About Us

Our Mission

 

 

Our mission is to revolutionise the shopping experience in the toys industry by introducing a dynamic, fun and interactive environment, that allows family to EXPERIENCE our products BEFORE purchasing them. 

 

Our ultimate goal is to create a "third place" for kids, a place where they can come and try out the toys everyone is talking about at school or at sports; and have the opportunity to experience them instead of just buying a "new thing".

And, why not, they can meet new little friends and improve their way of relating to other kids while hanging out, having fun and training their imagination and creativity.

In our shop you will ALWAYS find demonstration toys opened and ready to be used by your kids (and yourself). So you can have a better idea of what you like and also you can give us feedback about what we can do better.

We are committed to grow and become a better company, with the goal to have a little Australian toy company and stand out as much as the big franchising or the multinational corporations.

 

Teddy & Co Funland!!! is committed to deliver a 5+🌟 customer service experience.

Please contact us anytime through our chat, facebook page or company email address: office@teddycofunland.com

We are here to help you!

 

We believe that kids are the future and they are the first ones that need to practice happiness and imagination.

What a better way to do that than play with cool toys?

Who Are We?

Teddy & CO FUNLAND!!! is the latest toys and novelties pop up shop.

We specialize in shows, festivals and markets (come and say Hi at your local show!) and also shopping centres pop ups; Australia wide.

Yes, we have been trading for 10 years in the toys retailing industry, slowly growing and expanding nation wide.

We are trading at over 200 events a year (COVID-19 permitting 😡) from Darwin to Adelaide, from Brisbane to Perth, and all the way to regional areas including Mount Isa, Alice Springs, Dubbo, Margaret River, Rockhampton, Cairns, Toowoomba... you name it!

It all started small... very small... from a backpackers dream who decided to migrate to Australia searching for improvement and an opportunity. 

Through 10 years of constantly winning and losing, learning and improving; in 2017 our brand started to take form and become a reality. 

 

Now our little business has the ambition to become a leader in the Shows and entertainment industry, and an outsider in the toy industry, cutting a little space for our brand in the lousy big multinational corporates and franchising environment.

Our commitment, devotion, honesty and care for the others are the key values which we rely on to make a difference and create our "ROI" - return on intentions! 

We have an opportunity in this amazing country, Australia; to grow and improve while enjoying the most beautiful sceneries, beaches, countryside and landscape in the world!

Follow us to have a better idea of what we are talking about 🌈

Ultimately, we want to be the example for little businesses, small entrepreneurs, motivated migrants and hard-working Australians; hard work, works and we all have the opportunity to make our dreams become a reality.

 

 

   

Our Story

Teddy & CO FUNLAND!!! was founded in 2017; developing, growing and combining the concept of Teddy Creations (create your own stuffed animal) and an interactive toys and novelties store based on our experience at the Shows with the latest trends and gadgets. 

Our idea is to create a fun and dynamic environment, that allows family to EXPERIENCE our products BEFORE purchasing them. 

Our ultimate goal is to create a "third place" for kids, a place where they can come and try out the toys everyone is talking about at school or at sports; and having the opportunity to experience them instead of just buying a "new thing".

 

If you want to know the whole story, keep reading. 

It's a 10 year long story, but we find it interesting and definitely different to that of most businesses.

Our story starts in October 2009, when Roberto (me), the founder and Director arrived in Sydney from Italy, with the goal of learning English and finding THE opportunity to create something significant in the world. 

Instead of doing a Master degree in Economics or taking a corporate job (and refusing a job in the local bank in my home town in Italy), I decided that Australia is the place of opportunities, where if you’re worth something and you work for it; you may even get it! 💪

Starting in Sydney, job opportunities were plenty, despite my very poor English level. However, I decided to refuse all the hospitality jobs and accept work as a sales staff for a business operating pop ups in Westfield and other major shopping centres during Christmas time; I learnt how to sell magic tricks and work in a team of young and multiracial people.

The business went well and Regis (the boss and the person who "mentored" me at first) decided to keep operating the business after Christmas - trading in Newcastle and Wollongong for a limited amount of time.

