Do you know why Hello Kitty has no mouth? Because she speaks from the heart...
She also has a hypnotic, straight-up obsessive effect on American consumers that hasn't seemed to flag since her debut in the States in 1976. This ubiquitous, mouthless Sanrio-creation has become a veritable fetish for women, girls -- and more than a few men. For example, Troy Moore and Kenneth Chan really, really love Hello Kitty, and they've taken their happy, pink bow-adorned fee-fees and parlayed them into Lollipop Gift, a modestly-sized, exclusive Hello Kitty store located in the first floor of the Denver Pavilions, next door to Claire's.
"Even one-year-old toddlers recognize Hello Kitty," says Moore.
The store opened the day before Thanksgiving, just in time for the holiday shopping season, and according to Moore and Chan, business has been fantastic so far. "The most popular items are the totes and the dolls," says Chan, also a personal collector of everything HK.
"He has about 300 Hello Kitty things at his house," chuckles Moore.
There appears to be a stockpile of every HK thing imaginable in the store, including a huge robotic Hello Kitty in the front display window -- sadly, it's not for sale, but Moore says they've had plenty of offers for it.
What's the weirdest Hello Kitty item customers have asked for? "The Hello Kitty sewing machine," Chan says. "We don't carry it because I don't think it would sell here." Also absent is any trace of the popular Hello Kitty "personal massagers," another item that Chan thinks wouldn't work in Denver.
And the big question: Do any straight men actually shop there? "Yes," says Chan. "Many businessmen from out-of-town looking for gifts for their daughters -- we usually have to help them."
Moore and Chan are trying to wrangle the official Sanrio mascot to come from Japan for a visit to the Denver store, "hopefully in the spring," muses Moore. If they can secure the Kitty, they plan to set up a photo-opportunity so that customers can have their pictures taken with her.
But in the meantime, customers will have to content themselves with Hello Kitty stationary, pens, pencils, candies, plush toys, air fresheners, pill cases, car accessories, bento boxes, silverware, backpacks, purses, soap dishes, shampoos, lotions, keychains, gift bags, lockboxes, statues, coin banks, and oh so much more.
Here's a small taste of what Lollipop gift has to offer -- try not to go into sugar-shock.
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