In a sea of Funko collectors, this 36-year-old businessman stands out
What started as a little business in Snohomish, Washington, has become one of the world’s biggest toy companies, known for making licensed pop culture collectibles that include an insanely wide array of vinyl figurines and bobbleheads. Today, Funko has millions of fans worldwide—from kids to adults, and casual buyers to hardcore collectors.
In a sea of Funko collectors, 36-year-old businessman Nikko Lim stands out.
He’s the founder of Funko Funatic Philippines, which has 34,000 members today. He played a part in making the Jollibee and the Darna Funko Pop! happen. He’s featured in the official award-winning “Making Fun: The Story of Funko” documentary (such a good watch, by the way).
“It’s more than just collecting, it’s a lifestyle already,” Nikko said in the documentary.
Nikko’s Funko love affair actually started in 2009, when he first bought an Austin Powers Wacky Wobbler. “But I started being serious in collecting Funko in 2012 when I came across the Disney Funko Pop!”
It was completely by chance, he said. “I came across the figures at a mall. I just found them cute.”
That casual mall purchase has turned into a big passion for Nikko, leading him to be named Funko Collector of the Year for 2020.
We ask him about his collection, his love for Funko and the continuously growing Funatic community in the Philippines.
Why Funko? What do you love about it?
I love their products. They have various licenses and many of them connect us to our different fandoms. Also, Funko is a great company with amazing people. I love how they connect to their fans. I think no other toy company does that. They also support our local Funko community here in the Philippines.
Where do you usually buy your Funko?
I get them from local stores here in the Philippines. But some items are not available here, so I need to buy them online or ask friends in the United States to help me get one.
Back then, how big was the Funko community in the Philippines?
Back then there was none, so I needed to join the Funko Funatic forum, which had mostly US-based members, to get more information about Funko and collecting Funko.
Can you talk about how the Funko community has grown over the years?
As Funko and its portfolio of licenses grow, the people who collect Funko also grow. There is just something for everyone. As the Funko tagline says, “Everyone is a Fan of Something.” The collectors now are also more knowledgeable, since it is easier to get more information and tips online.
Can you tell us about Funko Funatic Philippines? When did you start it and how big is it now?
We started Funko Funatic Philippines in June 2013. I created the group because I just wanted to see who else out there collects Funko in the Philippines, since most of the Funatics I met online were US-based. Funko Funatic Philippines now has 34,000 members and growing. It is definitely one of the biggest and most active Funko Funatic communities in the world.
The group had a lot of activities prepandemic, right? How do you connect now?
We did a Funko Funatic Philippines Lockdown Show for 45 consecutive days, where a Funatic goes live and talks about themselves and their Funko collection. We also had weekly Zoom meetings, and we have a certain Funko-related topic each week.
Which are your most favorite pieces in your collection and why?
Director Freddy Funko—given during the “Making Fun” movie premiere in Hollywood. Jollibee Pop!—happy to be part of this project!
You’re instrumental in making the Jollibee Funko possible. Can you tell us about that?
Jollibee wanted to have a Funko Pop! of their mascot. I just helped them by pitching the idea to Mike Becker (Funko founder) and Brian Mariotti (Funko CEO). It was approved immediately since Mike Becker is a big fan of Jollibee.
Tell us about your most memorable moments as a Funko fan.
One of my most memorable moments is definitely my first time at San Diego Comic-Con and Funko Fundays in 2014. I was able to meet a lot of fellow Funatics, I was able to meet Brian Mariotti and it was also my first time to meet Mike Becker.
What was it like being featured as Funko’s Funatic of the Week?
Funko started featuring Funatics on their blog in 2015. I was asked randomly by someone from their marketing team to answer some questions and send some pictures. I was just surprised that I was picked as the second Funatic of the Week on their blog.
What was it like being part of “Making Fun?”
I felt proud for all of us here in the Philippines that we were included in the “Making Fun” documentary. I was also excited to see the movie because I want to see which footage did they include. I was shot several times—in San Diego, New York, Seattle and even here in the Philippines.
There are so many Funko lines out now—how do you decide what to collect?
It is actually hard to decide. Right now I try to focus on some lines—Freddy Funko, Ad Icons, Sports, Hanna Barbera, some TV shows and movies. Ooops… I think that’s still a lot.
What are some pieces you want to add to your collection that you haven’t been able to yet?
Right now I’m on the hunt for older Funko items—Freddy Funko and Ad Icons, Wacky Wobblers, Funko catalogs, posters, anything from the earlier days of Funko.
Which Funko releases got you most excited recently?
The McDonald’s Pop! which came out earlier this month. Many have been waiting for them for quite some time, too.
And the Jollibee Delivery Funko which came out this week—I just realized that it’s the very first Ad Icon Pop! Ride.
What Funko releases are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the upcoming Retro Toys, more Ad Icons and of course more Philippines exclusives.
How big is your collection now?
I don’t have an exact count, but definitely in the thousands. Mix of Pop!, Wacky Wobbler, Dorbz, Rock Candy, Pez, Minis, Soda and other Funko lines.
How do you display them?
Some of them are in boxes, and some are out of the box, then I have a glass cabinet for some of my special pieces.
What other things do you collect?
Aside from Funko, I collect some designer toys like Tiny Ghost by Reis O’Brien, Chunk by Jim Dreams, Elfie by Too Natthapong and Dino by Ziqi Wu among others.
Any tips for new collectors?
Buy what you love and not because of hype or possible future value. Just enjoy collecting and always have fun. Try to be active in Funko Funatic Philippines—participate in discussions, meet fellow Funko Funatics and help each other out. Also, don’t spend way above your means.
Does Funko Funatic Philippines welcome new members?
Of course! We welcome everyone who also love Funko and/or want to learn more about Funko. They can search for us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/FunkoFunaticPH.
Where can people find you online?
What’s the best thing about being a Funko collector?
For me, it’s the people who I’ve met through the years. The friendships I’ve made and the places I’ve been to—all because of Funko.
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