At Quinstance, we’re used to answering a lot of questions: about the store, about 3rd Avenue, about the individual products and makers, and about the materials in each products. Sating people’s curiosity is second nature to us here. But one question in particular stands out, in part because it tends to happen like clockwork. Customers will wander around the store, coming up to our gilded frame wall, and will stumble upon these---
--which will inevitably cause them to ask “What are these?”
It’s a completely understandable question actually; nothing on the box indicates its purpose, and the cute little gnome hats (as I like to imagine them) reveal little about themselves. I’ve heard customers throw out a number of suggestions for what they could be, including:
- Paperweights (although they actually could be used for that)
- Ring Holders (they are the right shape for it)
- Wine Bottle Stoppers (Taking “tipsy” to a more figurative place)
- Back Scratchers (they could do that as well)
- [Redacted] (trust me, it’s better this way)
Rarely do people guess what Tipsys are correctly, because the answer is simultaneously both obvious and rather obscure: they are office toys.
Designed by Bower Inc. in New York, Tipsys only exist to bat at and try to knock over. They’re like Weeble-Wobbles for adults--whimsical and adorable little doodads to play with while your mind works on other tasks. And I think that’s why they’re so baffling to people encountering them for the first time. We as individuals often have making room in our lives for things that are not immediately practical, for items that only serve to make us happy in a thousand little ways.
Quinstance is a small store, but we’re trying to make that room.