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Dragatomi store offers custom vinyl toys

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Sacramento residents can impress their loved ones this holiday season with unique gifts from Dragatomi.

Dragatomi, a toy store located at 2317 J St., showcases limited-edition vinyl toys, and even commissioned custom toys upon request to artists who were featured in the store.

"Our products are anywhere from the cute to the dark," co-owner Joanne Suavillo, 33, said. "I feel that we have something for everybody in here – some are custom, and some are production items."

What-did-i-eat-aphunt Big City Edition by Amanda Visell

Suavillo described the toys in the store as "made for the older child."

"We have customers who start collecting at 7 years old and grannies who buy for themselves," Suavillo said.

Shawn Caluya, 21, resident in the Arden area, browses the store.

"Even though it’s a small store, it’s got a ton of stuff," vinyl toy collector Jawad Jaser, 29, of East Sacramento said.

Jaser said he has more than 20 designer toys in his collection, with some of them still in the box because he is still in the process of purchasing a display case to showcase his collection.

The store’s products range from $3 blind-boxed mini figures to $1,200 custom vinyl toys.

Blind boxes have the same concept as baseball card packaging where customers do not know the specific item or items they will get until they have opened it, explained Suavillo. The store gives customers the option to exchange the toy they get from blind-boxed toys, if it was a duplicate, to a display from that same product line.

A $1,200 custom vinyl art by Patrick Francisco.

Suavillo said that most of their toys are not meant to be played with, but more to be collected and displayed like the artwork that they are.

"It is not a mass-produced toy. You’re not going to find these in big-box stores. You’re not going to find it at Target or at Toys ‘R’ Us," Suavillo said of the store’s limited-edition toys, such as "Cathy Cowgirl – all gold color special edition" by Ron English. Only 30 items of this edition were made available worldwide, and the store currently has three in stock.

Cathy Cowgirl – all gold color special edition by Ron English.

She said that they carry a lot of custom toys where artists have taken an existing platform, for example, a Munny, a three-dimensional blank canvas made of vinyl resembling a cartoon-like figure, and have painted, airbrushed, applied resin or clay, or a combination of all, on it to express and embellish their own style.

Suavillo explained that the name of their store, Dragatomi, is a made-up word her brother-in-law, Myk Suavillo, came up with. It is also the name of a blue-colored dragon-like cartoon character he created, which became their trademark logo.

Joanne Suavillo shows the Dragatomi plush.

As of now, she said, the store only sells the Dragatomi character in plush form. The toy is an exclusive to the store. They also carry other designer toys exclusive to the store such as the "Ozomahtli Ghost Edition" by Jesse Hernandez, a toy designer from the Bay Area.

Ozomahtli Ghost Edition by Jesse Hernandez

"We bring a lot of flavor to Sacramento by showing them works of artists that they may have not been able to see because they are not usually local," Suavillo said.

Describing his “Awesome Bear” character, Illustrator Philip Lumbang III, said, "My character, even though he’s really simple, he’s really thought-out." Lumbang, 25, grew up in Elk Grove and now lives in Los Angeles. He had his illustrations featured in the store Oct. 8.

Customers can ask the store for commissioned art from artists who were featured in the store.

The biggest item they have now in the store for sale is the “Mickey Mao” by Frank Kozik.

The store also sells T-shirts, photography and graffiti books and paintings, aerosol spray cans, resin, watches and zipper-pulls, among other things.

A sample of a zipper-pull from Dragatomi
Philip Lumbang III designed T-shirts, featuring his “Awesome Bear.”

The store’s toys come from various distributors from all over the U.S., Suavillo said. They carry more than 15 of major-brand vinyl toy brands such as Kidrobot and Tokidoki.

"We never knew that Dragatomi is going to be where it’s at today," Suavillo said. "It started as an online store, and really, my intention was to have it as a home business, but it grew, and it grew, and very rapidly, which we are very thankful for and for all the supporters who made this happen for us."

Suavillo started Dragatomi as online store in June 2008, and in May 2009 she has her Dragatomi store at their current location. Customers can also view and order their products, check schedule of future events and upcoming specials for the holidays, on their website.

The Dragatomi store, view from outside.

The store is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.


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John Hernandez

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