With rent hikes blighting our high streets, it makes us very happy when we hear of imaginative ventures such as our new Happy Stockists: Tomo Mags aka the Travelling Mag Bus. Based in Houston (USA), Tomo Mags is the brainchild of Vico Puentes who, along with his partner Kevin, combined their love of good design and magazines and turned an old school bus into a printed goodies paradise. Here we chat to Vico about how it all came about.
How did you come up with the idea of setting up a magazine shop inside a bus?
The idea is an adaptation of a lifetime dream to own my own business and something to share with my partner who is a graphic designer. TOMO was born out the desire to have a business that made us happy while making other people happy and inspired. When I first started sharing the idea of opening up a magazine shop, I was repeatedly told that print was dying and that it would be a huge challenge. I took the common reaction as a challenge to make sure that what we put together something that would be fun and innovative and also within reach to our future audience. After picturing myself sitting in a shop waiting for people to walk in I thought, "TOMO shouldn't be waiting for people to come, we should go where people are!" I had seen many business take the mobile approach and it just made complete sense to me that people at parks, coffee shops, art galleries and other places where people go to disconnect from our technology would appreciate something to do that would inspire them.
What is people's reaction?
The reaction has been extremely positive and it has been great to find people aligning with our mission of loving print and overall being happy! We love to hear from young to old about how they want to flip through a magazine and get inspired. We are also seeing younger versions of ourselves being curious about art, design and the world that is out there. We want to be in tune that with everyone that walks in and find a great balance in our assortment so that anyone can find something that appeals to them. It has been very important to us that we learn from everyone that has the same love for magazines because we don't know it all and don't want to "curate" something that only speaks to ourselves.
Where will you take the bus next?
We might take a road trip to our neighbours in Austin and Dallas but Houston has so much to offer and so many people welcoming to their front doors that we want to stay here for now! We do want to visit the Menil Park in Houston and have a huge picnic; simply take the time to enjoy ourselves.