Uncanny Brands does more than your average toaster • The Pop Insider


The Boba Fett helmet toaster | Source: Strange Marks

Strange marks is a company known for whipping up fun pop culture in the kitchen. The company is dedicated to creation small licensed devices that are cool and original, but also useful with a multigenerational appeal. True to its name, Uncanny Brands produces waffle irons, coffee makers, popcorn machines and more that are unique, fun, and great for conversation.

The pop insider spoke with Matthew Hoffman, president of Uncanny Brands, about the perfect recipe for a licensed home appliance that fans will absolutely love.

The Pop Insider: As the name of the company might suggest, your home products are so unique! What makes Uncanny Brands licensed devices stand out on the shelves?

Matthieu Hoffmann: Generally, the kitchen is a place that everyone loves in their home. This is where they eat, where they talk and where they bond. Our Uncanny Brands devices allow pop culture fans to take the brands they love to the place they love. We’ve worked hard to create items that feel authentic to their brand’s fans’ passions and make them look cool in the kitchen.

Dragon Ball Z Waffle Maker | Source: Uncanny Brands / The Pop Insider

PI: Your licenses span the gamut from Star Wars and Marvel to Bob Ross, Minions and Dragonball Z. What makes a brand a good match for the products of Uncanny Brands?

MH: We start by looking for multigenerational brands. We love the properties that children and their parents can enjoy together. The second thing we are looking for are brands that are now part of a lifestyle. Most of our brands are very popular because they are now part of Fan Day, every day.

PI: You already have a solid range of brands and licenses that you work with, having been there for 10 years, but what is your dream personal license to work with?

MH: I don’t know if there are any dreams that we haven’t realized yet. We think our current licenses are pretty amazing. If you had told my 12 year old version that we would be working with properties like Marvel and Star Wars to make Darth Vader and Spider-Man waffle irons, I never would have believed it. That being said, there are some wizards and toons that we would really love to develop for!

X-Men Coffee Maker with Cup | Source: Uncanny Brands / The Pop Insider

PI: Your Elite category includes everyday appliances like waffle irons, sandwich makers, toasters, and coffee makers, which you add a little flavor to with licensed characters. Tell us a bit about the Elite range.

MH: In general, our company philosophy is to make items that are more difficult to make – that there is a craft in development and that fans will appreciate the craft involved. We are not here to put a logo or sticker on a product. So, we are working hard to put the details on our elite items so that they are not basic devices, but have discovery details and thoughtful elements that fans of the brands will appreciate.

PI: You are more than just toasters that imprint a fun character on the bread. Tell me a bit about your Halo category, where collectibles are turned into assistive devices.

MH: Our first Halo item was the original Darth Vader helmet toaster. Taking a collector’s item and turning it into a functional device is very difficult. There are regulations and engineering that we have to take into account to make this work. It usually takes two years from start to finish to develop these articles. Our goal is to continue to innovate in what we do to enable fans to have a keepsake in their kitchen that can actually help them prepare their meals.

I am delighted that we have come full circle in our development. For May 4, 2022, we’ll be releasing an updated Darth Vader toaster that will look even more authentic and have lights and sound chips. I’m proud of it because we took one of our most successful items and decided to innovate it. It’s a key part of Uncanny Brands’ culture: how can we make something even better?

Pokémon 7 Quart Slow Cooker | Source: Uncanny Brands / The Pop Insider

PI: What can fans expect in the future? Important announcements that you can share?

MH: Well, I just mentioned the Darth Vader Toaster for May 4, 2022. We’ve got some amazing Halo items launching for the holidays this year. GameStop has an exclusive Mandalorian Helmet popcorn maker, which looks amazing. We’ll also be releasing a Spider-Man Mask Toaster for this holiday season as well.

The new licenses we’ve added for this year include Peanuts, My Hero Academia, The Office, and Pokémon. We love all of these brands and have some fun items coming out. The idea that you can get a Dunder Mifflin Coffee Maker (FYE Exclusive), Snoopy and Woodstock Mini Waffles (Hobby Lobby Exclusive), and Pikachu Waffles makes me smile – and I hope that puts a smile on the fans too.

To see all that Uncanny Brands is bringing to the table, check out their site at uncannybrands.com. And visit our Instagram page to enter and win amazing Uncanny Brands devices, until October 1st!

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