Interview: Rilakkuma Day Event Planner Michelle Nguyen!

Rilakkuma Day was a special Rilakkuma event held at FAO Schwarz on October 11. This event featured so many cool aspects, such as: a special Rilakkuma photo booth, Rilakkuma prize packs for those who post their Rilakkuma day photos on social media, Rilakkuma freebies, Rilakkuma-themed lolita girls, as well as the latest Rilakkuma goods!

Rilakkuma Day 2014 - Michelle Nyugen

Photo of Rilakkuma Day display at FAO Schwarz taken by Michelle Nguyen!

I was honored to be able to interview Michelle Nguyen, lead event planner from Bubble Punch (the event production company responsible for Rilakkuma Day), to give you the inside scoop on Rilakkuma Day 2014 – enjoy!

What was your impression about the event overall?
The event was a huge success. We had so many fans from so many different places come and visit FAO Schwarz just to see Rilakkuma and get a chance to snap up the latest products! We had trouble restocking the shelves fast enough! We were also really happy that a lot of fans hung out and talked to our staff about their love of Rilakkuma, and it seems like a lot of fans even got together and made new friends there with like-minded Rilakkuma lovers!

What was your personal favorite moment from the event?
When Rilakkuma emerged for the first time in FAO, there was a palpable excitement in the air! People were clapping and yelling and trying to take photos as Rilakkuma slowly walked over to the photo area. It was so exciting and I was very happy with the response.

What aspect of the event did the fans enjoy most?
Meeting Rilakkuma was definitely at the top of all the mega-fans’ lists, I think, as well as buying the newly released products! A lot of fans had fun just hanging out in the store and meeting each other too!

What’s your favorite item out of all of the Rilakkuma products out today?
I love the Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma kigurumi outfits. I wear mine when it’s cold in the house and during Halloween basically every year.

Which one seems to be the most popular product among fans?
The medium sized Rilakkuma plushies were the first to run out!

What’s next for Bubble Punch, Rilakkuma/San-X-related or otherwise?
We have big plans for 2015, but we can’t quite talk about them yet! Stay tuned!

Who is your favorite: Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, or Kiiroitori – and why?
I really like them all… they’re all so unique and weird (if that’s even the right word). I enjoy how they are kawaii characters, but that there’s another layer of awkward laziness to them all. They even fight sometimes, which I think is really hilarious.

Wow! So awesome to hear the medium-sized Rilakkuma were the first to run out – a medium-sized Rilakkuma plush was my very first Rilakkuma product, and launched the whole Rilakkuma obsession for me!

Thank you so much to Michelle for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the Rilakkuma community! We’re all looking forward to see what Bubble Punch will have in store for everyone in the future!

Fellow Rilakkuma blogger Ellie was able to go to Rilakkuma Day 2014 herself; read all about her awesome day over at her blog!

Speaking of which, in her Rilakkuma Day post, Ellie wrote a little bit about how she noticed that AQI (Aliquantum International) has begun expanding their licensed plushie line to include designs and costumes inspired by the existing Rilakkuma lines coming out of Japan like the Heart Bath Series and the Which Color Do You Like? Series – super cool! AQI is the officially licensed manufacturer of Rilakkuma plushies in the US, and sells Rilakkuma products domestically, showing great potential for us US Rilakkuma fans to expand our collections.

So I actually had a short conversation with David Ringer, the CEO of AQI, a couple months ago regarding their plans for the US market – so look forward to a write-up that in the near future (after I get through a bit of my backlog of Rilakkuma plushies to post)! I was originally intending on waiting until I got my own AQI Rilakkuma plush to give a more complete report, but seems like a better idea to share the info now while AQI is on everyone’s mind following Rilakkuma Day!

I’ll work on finding an AQI Rilakkuma for myself soon – seems like medical school doesn’t leave me with much time to go out and shop anymore haha.

In other news, Simon’s got a new tablet, and has started quick-sketching some classic Rilakkuma plushie designs!

I love this art style a lot! What do you think?

Rilakkuma & SHINKANSEN Plushie! + Rilakkuma Day @ FAO Schwarz NYC + New! Misdo Rilakkma 2014!

Please give a warm welcome to Shinkansen Rilakkuma!

Rilakkuma & Shinkansen - full

Bullet train bear!

Rilakkuma & Shinkansen - front

Front and center!

Rilakkuma & Shinkansen - top

S1 denotes the 8-car N700-7000 series train set!

Rilakkuma & Shinkansen - side

Cool detail that the side window/door design is slightly different from the Dr. Yellow series!

Rilakkuma & Shinkansen - back

And of course, reminding you which series this bullet train bear is from on the back!

Rilakkuma & Shinkansen - tag art

Tag art features Rilakkuma conspicuously not as a train haha, just riding one.

Rilakkuma & Shinkansen - with Dr. Yellow

The two bullet train bears meet! Will there be more to join them in the future?

Super adorable! This bear-turned-train/train-turned-bear was released August 2014 to commemorate the Tōkaidō Shinkansen’s 50th birthday!

The Shinkansen (新幹線) is a network of high-speed railways in Japan, and the Tōkaidō Shinkansen is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line – it has transported more passengers than any other line in the world!

Richelle mentioned that this Shinkansen Rilakkuma kinda looks like an airplane haha – especially since trains aren’t terribly commonplace where I’m from, I’d agree too haha.

You know, I never thought of myself as someone who was really fanatical about transportation, but I’ve collected all of the train line-related Rilakkumas so far (Yamanote, Dr. Yellow, and now Shinkansen) so who knows anymore haha.

NYC Rilakkuma fans! Rilakkuma Day is coming to FAO Schwarz NYC on October 11 from 1-4PM!

Rilakkuma Day 2014 - cover

Mark your calendars!

This event will feature a special Rilakkuma photo booth, Rilakkuma prize packs for those who post their Rilakkuma day photos on social media, Rilakkuma-themed lolita girls, as well as the latest Rilakkuma goods!

Even if you can’t make the event, Rilakkuma displays will be up at the NYC FAO Schwarz for the rest of October!

Since I’m all the way down south here in Florida, I unfortunately will not be able to attend T^T but! I’ll be interviewing the lead organizer of this event afterwards, so stay tuned!

If you do end up attending, shoot me an email at rilakkumalifestyle@gmail.com – I would love to hear how you thought the event went!

In other news, check out the newest iteration of Mister Donut x Rilakkuma for 2014!

Misdo Rilakkuma 2014 - cover 1

Yum!

Misdo Rilakkuma 2014 - cover 2

Three flannel blanket designs!

This year’s collaboration includes 3 blanket designs (70 cm x 120 cm) featuring Rilakkuma and pals with the many different donut types offered at Mister Donut!

From what I understand, for every purchase over 300円 at a participating Mister Donut, you get a card, and then you can redeem 8 cards for one of these special edition Misdo Rilakkuma blankets – wow!

If I can, I’m gonna try to snag one on the auctions! It’s about to start getting chilly (well, relatively), so I could use a nice warm blanket! I’m thinking the pink or blue design right now – which do you like best?

Rilakkuma’s collaborations with Mister Donut have always held a special place in my heart – my Misdo Rilakkuma plushie was one of the first in my collection!

Lots of cool Rilakkuma things for the month of October! What are you looking forward to the most?