About Toxic Pandas

I'm sure a lot of you might be thinking, who I am and what is Toxic Pandas? My name is Alex, a Toronto based Graphic Designer, who has a passion for creating beautiful things. My passion started without me knowing it. Being in elementary school and has a knack for arts and design, I naturally gravitated towards the creative aspects of navigating my way through school with my creativity. I would say, if it wasn't for my creative abilities, I wouldn't have made it through school and eventually graduated from one of the top design schools in Canada.

Working in the design industry for well over a decade, I've designed for large national and international brands alike. Learning about marketing, macro-economics, eCommerce and business. I found out I'm a full out nerd. Whatever we learned in school. Those tedious projects. Those entrepreneurship classes. Those essays and reports we write, are the very definition of business. Those are business plans. Those are business proposals. Those are business and market analysis. The difference between that and a real life business is execution. We never thought that those plans could be executed. We trade our creativity and our ability to think bigger and larger than life for marks and ABC's.

Understanding this is better late than never. I then realized being a Designer that a large portion of capital expenditures in a business is predicated towards design and marketing. A lot of the cost of starting a business is alleviated because of my abilities to create creatively. The other part to business is to offer a product or service that a customer can buy and this is how my entrepreneurship journey has came to be.

In the beginning of 2020, I doodling on my computer during my down time at work and created Toxic Pandas logo. (I will get into the logo design and concept in the next section). I thought it was a cool and eye catching logo. "Wouldn't it be nice to turn it into merchandises?" I thought. However, being risked adverse, I sat on it for months. Also with all that was happening in the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, the forest fire in Australia, the trade disputes and the economical melt-downs, I watched. 

Sitting at home with not much going on I kept turning back to Toxic Pandas. I was thinking of different marketing strategies for the brand. I realized that there is no client approvals or people banning my outrageous ideas because I am the sole operator on this project. The only thing that was stopping me from building this brand was the website. Having never built an eCommerce website before, or coding a website myself for many years I stalled. (In my later career as a Web Designer, I did not have to code. I just design and my development team builds it for me.)

Finally one day I just took the plunge and built the website on Shopify. I did not want to hire a programmer, and I have all the time in the world sitting at home locked-down with nothing to do. It was some what of a learning curve but I finally got through it. Luckily I still remember my basic coding skills in conjunction of the simplicity the Shopify's site builder.The rest is history. 

I was sitting at work during my down time and started doodling on my computer. I'm a designer and that's what I do. With a streetwear, t-shirt and hypebeast direction in mind. I wanted to create something hip and trendy. I wanted an eye catching logo with a shocking, yet memorable design. One way to achieve this is by juxtaposing two completely different concepts and objects together. Luckily for me, this time around I don't have a client telling me what the company name is, nor is there a strict design brief. I can go completely wild.

I know I wanted a skull/ bone and skull as a basis of the logo. The bone and skull is one of the most recognizable symbols in our times. There is an edgy, dangerous, and rock & roll connotation to the symbolism. That is the perfect imagery for a trendy streetwear brand. However, the bone and skull on its own looks too grim and goth, which was not what I was after. 

I then separated the bone and skull symbol and thought about how I can make this my own? The bones on its own reminded me of flint stones and that just sparked a whole storm of ideas. I'll pair the bone and skull with something on the opposite side of the spectrum. I needed something cute and cuddly to off set the crude nature of the bone and skull. I started to search on google images of all the cute animals I can find. From dogs and cats to pigs and giraffe, I've tried it all. I finally refined myself to a teddy bear. Then I took it one step further and settled with the Panda. This is how the Panda Skull came to be.

At an early age, my fashion sense gravitated towards loud and bold colours. The trendy yet obnoxious style. I wouldn't think about how other perceived me. I just thought it looked cool. Maybe it's a Designer syndrome, trying to standout. Trying to be creative, even with my daily attire.

However, in the last few years, I wanted a change. I started exploring the world of sustainable style and fashion. Styles and colours that does not go out of date. I was also fascinated with colours that just go together without much thought. I have transformed my wardrobe to almost completely monochromatic. At first I cringed about going out in all black. After a week of forcing myself, I got used to it and started to love the mysterious and cool factor that many love. It is also versatile to let sneakers and accessories shine.

This is the very reason why I picked the panda as the mascot of the brand. Embracing the black and whites of fashion and style. It's perfect for sneaker heads who loves loud and chunky sneakers. It is also suitable for the low-key individuals who just want to rock black and white. Either way, you'll look cool as hell.

The Toxic Panda Squad is a club for those who love the Toxic Pandas brand. A customer or not, if you love the brand, you're in! You are now part of the Toxic Panda Squad. 

This is only the beginning of our journey. The future is up to you and me. It's up to fans support like you. Let Toxic Pandas thrive and welcome to the squad.