After Easter, he decided to quit the project and went ahead with his career and life, leaving me confused as he believed he was doing well in the business.

During the last week of his employment, a competitor approached me and thought I was the owner of the business  and so offered me  to purchase the same products from him. After realising I was only a staff member, the competitor offered me a job instead.

As a 24 year old backpacker, with not much to fall back on; I had the opportunity to keep working, but I felt like I was "betraying" the person who believed in me despite the poor English level and gave me the opportunity to work and grow in Australia.

So I decided to take over Regis' business and buy his stock from him. Keeping his legacy and starting my own business based on the experience I had gained so far.

So I bought a few thousands Slideyz - the magic worm, and decided to start a business in Australia. Or perhaps, I had actually "bought" myself a job.

 

      

Not sure if entrepreneurship is a given skill or it's a mindset you can train; but my first act as an entrepreneur was to get over my emotions (and fear) and take over Regis's stock and start my own little venture.

I'm still grateful 10 years later for his mentorship and to have believed in me.

 

Here is where everything starts.

So I applied for an ABN, got public liability insurance, figured out where to work and started to budget cent by cent to make it. 

Thankfully, Mr Matthieu, one of my workmates under Regis leadership, wanted to buy a van to travel Australia. 

After a little bit of "negotiation", Matthieu and I agreed to travel the East Coast while selling our toy, Slideyz - the magic worm. 

 

May 2010. Matthieu bought a van, a 1982 Holden Van (I was born in 1986 for reference...) and I bought a few thousand pieces of Slideyz from Regis. 

A few thousands too many based on Matthieu metrics actually!

After a little bit more negotiation and some problems to register the van; we were finally ready to hit the first shopping centre: Stockland Forster in NSW, about 300Km north of Sydney.

 

  Roberto Vago and Matthieu Nissen

   Here Matthieu's van and our first shareholders board meeting  🤝

As any great story, something "bad" must happen so our "heroes" can show their skills and overcome adversities.

 

We left Sydney on the 9th May 2010. Or at least we tried.

The van's head-gasket blew just before we entered the Pacific Highway (thank God 🙏). The van was out of order, still 300km to go to our Day 1 of business.

 

Problem - Blaming -Thinking - Blaming - Solution!

We took 2 buses and 2 trains, and finally crossed into Sydney to find one of the few rental cars opened in 2010 on a Sunday. I think it was around the Parramatta area.

I rented a car, went back to the van, loaded the car with some stock, and kept driving towards Forster; to start to work in the morning.

Matthieu stayed behind with the van with the goal of finding a way to fix it.

Day 0 of our business venture: nearly failed!

Day 1: I've started to trade at Stockland Forster. 

After nearly 2 hours of work and $0 in sales, and the great news from Matthieu that the van was going to cost a few thousands $$$$ to fix (which we didn't have); business was definitely a failure. 

Finally, I could close the first sale and get myself a meal: I didn't have anything to eat since lunch the day before, because all my money went to the car rental (which I'm pretty sure gave me a bit of discount out of pity) and I had only $0.50 left in my bank account. Not enough for dinner, nor breakfast. Not even at Maccas 🍟

I remember that minute like it was yesterday. 

I went to the restroom, washed my face, looked at myself in the mirror and gave myself a huge motivational push - Tony Robbins style. 

Lesson 1: Yes, I may have failed... but I wasn’t going to give in so easily.

BACK TO WORK.

DAY 2,3,4,5 passed by; and it seemed like we could actually make it!

We made just enough money to pay the mechanic to repair the van, and to move forward. Matthieu joined me with the repaired van on Sunday, after a week of struggle; we were ready to hit the next stop: Coffs Harbour, 250Km away. 

We made it. We passed the first huge obstacle. What an effort though. 

And again... the van started to overheat just outside Taree... we had barely even left...

It took us nearly 10 hours to drive 250km. We drove a little and kept stopping as soon as the temperature on the dashboard was rising. 

