Stopka says that for Design Toscano, you don't just have angels; you have "art angels," "sexy angels," and "vampy angels." You have skeletons that are (purportedly) suitable for a year-round garden display. You have a mountain-climbing squirrel. The unending procession of garden gnomes goes without saying.
"[Steve] doesn't like gnomes, so when he does gnomes, he does things that are fun, so like zombie gnomes, biker gnomes, gnomes that are mooning the world," Stopka says. This spring, Pseno is introducing another Design Toscano exclusive gnome, one "Atlas the Athlete," who comes outfitted like an early 1900s power-lifter.
Today, Design Toscano releases 300 to 400 items a year, a huge portion of which are designed from scratch by the company's creative director, Steve Pseno. In a phone interview, Stopka explains that whereas big boxes offer "pretty generic" products, Pseno is all about finding that "Toscano spin," which usually means experimenting with all kinds of "personalities" for popular categories like gargoyles, or Romanesque columned things.
According to Pseno, when his colleagues saw the first sample of the yeti statue, they thought it would never sell. "SkyMall had to be pushed to run it too," he writes. "Mike and I took a gamble and ran with it." Sales were just okay at first, but Pseno says it really took off once "word got around that SkyMall was selling a Bigfoot." To date, the airline catalog has sold over 10,000 Design Toscano yeti statues.