Misfit Toys owner Daniel Blackbird has been a toy collector since the age of 6. At 8 years old, he recalls trying to trade his German Shepherd puppy with neighborhood kids for a massive collection of “Star Wars” toys.
“I rolled a barrel full of toys 1 mile down the street back to my house,” he said with a laugh. “When my parents found out, we rolled that barrel 1 mile back.”
Over the years, Blackbird’s knowledge of toys and passion for collecting grew. The Heights native eventually left his job in the oil industry to bring his dream of becoming a toy hunter full-time to life, finding ways to turn his knowledge into profit.After multiple years of selling his wares at the Traders Village market in northwest Houston, Blackbird jumped at the chance to open a storefront on Yale Street in June 2016. Thus, Misfit Toys was born.
Today, three locations of the shop exist, including one in Montrose and one in the Memorial area. Visitors can find vast collections of vintage toys from a wide variety of fandoms, including “Star Wars” figures from the 1970s, first generation Transformers and rare toys from classic horror franchises.
However, Blackbird stressed the store caters to all collectors. Although some toys are highly valuable, the shop also hosts sales where guests can choose from large quantities of toys priced at $5.
“Whether you’re the guy who spends $10,000 a month or the guy who spends $5 a month ... everyone gets treated the same,” he said.
Toy hunting for Blackbird is the key part of the process that allows him to flex his knowledge and bring rare finds to his shop from all over the country. He regularly travels to meet up with collectors looking to sell, including a trip to Virginia in mid-November where he said he bought $25,000 in toys.“If it’s something I covet, it’s something people are going to like,” Blackbird said.
The act of collecting—including cleaning and arranging the toys in the store—is therapeutic for Blackbird. As video games became increasingly popular, he said he will always prefer physical toys for how they can spark his imagination.
“It’s an incredible experience to just live your dream,” he said. “When I walk in here, I become a different person.”
Memorial location: 10910 I-10 W., Houston
Hours: Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.-Thu.
Montrose location: 2402 Montrose Blvd., Houston
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mon.
Heights location: 1802 Yale St., Houston
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.