Vintage dreams

Avid collector Paige J. Nichols held onto the stuffed “Dream Pets” of her youth, knowing one day she would bring them back to life in her own vision.

Nothing brings back happier memories than the sight of a beloved toy from your childhood. With one quick glance we are momentarily transported back to a simpler place in time, when we were young and carefree. Long before the digital age, we had only three TV channels, a ball and bat, a doll and, if we were very lucky, some rollerskates to play with. Children relied on their low-tech toys and their imaginations to bring their childhood dreams to life. 

Out of this innocent age in the 1950s and 1960s came the toys called the Dream Pets. They were small toy animals made of velveteen, stuffed with sawdust. Each huggable one resembled a cartoon character come to life. They also came with accessories and a collector’s card about the toy’s “dream.” Monkeys, lobsters, hippos, lions, dolphins, tigers, cows and kangaroos, each one was more adorable than the next. 

The brand’s history was as charming as the stuffed animals’ sweet little faces.  In the 1950s, the R. Dakin Co. of Japan used them as inexpensive packing material to cushion the fancy toy trains that they shipped to the United States. The trains were forgettable, but the Dream Pets became an instant sensation. Inexpensive, they were perfect for kids, toddlers to teens. Both kids and collectors couldn’t get enough of them.

Avid collector Paige J. Nichols held onto the Dream Pets of her youth, knowing one day she would bring them back to life in her own vision.  Fast forward to 2018 and her dream has come true. Her new collection of “Dream Pets” retro toys has been redesigned to be a bit larger and a little more plush. Her hope is that these sweet toys will inspire the next generation of dreamers.

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