S’porean collectors explain why they’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on this Hong Kong designer figurine

Definitely not a toy for kids.

Joshua Lee | | Sponsored | December 01, 2021, 05:03 PM

If you visited a CapitaLand mall recently, you might have chanced upon this character:

Courtesy of CapitaLand Malls.

This is Molly. She was created by Hong Kong designer Kenny Wong in 2006.

Over the years, Molly has been made into limited-edition collectable figurines which have been well received among collectors. Depending on its size, a Molly figurine can go from anywhere between S$10 to a few thousand bucks.

Collectors say that Molly’s appeal is in her cute features, such as her impossibly wide eyes and pout.

Molly figurines are sold in “blind boxes”, meaning that you won’t know what you’re getting until you open the box. For some collectors like Jevi, there is an added bit of excitement from “finding out which treasure you randomly end up with”.

Toy collector Jevi loves Molly’s “very adorable eyes and unique mouth”. Image courtesy of Jevi.

Collectors whom I spoke to said that they fork out about S$100 every month on Molly figurines.

One of them, LG, said that she is willing to shell out the money because to her, the figurines provide a form of escape.

The housewife spends her days looking after two children (“You say so many times and they don't listen to you at all!”) and doing housework (“Every day I need to pack five, six, seven, eight times!”).

“So sometimes I look at these figurines, wah so nice, so beautiful. It brings joy to me. It makes the stress go away.”

One of the many Molly figurines in LG’s house. LG spends about S$100 per month on them. Image by Joshua Lee.

LG and her husband collect figurines — in fact, her husband was the one who hooked her on collecting Molly figurines — and they have an extensive range at home.

One of their most prized possessions is this MEGA COLLECTION 1000% Space Molly Jelly figurine:

LG posing with the MEGA 1000% Space Molly Jelly figurine at home. Molly figurines provide a form of escape for the housewife and mother of two. Image by Joshua Lee.


LG and her husband have an extensive range of collectable figurines at home. Image by Joshua Lee.

Jevi also finds a lot of joy in collecting toys. In particular, when it comes to Molly, he is attracted to her “very adorable eyes and unique mouth”.

“I just love how mischievous she looks, kind of reminds me of my childhood,” he said.

For Jevi, who spends about S$100 per month on Molly toys, her appeal is in her mischievous look which reminds him of his childhood. Image courtesy of Jevi.

For Jevi, collecting figurines is his way of making it up to the child in him who never had the luxury of buying toys.

“Of course we don’t play [the figurines] like a kid, but we collect it and display it in our home or room. There's a sense of accomplishment when we get to own it, especially if it is limited-edition.”

Jevi is also a photographer and he combines his love for photography and Molly figurines into beautiful photos like this. Image courtesy of Jevi.

His willingness to indulge his inner child is why he doesn’t have an issue with people dismissing his hobby as a mere childish endeavour.

“I think it’s good to have the heart of a child, being innocent in a way, so probably I won’t argue. I will just move on.”

Image courtesy of Jevi.

LG, on the other hand, doesn’t see a difference between her love for collecting figurines and other more mainstream hobbies like collecting sneakers, watches, and luxury bags.

In her words, they are all ways to “convert money into happiness”.

In fact, just like watches, limited-edition collectable figurines can increase in value over time as more people pick up the hobby — as is the case now.

LG doesn’t see a difference between her love for collecting figurines and other more mainstream hobbies like collecting sneakers, watches, and luxury bags. Image by Joshua Lee.

Both LG and Jevi observed that figurine-collecting has gained traction over the years.

Today, toy stores like Action City and POP MART bring in collectable toys — toys that were previously only available at overseas toy shows or via overseas sellers— to cater to the growing community of collectors here.

Fashion collaborations and large scale exhibitions have also brought toy-collecting into mainstream consciousness.

Both LG and Jevi observed that toy-collecting has become more common over the years. Image courtesy of Jevi.

For example, CapitaLand is currently collaborating with POP MART to launch the world’s first Molly-themed campaign across 16 CapitaLand malls. Clearly, it has been put together with Molly fans in mind because there are different themes to explore across the malls.

For instance, the installations at Tampines Mall, Bedok Mall, Lot One and Bukit Panjang Plaza follow the theme of Molly enjoying the simple pleasures of life, like watching a movie or relaxing.

One Day of Molly Installation at Lot One. Courtesy of CapitaLand.

Those at Westgate, JCube, IMM, Junction 8 and Plaza Singapura feature the character indulging in various snacks.

Yummy Party Installation at Plaza Singapura. Courtesy of CapitaLand.

The exhibition at Funan takes on a futuristic theme, featuring MEGA Space Molly journeying into the future.

Molly 15: Into The Future exhibition at Funan. Courtesy of CapitaLand.

As part of this campaign, POP MART also debuted the MEGA Space Molly Christmas 400% and 1000% figurines a month ahead of their global launch in China. Singapore is the first in the world to see these figurines.

The limited edition MEGA 1000% Space Molly Christmas retails for a whopping S$1,199.90 and there is already a long waitlist of collectors waiting to get their hands on this Christmas exclusive.

(Right) MEGA 1000% Space Molly Christmas. Courtesy of CapitaLand.

The growing popularity of collectable figurines such as Molly has only one drawback for collectors like Jevi and LG — It is now more difficult for them to get their hands on extremely limited-edition Molly figurines.

For these, collectors have to enter a draw before they can purchase them. And so with more serious collectors entering draws to purchase limited edition Molly figurines, the chances of getting hold of one drops even more.

This means that sometimes, the only way one can get their hands on a limited edition figurine is via the resale market.

But still, this doesn’t diminish LG and Jevi’s passion for collecting Molly figurines because of the sheer joy they get from it — something you cannot put a price tag on. Besides, in today’s overachieving culture, it’s refreshing to find people engaging in hobbies just for the pleasure of it.

For those who want to get a taste of figurine-collecting, LG has this piece of advice: Go check out the POP MART store at Funan and look at the figurines in the flesh. You’ll never know what might catch your eye.

But do exercise caution, she added: “You go there, surely get hooked one.”

Thanks to this sponsored article by CapitaLand Malls, this writer saw a giant Molly figurine for the first time in his life. Quotes were edited for clarity.