Once there, the hostel we had booked was closed; so I had to get in through the kitchen window to let us sleep for 2 hours, if that... Considering the worries, frustration, anger and all the negativity coming through our minds that night.

In the morning, again, I went to work at Park Beach Plaza, a great little shopping centre in Coffs Harbour. Matthieu went back to the mechanic. 

 

Sometimes it seems like it's not your destiny to achieve something...

At least if you want to interpret the situation in that way. 

That wasn't my thought. I realised that if we overcame week 1, we could overcome week 2. And actually, even do better as we had learnt something on the way. And so we did. 

Week 2 was a success. We fixed the van for good, made enough sales to recover most costs and move forward. We made it over week 2. 😌

At that time, my friend Massimo, from my hometown in Italy, was in Australia as well. 

He was experiencing farms in the Bundaberg region like a real backpacker. And like some of them, not having much results from that.

We decided it would have been cool for Massimo to join our adventure and we expanded our mini business to 2 locations per week.

I was working alone in one shopping centre, Matthieu and Massimo in the other. 

Massimo left Bundaberg; jumping on the first bus down to Gold Coast and met us there. It was just before the School holidays.

That's how lucky we were. We ended up on the Gold Coast, during the holidays! Without even knowing it! It can't rain forever! 🌈

 

It was a success! We stayed on the Gold Coast for 4 weeks, living in a nice apartment in a building with a swimming pool, gym, tennis court etc. 

Unbelievable for all of us; coming from a totally different reality in our own countries.

Oh, it wasn't because we made it; not at all!! But because it was relatively cheap for 3 of us to rent an apartment on the Gold Coast in off-peak season 😎

And we sold out... in 9 weeks. A bit faster than what I had planned... but well,  I had never made a business plan before.

Matthieu left us and went travelling with the then fixed van. 

While me and Massimo went to travel to Thailand, Singapore and Bali.

Before getting back to work, in Sydney again.


         Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, QLD

There I learnt lesson number 2:

Previous performances aren't necessarily a sign of future performance. 

 

I bought a container of Slideyz - the magic worm - sure that we would have killed it again. Signed up a booking agreement with Westfield, for a "not so convenient rate" and bought an old Mitsubishi van... not the best on the market.

Once again, the bank account was nearly $0 and we weren't even able to cover rent during the month of October! 

Massimo even decided to give up his pay in order to keep the business working... Great staff but an amazing friend! 

This time felt like we were falling slowly, but harder. 🎢

Again, we eventually made it! I changed the business strategy, sold the Mitsubishi and bought a Mazda E2000 (Van Basten), we moved to QLD and again we had great success over Christmas and the holidays.

Australian life was amazing, we had an opportunity, we took it and rode with it. 

We were still ‘no one’ and probably financially, making less than 90% of the Australian workforce; but again from where we came from it felt like we were in control of our life, and free to choose where to go and what to do!

We worked all the way up to Cairns, then back down to Sydney where I worked at the Sydney Easter Show (my first ever show) for another guy who was selling the magic worms as well. 

The Show was mind blowing for me. Amazing! Busy, vibrant, exciting. 

Hard work (which definitely I was used to by then) but also satisfying. 

Unfortunately as many backpackers in Australia, we had to leave after that experience. But I realised that Australia was the place where I wanted to live for longer.

 

And so I came back to Australia and started to study business at Envirotech School of Education, on the Gold Coast.

As a student, I couldn't work long hours in shopping centres anymore due to visa restrictions so I had to change my business strategy again. 

The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets was the solution, along with some shows when possible.



    Magic Wallet Shop      Magic Wallet Shop - Roberto Vago
                     Before                                                             After
    Slideyz Magic Worm - Roberto Vago      Roberto Vago

And so we get to 2013, when other travellers that owned a business at the Markets called "Magic Wallet Shop", asked me for advice to book a site in shopping centres around the Gold Coast.

We ended up sharing a site during the holidays at Centro Surfers Paradise, and we became friends.

Christopher and Bart were running their business smoothly, but they wanted to travel to Melbourne. So I decided to take over the business for QLD.

