Coming to Archie Mcphee in Seatle again
My relationship with pigeon masks can be summarized in time order as below:
February 2013, I bought the mask (and became a pigeon)
August to November 2013, I held a large number of pigeon mask wearing events (where attendants became pigeon)
July 2015, I visited the store that were selling pigeon masks (I went to the hometown of the pigeon mask)
And this time, I visited the headquarter of the company that is manufacturing pigeon masks. The company is enormous, more than what I expected. Especially its warehouse.
What is Archie Mcphee?
Before entering this article I want to give you a description of Archie Mcphee. Beside manufacturing and selling the pigeon masks that I bought in bulk, the company also sells weird stuffs. No, it only sells weird stuffs.
The masks were birds or horses, but now it feels like it has come to the next stage where new products were created under the motif of barking wolves or mantis.
Products with unfamiliar names such as racoon or praying mantis.
Beside masks, the company also manufactures a lot of dolls and small stuffs.
Shaking dolls to put on top of car dashboards
Bacon ornament and tape.
You should take a look at this site for more details, but to sum up, it is a company that has the courage to sell such cool stuffs for 30 years. It's awesome.
The name of the brand is Archie Mcphee and the name of the company that manufactures and distributes the products was Accoutrements. If you look this word up in a dictionary, you will find it defined as "things to wear beside main clothes". That may be true for the pigeon mask.
So that's all for the introduction of Archie Mcphee.
The Seatle factory that levels with Boeing
When David, who guided me through the company tour last year, came back, he said that he would show me around the warehouse next time. Oh, of course I would love to see it.
Americans don't use "shakojirei", Japanese word for a polite or diplomatic way of putting things (and so do I), so I sent an email boldly asking if I could visit their office when I went to Seatle again.
I received an "OK" response right away. However, they said that the office is located 40-minute car ride away from the center of Seatle.
When I tried searching the location of the headquarter, it turns out it is near the Boeing factory that the other day Ms. Betsuyaku wrote about. The 2 big Seatle factories are located in the North of Seatle (I will clarify that this expression is not a joke in the next pages)
So off I went from the center of Seatle by Lyft (a transportation network company like Uber), feeling so good.
I went with a big paper head with my face on it just to be interesting. Dressed up.
I got to meet David Wahl, the guy who welcomed me in the store last time.
Actually, as I folded the paper head and brought it with me (I wouldn't have been able to get in the car with the finished version), and spent about 20 minutes assembling it in the parking lot before entering the company.
Freedom! Unexpectedly I could feel America - the country of freedom.
At that time, David showed up with a glancing face but we acted as if there were no reunion and took a welcoming photo all over again.
Thoughtfulness is worldwide.
In front of welcome board.
Of course, he had fun wearing the mask.
We stayed at the entrance of the company for a while, taking turns wearing the mask to take picture. That's right, I even learnt the sentence "We are getting along!" to say to David but I was so excited that I forgot to say it.
But you can tell we are getting along just by looking at the photos, so it's alright.
The first thing you get to see when you have a tour around the company is a very old Archie Mcphee catalogue.
It is said that the manager created it little by little with a typewriter.
They say that at first, the company collected and sold altered products, but later switched to manufacturing original products. At that time, the manager was going back and forth to China, establishing good relationship with Chinese factories.
Their passion for creating interesting stuffs is so admirable (This thought crossed my mind for like 20 times during this visit).
And the warehouse they showed me was also awesome.
It is so big you could think it is Costco or Boeing.
Products piled up through 3 floors to the ceiling. Among them are pigeon masks, monster dolls with a lot of eyes on them and pickles that sing yodel when you press a button.
So many cool stuffs! However many of them there are, not a single one is helpful. So wonderful! The world should be like this!
From here they are sent to all over the country, products that are ordered on their shopping website will be picked up and sent away.
By the way, they have only 30 staffs. It is so much fewer than what i thought. And I was so happy they got it when I asked in English "how many employees?"
As you can see in the pictures of the warehouse, it is clean and organized. That's not all.
It is where all the products that has been launched so far are managed.
Outside of the boxes are lists of the things that are stored. Things I recognized include emergency toilet paper and cat budda
I opened a box. This is donut-shaped bottle opener and french fried-shaped camera.
I want to stay here opening boxes all day long.
Another box was containing products of other companies that were bought for reference and divided into genres. Although I said "genres", they are actually pinpoint categories such as snake or voodoo.
This is vomit box
I really want to spend a whole day opening boxes!!!
I know it was snake and voodoo but not vomit. I wouldn't have seen it if David hadn't opened it for me. I will never forget the meaning of the word "vomit" again.
Then there was a room storing products that are currently on sale.
This was the second time I have been there, but there was a person who stay there thinking the whole time. I was about to tell David how serious they are about work, but he showed me how to use the comic foreground in the same room.
Such a nice guy!
Next, he showed me the design room.
Popular standing desk
They are doing the design work in such a beautiful environment. I once visited the office of Airbnb Company which was considered the coolest office among IT world in San Fransisco and saw a standing desk there too (Maybe this is out of topic but there are those who can work lying with their personal computer on a cushion, with a great difference in the elevation of the keyboard.)
Next is the project managing board on the wall.
From left to right are successive steps: IDEAS→ IN DESIGN→WAITING FOR QUOTE
Really professional! While so professional, it is interesting to see BIGFOOT MINT or PUG MAN written on it. Though it sounds much like a new OS code name of Microsoft or Apple, such things are used as real here. So cool.
Then they told me that they are creating action figures for pigeon mask.
They said that "This is Yuji"
My figure. PIGEON MAN is also made into figure soon. I want to buy clothes in this color to complete the outfit (I already own a pair of red sneakers).
Also, I feel like I am going to order them in bulk. I want to do door-to-door sale in my neighborhood, saying "This is me".
It's not about whether it sells well or not, it's more about the excitement to find out how they will respond.
Conducting a model debut
In the next step of our visit, they showed us the studio. The studio is where all the pictures of products posted on their website are taken.
In this studio, they took a photo of me wearing the pigeon mask and the glasses with the eyes poping out.
I thought it was some kind of commemorative photos, but
The next day, I became a model!
I debuted as a model all over the US and entered the celebrity world. If the world is divided into those who have been models and who haven't, I will be in the same group with Naomi Campbell.
From now on I will add "model" as one of my jobs in my name card.
The picture feels really American but it was me in it - such a refreshing feeling.
There are a lot of animated GIF on the Archie Mcphee website but they also sent me pictures of myself in animated GIF.
Those who make animated GIF out of pictures are always nice guys (pet theory).
This time also binge shopping
During the tour, I almost peed out of excitement when I was told I could enjoy it and take anything I like from the warehouse.
Then when coming back, he went with me to the store and I bought a lot of things there too.
I was so excited I had no photos of myself though I had a camera with me. These are photos of my happy wife.
When receiving gifts at the warehouse
Beside the octopus leg bath at the store.
By the way, the skeleton finger dolls that Ms. Betsuyaku used in her comic dialogue on bubuterebi about four years ago were also a product of Archie Mcphee. She didn't know that at that time when she used it.
The entire road was Archie Mcphee.
Let's have pigeon event
The Archie Mcphee warehouse was so clean and enormous.
It manages and stores their products so far, and also has files neatly organized. The process management of the products was is also visualized.
If you read this you would think it is like a car factory, but it's so great it's a place that makes pigeon masks.
I suddenly had a feeling of duty that I would definitely have to hold a pigeon bus renting event with a pigeon mask.
Mark - the company manager - hugging the octopus leg of Ms. Betsuyaku