December 13, 2016
From last week’s super fan who included Hello Kitty in her wedding to this week’s pair of superfans who met through Sanrio! Please meet husband and wife, Marty Garrett and Salumeh Eslamieh!
What’s your earliest Sanrio memory?
M: My earliest memory is seeing it at school on the girls. At the time, I confused Sanrio with scenario. Later on, feeling adventurous, I bought a pair of Hello Kitty socks to wear, because they looked a bit like Spider-Man socks in red and blue.
S: I remember having a My Melody diary when I was 8 or 9 – and buying small things like Hello Kitty bubble gum and sticker books. All the girls at my school had these layered plastic Sanrio character pencil boxes and I didn’t have one, until my parents saw that everyone else had one when they visited school on a back to school night!
How did you guys meet?
M: We met through a mutual friend, AJ. Salumeh spotted my Sanrio shelf while visiting the apartment that I shared with AJ. When she found out that I worked at the Sanrio retail shop, she would often stop by the store.
S: I asked him for a staff discount!
M: During those visits at the store, that’s when we would talk more about Sanrio and the characters and we got to know a little bit more about each other as we became friends.
What is your favourite item in your collection?
M: We have a fibreglass Hello Kitty figure, about four and a half feet tall, from a Sanrio store which shut down. I think the fact that it’s seen so much history makes it particularly special: it’s something money can’t buy. We’re renovating our house at the moment and aiming to recreate our display space so that it reflects the wonder of a Sanrio store, with a slat wall to display products and a Sanrio shop sign.
S: Probably that first diary, which is full of a nine-year old’s bizarre stories!
M: Outside of our collection, the stories we share with other fans are the most precious thing – we have a podcast called Small Gift Big Story! where we share super fan stories. Please check it out if you have a chance.
What would your dream collaboration be?
M: If only the Hello Kitty Vans had done larger sizes! Then I could have had a pair. As a fan of the older and classic Sanrio styles and prints, I would love to see a collaboration that reminds fans of the simplicity and impact of vintage Sanrio by putting out new product with classic, recognizable designs.
S: Cath Kidston would be the dream… Or a collab involving the Sanrio character, Marroncream.
How would you describe your relationship with Hello Kitty?
S: Hello Kitty represents Sanrio – and the whole mission of Sanrio is about friendship. It’s also about a sense of happy nostalgia, particularly in a time when so many programmes or characters seem rather vulgar or sexist.
M: I’m a elementary teacher and I decorate my classrooms with Sanrio characters, to create a safe community-feel space for my kids. It’s really all about friendship, happiness and giving for me and I want to share that with them.
If you’d like to check out the Small Gift Big Story podcast, just click here