Chatting with Tofu Cute at MCM London Comic Con

Tofu Cute (Banner)Having formed in 2010, Tofu Cute is an online store that specialises in Japanese snacks, drinks and kawaii goodies. You might have come across them yourself given their regular appearances at MCM Comic Con events. Their tables are stocked full of confectionary that isn’t always easy to get a hold of in the UK, with a wide selection of Pocky, Hello Panda, Hi-Chew sweets and even Japanese Kit Kats. They also have a range of cute stationary and charms.

I had a chat with Rob, one of the managers at Tofu Cute. He talked about crazy things in the Tofu Cute office, memorable MCM experiences and that attendees visiting their stand at MCM London Comic Con this weekend will find a variety of Alpacasso alpacas (including rainbow alpacas!).

 

How did Tofu Cute begin?

Some of the Tofu Cute team had a background in electronic pets and gadgets, including ones imported from Japan. As such, flapping solar panelled plants and a creepy face money box can be found in the archived section of the Tofu Cute website! A passion in Japanese kawaii culture led to the start of Tofu Cute. We wanted to create a brand that took influence from Japan and was fun and quirky. We started to import a large number of products from all over Asia and even had some of our own manufactured. As the business grew, so did the team, each one bringing their own passion to the company. The Tofu Cute office is filled with phone charms, Hello Kitty products, alpacas, Nano blocks and kawaii poop merchandise which belong to the staff themselves! There is also a weird peach man creature, which I live in constant fear of. But don’t be surprised if you ever visit the Tofu Cute office to find a small Pekoppa plant that nods to your questions on an electronic dog sniffing around!

With each convention, I notice that you’ve expanded and always have plenty of customers. How does that feel for you, seeing the growth and popularity of Tofu Cute?

When we see the growth of Tofu Cute we feel very proud and MCM Comic Con played its part in helping. MCM Midlands was the first large sized convention that we did and we had just one table. After three years of exhibiting, we ran Kawaii Alley at MCM London Comic Con for the first time with a big team of staff. More than the growth, the enthusiasm that customers have for Tofu Cute is amazing. My favourite part of conventions is being able to meet our customers. Tofu Cute has a huge range of diverse customers, from young girls to large tattooed men. There’s something liberating about seeing unlikely people carrying small pink baskets around full of tiny cute milk cartons, sweets or poop pens. When we first started we just had a few suppliers but now Tofu Cute has dozens of different suppliers and thousands of products from all over Asia. The enthusiasm from our customers has meant that we’ve been able to expand to employ our first full time staff members and we will be opening our first shop in Portsmouth later this year… it’s so pink.

Tofu Cute (Charms) Tofu Cute (Edamame)

What tends to be your most popular items, the ones that customers ask for and sell so fast?

Pocky is always popular and now with tons of different flavours, it’s difficult for customers to choose so they end up buying quite a few boxes. Since starting to sell Japanese Kit Kats, they’ve been very popular. They’re very limited in the UK and the flavour is different to the English ones, which everyone is used to. Sakura Matcha is probably our most popular flavour of Japanese Kit Kat but we have many to choose from. Ramune is a Japanese soda drink that’s very popular; we’ll be increasing the range soon to include loads of new flavours! Our ‘Endless Edamame Beans’ also continue to be one of our most popular products. The beans are perfect little stress relievers with little beans in a pod that pop out when you squeeze them. The middle one has a face and the newest series were designed by our customers from events and online. With 12 to collect, customers love to pick the face which can sometimes be a bit tricky when they’re randomly distributed! We’ve become a little overrun with alpacas recently in the Tofu Cute office. They’re super popular due to how cuddly and cute they are. Sometimes the boxes move by themselves as the alpacas attempt to make a break for it.

What have been your most memorable MCM experiences?

We always remember when we had tables next to the entrance. Watching the doors opening reminded us a of zombie apocalypse, people desperately struggling to come in to see the delights that MCM Comic Con had in store. One thing I always love about MCM Comic Con is the diversity of the cosplay and fashion wear. Before MCM Comic Con, I didn’t know very much about cosplay. It’s not something that I have any abilities for, but I’m always excited to see the dedication and time that people put into their outfits. Sometimes it’s just an idea that wins my cosplay winner of the weekend (it’s not a real physical award, but I think it’s just as important). One of my favourite cosplays was a Yu-Gi-Oh card. Their face was the face of the card character and they held onto the huge card around it. Not the most expensive costume to make but… inventive. It looked very uncomfortable. We also meet quite a few cosplayers who have done something in conjunction with Tofu Cute. One customer made a female tofu to partner with our mascot ‘Tofu-Kun.’ Unfortunately, the romance was short lived for various reasons. We also had a customer who bought some Pocky from us and cosplayed as a box of Pocky. It’s the quirky enthusiasm of customers like this that make MCM Comic Con such an awesome event to exhibit at.

Tofu Cute (Pocky) Tofu Cute (Alpacas)

Do you have anything special for attendees to look forward to at MCM London Comic Con? Are there any offers/bargains that you would like people to know about?

As always, our Tofu Cute characters [Miss Tofu and Panda-Chan] will be dotted around Kawaii Alley for people to have their photos with. There might even be a couple of new ones to look out for! Kit Kats come in loads of different flavours now and if you’re quick you might be able to get special edition Halloween versions of some of our most popular snacks, including Pocky! If cuddly alpacas are more your kind of thing, as an official distributor of Alpacasso, we have more than a few new varieties. Ever really wanted an alpaca but couldn’t decide on a colour? Look out for our rainbow alpacas! Ever wanted an alpaca but felt their head looked a bit bare? Don’t worry, some have hats now. We have alpacas for almost any situation. And why alpacas? Because they spit far less than a llama and have more personality than a sheep. Obviously.

 

Thank you to Rob for taking the time out for the interview. You can find Tofu Cute at the South Hall at stand 2811 at MCM London Comic Con this weekend. If you can’t make to MCM London then don’t worry; they will also be at MCM Birmingham Comic Con in November. Alternatively, you can visit their website: Tofucute.com

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