November 3, 2016
This time we got the chance to speak with Jared Orlin, one of our South African superfans who told us how he discovered Hello Kitty!
Can you remember what the first Hello Kitty product you bought was (and in what year)?
I do. It was a Hello Kitty wallet. I got it at a second-hand store and even though it was actually a bit too small to really use, I had to have it! I wish I could remember exactly when that was but I know for sure it was before 2004, because that’s when I moved to Taipei, which is when my Hello Kitty obsession really began. I’m from South Africa, where, up until a few years ago, there was very, very little Sanrio merchandise around. But living in Taiwan really solidified my love for Hello Kitty-collecting. This was in 2004 and at the time, 7-11 had just launched their Flower Nations Of The World collect-the-whole-set promotion: for every NT$77 you spent, you’d get a shiny pink foil packet with one of the badges inside. They each had the national flower of various countries around the world, plus Hello Kitty of course, and I WAS HOOKED! I collected the entire set more than 3 times over and still have them all. I got so caught up in the fun, that everyone – even my students – were giving me Hello Kitty badges.
What is your favourite item in your collection?
That’s a tough one! I have quite a few favourite pieces, including a bathmat, framed posters in my dining room and quite a few plush toys – I have an unusual brown Hello Kitty ‘doll’ that a client got me from Build-A-Bear which is unique and very special to me. But probably my three favourites are my Hello Kitty onesie (I love winter even more now!), my Hello Kitty tattoo (her face on my right bicep!), and my Hello Kitty crockery set. It has over 70 pieces – everything from plates to bowls, a milk jug and mugs, and even serviette rings – which I collected over several months. I’ve still got the recipe books the set came with too, although I don’t cook from them. I love having guests over and serving them food on my cute matching crockery set.
What collaboration would you like to see in future?
Well, it’s tough finding Hello Kitty or Sanrio-branded clothing and accessories for grown men, so I’d love to see a Superga range of Hello Kitty or even Kuromi (I adore her too!) branded sneakers and if one of the mens’ underwear brands like Emporio Armani or Calvin Klein could bring out a range of Hello Kitty boxers and briefs, well, let’s just say that that would solve my usual birthday and Christmas gift dilemma. And I would certainly not say no to some colourful Hello Kitty socks. Oh, and have we had a Hello Kitty filter on Snapchat? I keep looking for one but haven’t seen it yet… (You might get your wish, Jared! Love, Sanrio x)
What other Sanrio characters do you like? Kuromi! I love her mischievous personality and the fact that she’s a bit of a villain. Cartoon villains are way, way cooler than the good guys. My Melody is very cute and I also like Dear Daniel, Bad Badtz Maru and Tuxedo Sam.
How would you describe your relationship with Hello Kitty? I call myself a Hello Kittyholic – she’s the best, safest, cutest addiction a guy could have. So I’m fan-atical, with the emphasis on the word ‘fan’. I collect lots of things (find me on @the_gossip_guy on Instagram to see what I mean!) but they have to be special… or you end up with 50 slabs of Hello Kitty chocolate when you don’t eat sugar!!. BAsically, I’m a discerning collector with an eye for the unusual and/or super-cute. I love kitsch things and especially cartoon-kitsch so I’m also very into Betty Boop, The Powerpuff Girls, pop art and certain Disney characters. Let’s put it this way: my next home is going to hopefully have a Hello Kitty shrine room. *hold thumbs for me*
Check back next week for a new super fan interview!