Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,180 covers and 55,277 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Ashley Williams's Blog: Why I Decided to Have a Home Birth
- The Style Top 5: Gigi Hadid Shares Her Beauty Don'ts, Blake Lively's Million Dollar Style Week and More
- QUIZ: How Long Would It Take for You to Die in The Game of Thrones World
- Venezuelan Woman Earns Apartment After Hitting President with Mango
- 13 Reasons to Love Just One of the Guys 30 Years Later
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- April 26, 1982
- Vol. 17
- No. 16
America's Love of Whimsy Made These Folks Blow Things Out of Proportion
Prinz met Malkin, 42, in 1972, when the Long Island metal and plastics specialty firm he worked for made a sculpture for an exhibit she was producing in Manhattan. She admired his technical talent and his collection of large nostalgic sculptures of shoes and eyeglasses, which he had bought at auctions. Phyllis proposed forming a partnership to manufacture outsize baseball bats, postage stamps, toothbrushes and other oddities.
They pooled their savings, got a $15,000 bank loan, and in March of 1979 opened the Pop/Eye-Think Big Shop on SoHo's arty Thompson Street. At the time they had fewer than 10 products for sale. But people looking for kooky items for home decoration flocked to the store; 1,000 pencils were sold in the first year alone. "We became obsessed with the shop, working seven days a week," says Phyllis. "We were trying to learn the business. We finally got tough by paying closer attention to the bottom line." By last year they were in the black.
Now, with three more stores than Prinz and Malkin started with (a second, and larger, one in SoHo, an outlet on Manhattan's East Side and a San Francisco franchise), Think Big is selling 35 different items and will gross nearly $1 million this year. Lily Tomlin received one of the company's Crayolas as a gift, Woody Allen has a two-foot, $35 harmonica, and Rod Steiger plunked down $175 for a four-and-a-half-foot tennis racket.
Think Big's founders obtained the rights to trademarked items such as the Crayola for nothing because the companies involved like the publicity. As for sales, "We're encouraged after watching our customers squeal with delight," says Phyllis. Prinz has two sons, age 14 and 11, and a husband in the package-design business. Malkin, the Oxford-educated offspring of a Brooklyn taxi driver, is separated from his wife of 20 years and has two daughters, age 21 and 14. He has designs for 300 additional items on the drawing board and wants to open more stores across the country. "We have turned our fantasy into reality," he says. "Our lives have been touched with the luck that others only dream of."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!