First of all, we haven't misspelt the name nor do we sell dental products! Toothpic Nations is a theme-based online shop and platform that showcases contemporary Asian designs. Our products are sourced from independent designers and design companies based in East & S.E. Asia, as well as from expatriate Asian designers. Our shop's focus theme changes from time to time so that more designers can get involved while customers can enjoy new ranges of products regularly. Even when the focus theme changes, we would continue to add new products to the previous themes; however, some products may not be restocked once they are sold out.
For each new theme, we would collaborate with a local Asian designer to create an one-off design for our website's home page as a way of supporting Asian designers working in the U.K.
The initial concept started out of Rebecca’s passion for Japanese designs. As a London-based graphic designer/ art director who travels to Asia regularly, she was frustrated to see cool products available there but rarely out of the region. After visited various design festivals and fairs in Asia, she decided to set up an e-commerce in London and at the end of 2011, the e-shop was launched to promote the thriving Asian design market.
Behind the name
Toothpicks are ubiquitous in Asia. They are regarded as practical tools and using them at the table after meals are common sights. Despite the globalisation trend, there are still cultural differences that do not translate. Good designs, however, should break these cultural barriers and create a common language between all of us.
Besides, the traditional Japanese toothpick with an end that can be broken off and be used as a 'stand' for the used toothpick is one of the most overlooked and ingenious design inventions – simple, functional, recyclable and can be mass-produced at low costs – isn’t this what good design is about?
We seek designs that are simple, well-made, user-friendly, and with emotional values that would hopefully bring joy and fulfillment to users when they see or use them.
Our launch theme – 'Around the desk' celebrates Asian people’s passion for stationery and paper crafts. We collaborated with Japanese design studio Tebukulo to create an illustration featuring playful and imaginative stationery.
Our second theme – 'In the living room' features a variety of home accessories that merges traditional Asian craftsmanship, heritage with design that are both functional and decorative. We collaborated with Malaysian graphic designer David Tan to create a three-dimensional miniature paper and cardboard living room.
Our third theme – 'Play' presents a range of fun toys, paper crafts and games that may evoke childhood memories. They remind us to turn away from our digital devices and start creating or playing like children again. We collaborated with London-based game designer Sam Chau to create three original nostalgic games for the website.
Our fourth theme – 'Read' aims to introduce new and exciting publications created by up-and-coming illustrators, artists and independent press studios from Asia to a wider audience. The collection includes beautifully illustrated books, zines and alternative magazines. We collaborated with London/Hong Kong-based illustrator Charlene Man to create an interactive home page.
Many of our products are not widely available outside of Asia; we hope that they can inspire and excite people, and bring awareness to the high quality designs emerging from Asia today.
Get in touch
This project has evolved a lot since its initial concept, and will continue to do so in the future. We are constantly seeking new ideas, collaborations and products; we welcome feedback, enquiries from Asian designers working in or out of Asia, and wholesale enquiries from retailers. You can get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, emails or subscribe to our newsletters and receive updates on new products and sales.
Tel: +44 (203) 397 3788