Today we’d like to introduce you to Daryn Fillis.
Daryn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My entrepreneurial career began when I was 19 years old. My brother David invited me for a summer project in Mexico City, where I would be the “president” of a company whose objective was to sell knockdown wooden display fixtures to Tower Records in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was still in college studying Liberal Arts, so needless to say, I hadn’t the slightest idea about manufacturing, logistics, assembly, design, etc. Nor did I speak Spanish. It sounded adventurous, so I gladly accepted, and my journey as an entrepreneur began.
That opportunity led me to work with Tower Records in Mexico as the retail operations manager. This is where I developed my passion for retail and experiential retail, a term that is being used a lot recently to highlight the difference between digital and brick and mortar retail. Understanding the importance of delivering a unique customer experience was key to Tower’s success, and I apply those lessons daily at Distroller.
My career at Distroller began 11 years ago in Mexico City, where I took on the role of CEO and partnered with Distroller Founder and Creative Director Amparo “Amparin” Serrano. I held that position for seven years. I moved back to the U.S. in 2015 and began working on opening Distroller USA.
We launched Distroller USA in the summer of 2017 with the first Distroller Werld flagship store nestled in San Diego in Fashion Valley. We then opened Distroller Werld Houston in The Galleria later that year, followed by our e-commerce, DistrollerUSA.com. In late 2018, we opened our third U.S. brick and mortar in Glendale, Calif. in Glendale Galleria.
Today, I am the CEO of Distroller North America and am excited about our continued expansion in the U.S.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The most difficult part of my career has been adapting to a new culture at such a young age. I didn’t speak Spanish when I first started working in Mexico. I had no idea how big Mexico City was, and coming from a very small town in Northern California, I experienced major culture shock.
Another struggle when I started working with Amparin was understanding that she has unique needs as an artist. I had to learn to listen and have empathy; something I didn’t develop until working with Distroller.
Distroller Werld – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Distroller was founded in 2004 by Mexican artist, Amparo “Amparin” Serrano. Distroller is recognized for its distinct ‘out-of-this-world’ retail experience and its mainstay brand, the Neonate Babies, that inspire positive play through engagement, emotion, and imagination. The Neonate Babies are available for adoption and come in a variety of sizes, personalities, and species, including Espongie, Zygotie, and Nerlie. With the help of Nurse Tania, children and parents are able to create a unique adventure and adopt their own Neonate Baby delivered in a special space capsule.
Bringing Amparin’s art and the Distroller brand to the U.S. has been one of our greatest achievements thus far. Seeing families enjoying their time and having fun at Distroller has been incredibly rewarding for all of us in the organization.
Our major differentiator in the marketplace is how we engage families and children’s imaginations through play. Everything about us as a brand has to do with fantasy, play, and imagination. We give children the tools necessary to develop their own stories.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am most proud of being on the team that developed our Neonate Baby retail-entertainment experience at Distroller Werld Houston and our other U.S. retail locations in San Diego and Glendale, Calif. Being part of such an innovative and unique way of engaging with children and families, and watching them enter the experience and genuinely believing it is so rewarding.
The experience we provide at Distroller Werld Houston is unlike any other retail store; we engage the entire family with the Neonate Baby adoption process, as a child adopting a Neonate Baby becomes a ‘Neo-parent’ and their parents ‘Neo-grandparents.’
The adoption experience begins by having a soon-to-be ‘Neo-parent’ choose the Neonate Baby they’d like to adopt. Nurse Tania then calls out to Neonatopia via Distroller’s intercom system to send the desired Neonate Baby to Earth. During this process, you get to watch your baby travel from their special planet of Neonatopia to Earth in a special space capsule. Once your baby arrives, Nurse Tania performs an APGAR test and ensures the Neonate Baby is healthy and ready to go home with their Neo-parent. Each Neonate Baby comes with special care instructions on feeding, bathing, soothing & general care.
In addition to the Neonate Babies, we’ve launched other sub-brands housed under Distroller, including Chamoy & Amiguis and Chiquity Boom Town. Each sub-brand within Distroller are designed to promote inclusiveness and acceptance. We pride ourselves on having the ability to continue to develop creative concepts and characters that are true to Distroller’s disruptive and innovative values.
After that, I’d have to say that leading the brand’s debut in the U.S. has been very rewarding, and I am incredibly proud of being able to share Amparin’s creations with my own culture.
- Neonate Baby adoptions range from $19.99 to $39.99 depending on the generation you want to take home.
- Chamoy & Amiguis dolls range from $24.99 to $34.99
- Chiquity Boom Town characters, including the Alushhhes and Cheekie Fairies, are $29.99
- Accessories for all of babies and dolls range from $3.99 to $49.99.
- Address: 5135 W Alabama St. #5150C, Houston, TX 77056
- Website: DistrollerUSA.com
- Phone: 346-998-0477
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/distrollerusa/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DistrollerUSA/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/DistrollerUSA
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/distroller-world-houston-2
- Other: https://youtube.com/distrollerusa
Tim Hardy Photography, JD Hallet Photography