2021 as the Botanical Collection, have received thousands of likes and views on social media, and are sometimes on back order on Amazon or out of stock on Lego’s website. Ms. Domasica got help scoring her set from her boyfriend, who works for Lego’s Cincinnati store.

“I think it’s fair to say they blew up much more than anyone in our organization was expecting," said Andy Grubb, a designer for Lego who worked on the plants.

Mr. Grubb said the peak of his career came when Rihanna, the pop superstar and entrepreneur, posted the Lego flower bouquet on her Instagram, which has 135 million followers. “I don’t think I’m ever going to come down from that as a social-media achievement," he said.

Lego’s bouquet—which is included in the Botanical Collection along with a bonsai tree, orchid and Bird of Paradise flower—also won Grown-Up Toy of the Year from the Toy Association in February. It was the first time the trade association offered the category.

More adults beyond the typical fan collector arebecominginterested in toys as a way to destress, according to Adrienne Appell, a Toy Association spokeswoman. “We’re seeing these play patterns continue, and we decided it was time to recognize some of the best products out there," Ms. Appell said.

For Mandy Lin, a user-experience researcher from Seattle, the sense of fulfillment she gets from building is what contributes to her burgeoning Lego collection.Ms. Lin owns 14 Lego sets, and most of the sets she owns, such as Lego’s rendition of Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night," cater to adult builders such as herself.

“It’s just another way for me to relax my brain," the 24-year-old said.

Lego isn’t the only toy maker cashing in on adults looking to destress and decorate. Basic Fun Inc. offers build-your-own Lite Brite wall décor for $100. It includes three16 inch-by-16 inchpop art designs users can place pegs over. Mattel Inc.’s Fisher-Price sells a functional, Bluetooth version of its classic Chatter telephone. And Dragon Glassware has joined with Mattel to cater to adult fans of Barbie, one of this summer’s biggest fashion trends, with bright pink martini glasses and coasters.

The remote work calls demanded by the pandemic have also put adults’ toys on display, on co-workers’ screens and even on TV. A Lego Millennium Falcon has been seen in the office of Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, for example.

Some adults even want to keep the toys to themselves. Vikram Baliga’s family, in Lubbock, Texas, usually builds Lego sets together. But he and his wife, Alana Baliga, decided to exclude their 6-year-old son Bradley when they built the Lego bonsai tree he was gifted for Father’s Day this year.

“I don’t know if it’s just because it’s a little more grown-up, like it’s not Minecraft or Mario or whatever," he said. “My wife and I were like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna build this, just us and we’ll do it after he goes to bed.’ "

Bradley saw the Lego set neatly displayed on the family’s dining room table the next morning at breakfast and was crestfallen.

“He was like, ‘You built Legos without me. Do you even love me anymore?’ " Dr. Baliga, 35, said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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