Uncanny Brands is a company best-known for cooking up pop culture fun in the kitchen. The company is dedicated to creating licensed small appliances that are cool and quirky, but also useful with multigenerational appeal. Staying true to its name, Uncanny Brands produces waffle makers, coffee makers, popcorn makers, and more that are unique, fun, and the perfect conversation piece.
The Pop Insider spoke with Matthew Hoffman, president of Uncanny Brands, about the perfect recipe for a licensed home appliance that fans will absolutely crave.
The Pop Insider: As the name of the company might suggest, your home goods products are so unique! What makes Uncanny Brands’ licensed appliances stand out on the shelves?
Matthew Hoffman: Generally, the kitchen is a place that everyone loves in their house. It is where they eat, where they talk, and where they bond. Our Uncanny Brands appliances allow pop culture fans to take the brands they love into the place they love. We have worked hard on crafting items that feel authentic to the passions fans have of their brand and making them cool in the kitchen.
PI: Your licenses span the gamut from Star Wars and Marvel to Bob Ross, Minions, and Dragonball Z. What makes a brand a good match for Uncanny Brands’ products?
MH: We start with looking for multigenerational brands. We like properties that both kids and their parents can enjoy together. The second thing we look for are brands that have become part of a lifestyle. Most of our brands have massive followings because they have become part of the fans’ day, every day.
PI: You already have a robust line of brands and licenses that you work with, since you’ve been around for 10 years, but what is your personal dream license to work with?
MH: I don’t know if there are any dreams we haven’t hit yet. We think our current licenses are pretty amazing. If you told the 12-year-old version of myself that we would be working with properties like Marvel and Star Wars to make Darth Vader and Spider-Man waffle makers, I would never have believed it. That being said, there are some wizards and toons that we would really like to develop for!
PI: Your Elite category features everyday appliances like waffle makers, sandwich makers, toasters, and coffee makers, to which you add a little flavor with licensed characters. Tell us a little bit about the Elite line.
MH: In general, our company philosophy is to make items that are harder to do — that there is a craft in development and that fans will appreciate the craft involved. We are not in the business of slapping a logo or sticker on a product. So, we work hard on putting the details on our elite items so they are not basic appliances, but have discovery details and thoughtful elements that fans of the brands will appreciate.
PI: You’re more than just toasters that print a fun character on the bread. Tell me a little about your Halo category, in which collectibles are turned into working appliances.
MH: Our first Halo item ever was the original Darth Vader Helmet toaster. Taking a collectible and turning it into a working appliance is super-hard. There are regulations and engineering that we have to take into account to make these work. It generally takes two years from start to finish to develop these items. Our goal is to continue to innovate what we do to let fans have a piece of memorabilia in their kitchen that can actually help them make their meal.
I am excited that we have gone full circle with our development. For May 4, 2022, we will be launching an updated Darth Vader toaster that will look even more authentic and have lights and sound chips. I’m proud of this because we took one of our most successful items and decided to innovate it. That is a key part of Uncanny Brands culture: How can we make something even better?
PI: What can fans expect in the future? Any big announcements you can share?
MH: Well, I just mentioned the Darth Vader toaster for May 4th, 2022. We have a few amazing Halo items launching for holiday this year. GameStop has an exclusive Mandalorian Helmet popcorn maker, which looks amazing. We will also be launching a Spider-Man Mask toaster for this holiday season as well.
New licenses that we added for this year include Peanuts, My Hero Academia, The Office, and Pokémon. We love all of these brands and have some fun items coming out. The idea that you can get a Dunder Mifflin coffee maker (FYE exclusive), Snoopy and Woodstock mini waffles (Hobby Lobby exclusive), and Pikachu waffle makers makes me smile — and I hope it makes fans smile as well.
To see everything that Uncanny Brands brings to the table, check out their site at uncannybrands.com. And, head over to our Instagram page to enter to win amazing Uncanny Brands appliances, now through Oct. 1!