Meet Ben Ang of XM Studios, making an impact on pop culture one step at a time
With the comic book genre of movies consistently hitting the billion-dollar mark at the box office and increasing demand for events such as Comic Con, comics, manga and all of its related forms are now being embraced with open arms. Such works have attracted a new crowd that’s impacted mainstream pop culture forever, and this crowd includes a Ben Ang, who started out as any fan skimming through Japanese manga and Hong Kong comic books. Now, he runs XM Studios, a prominent producer of handcrafted, luxury collectibles. The company collaborates with comic book industry giants such as DC Comics, Sanrio, Marvel and more to produce limited-edition collectibles that many clamber to accrue.
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What do you think helped you succeed in such a niche industry?
Passion, hard work, teamwork and perseverance. The journey wasn’t an easy one, but we hung on to our ideals, leveraged on our creativity to be able to think out of the box and above all, we never gave up. Our ability to think out of the box, pursuit towards delivering quality products and experience, our team, and our supportive community has contributed to where we are today.
What do you think helped you in having a successful brand locally and internationally?
We owe our success to the support from our community of collectors, the license owners who believe and trust us, and our XM family who have been through thick and thin with us since day one. We have been growing and consistently pushing the boundaries as a team to deliver the best product and experience.
Describe the industry that you are in, in your own words.
Fun and creative. It is an industry that allows us to interact with people from different walks of life. As we design and produce each piece, we are offering these collectors a physical piece of their memory with these characters where they are able to interact with them and stories that they enjoy.
What challenges did you face, especially as someone who didn’t go through the normal education route?
I think understanding the figurine collectible industry deeply and staying on top of what our customers are looking for is the key to our success. Because I didn’t go through a proper business education route, that perhaps has helped me to think outside of the box in terms of how we approach business and the industry.
With the rising interest in comics due to onscreen adaptations like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe, how do you think the future of comic collectibles will be like?
Social media, movies, TV shows and media content are the nutrients that grow the community bigger as they help reach out to more people. I am very excited to see how the industry will change in the coming years when more people are familiar with this industry, and how it will change their lives. With the pandemic and various world events that we hear in the news every day, I believe that we can help to provide a lot of joy and happiness to everyone in the industry we are in.
Do you think that comic collectibles can be a mainstay as an alternate investment?
It is every fan’s dream to own something that they like. And collectors are happy if the collectible becomes an investment opportunity. But as a collector myself, I would own something that I appreciate over collecting and selling it as an investment opportunity. I guess it depends on every individual at the end of the day, but I would always encourage our customers to purchase and keep what they like.
Last but not least, who is your favourite comic book character, and why?
Doraemon. He has the ability to provide tools and solutions to almost any situation and he is so cute.