Bart had good graphic designing skills, so we started to customise the magic wallets; while Chris was a very smart and knowledgeable business man.   

It was a great learning curve for myself.

 

In the end we joined forces. We worked hard and expanded the brand Australia wide, creating a good little business over time. 

In November 2014 I started to look after all the marketing for Magic Wallet Shop, and worked on the project for 3 years. 

 

In 2015, after many years of admiration for "Build  Bear", a rejection from them when I asked to take the concept "mobile" and a failed attempt in 2012; I founded Teddy Creations - more than just bears!

The concept of customising your teddy bear is beautiful, even better actually so we decided to offer not only bears, but also unicorns, dinosaurs, sheep, cows, dogs, cats... 

We started small, using the limited budget we had, and we grew the business - nowadays we have been everywhere in Australia with such a great product.

Kids in Darwin, Esperance, Alice Springs, Whyalla... all have been able to create their own stuffed toys at the show!


  Teddy Creations powered by Teddy & CO FUNLAND!!!        teddy creations - teddy co funland

In 2017, after nearly 2 years since Chris and Bart left Australia, we all moved forward. It was a great experience for all of us. And a great story to bring with us for many years ahead.


    Roberto Vago Sydney Easter Show 2014         

2017 will be remembered in the history of the toy industry as the FIDGET SPINNERS year. It was insane!

We got a small amount of stock in March 2017 (Sydney Easter Show time), and it was something unique indeed.

All the kids wanted some! The feeling of being able to deliver to our little customers what they wished, was an amazing emotion.

And it was an amazing wave.... And also a good lesson in stock management!


       

That time was also a good lesson for my career as an entrepreneur. 

I realised I was small, but if I could create a team.. then we wouldn’t be so small anymore! My partner Trisha helped me during 2016 and 2017 and still nowadays actually sometimes, in her own way.

 

We started to collaborate with more people in the industry while our business and reputation was growing... slowly... but consistently.

Later in 2017 Squishys got popular, and we had them all! 

Also we had the Happy Cloud in summer 2016. 

 

From there, the idea to create a new toy store concept came to me! 

But we didn't want to be another "build a bear" or toys r us.

We decided to create a new concept for toys retailing.

Mixing the Teddy Creations concept with an interactive toys store: show style.

 

In November 2017 we opened the first store in Westfield Whitford in Perth.

We operated for nearly 1 year, having to move shops 4 times; it was a great learning experience. 

We weren't ready then to run a shop in WA, while the business is based in QLD. But we tried our best, learnt a lot and improved. 

  Teddy & CO FUNLAND!!!    Teddy & CO FUNLAND!!!

We ran two kiosks in Harbour Town on the Gold Coast from 2017 until COVID-19 hit the economy in February 2020.

In 2019 we had been leading the itinerants industry at the Shows. 

We now are working with Exotic Filled Licorice and Candies and Jungle Wear and expanding our range of products further. 

We are always looking to bring cool and innovative toys to the marketplace; and to deliver the best service to our customer.

 

In March 2020, when all public gatherings of 500 people and above were cancelled, we lost the majority of the business overnight. 

However, we decided to adapt instead of complain; and we helped our community on the Gold Coast by providing masks and hand sanitiser; in March when there was a shortage.

We ran an amazing initiative called "FREE MAKS FOR SENIOR" through Facebook ads, reaching our over 32000 people on the Gold Coast and donating hundreds of masks to people in need. 

Thank you to our team @ Teddycofunland

 

In our team we currently have:

Sammie: Office manager

Gabriel: Logistic Manager

Jath: Graphic designer and virtual assistant

Chelsea: Sales assistant

Ana: Sales assistant

Jordan: Sales assistant

Kate: Sales assistant

Natasha: Sales assistant

Rachael: Sales assistant

Cecilia: Sales assistant

Ben: Sales assistant

Nalani: Sales assistant

 

We are always looking for motivated people to join the team and energetic and outgoing sales staff to travel around Australia and work at the shows.

Contact us if you wish to apply: office@teddycofunland.com

Stay tuned as we are going stronger online now. Keep growing! Onwards