What is the history of Archie McPhee and where can I read about it?

For more than 30 years Archie McPhee has been bringing strange and amazing things to the world. We design and manufacture the kinds of impractical items that make life better. If you'd like to sell them, you can find our wholesale site here!

Located in Seattle, Washington, the Archie McPhee store has moved a few times (starting in Fremont, then going to Ballard), but has finally settled into the Wallingford neighborhood. Visit the next time you’re in Seattle. 

The design team and customer service are in Mukilteo, Washington.

Our owner, Mark Pahlow, started the business selling rubber lizards and other crazy things out of his house in L.A. He found that people couldn’t get enough of his collectible junk, but he needed space for his company to grow. Risking it all, he packed his entire inventory into a U-Haul truck and headed for Seattle. In 1983 he set up shop with two employees in Seattle’s Fremont district using the name “Archie McPhee.” For a while, his retail sales were under the name Archie McPhee and he made his products under the name Accoutrements before finally settling on Archie McPhee Wholesale. He wrote a book called Who Would Buy This? The Archie McPhee Story that goes into more detail about his background and the roots of the business.

Click here to read the essay Mark Pahlow wrote about the roots of Archie McPhee.

If you'd like to see some of our older catalogs click here. 

Over the years the business grew. Hits like the Punching Nun and Librarian Action Figure (based on real-life librarian Nancy Pearl) helped us grow into what we are today: the premier source for weird stuff in the world. Come be weird with us!

For more info, check out these great stories about us:

"The big daddy of doodads: Mark Pahlow is serious about Archie McPhee" - Seattle Times

"The Strange Perils of Running a Novelty Item Empire" - Atlas Obscura

"Handerpants, Devil Duckies and Rubber Chicken: Inside Archie McPhee" - Wired

"Archie McPhee's Wacky Wonders" - Everett Herald

"Twisted toys from twisted minds" - Seattle Times

"Extreme Superstores, Archie McPhee" - Extreme Superstores