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    About TOPS Malibu by Judy Walker

    I never question where my instinct and passion takes me.  This is how TOPS Malibu was born.

     In the 1980s, I asked my then husband, actor Robert Walker, while he lay on the sand in Malibu…

    “Do you want to start a gallery?” 

    “Sure,” he said. 

    “Really?” …

    We chose functional art made by quirky artist friends, and sold them to an entertainment industry clientele. Word spread. 

     Our first hit product was the sterling silver bubbler necklace which Madonna blew at concerts and Larry Hagman shared on Johnny Carson.

    The next hit came as a  fleeting thought in the bathtub -a candle with a fortune capsule with message, charms and gems hidden inside. We named them Good Fortune Candles® and they were an instant success, picked up by Henri Bendel NY and Neiman Marcus. They had elements of intrigue, naughtiness (playing with wax), finding fortune and surprise. All fortunes pertained to following your intuition and watch the wonderful doors that open for you. 

    I loved hearing my customers’ stories. TOPS had designed a surprising, fun, memorable experience and a huge hit! 

    Trends fade and the concept was copied in China.

    I had to come up with a new experience to make memories. 

     Surprise balls! – a 1950’s tradition.  Unwind the ball of multicolor crepe ribbon to find  gifts hidden in each layer. They were loved by adults and kids, from a formal White House inauguration party to kids’ birthday parties.

    As people became more interested in spirit, intuition  & most importantly connection, I  designed games: tea leaf reading with a dictionary of symbols and  conversation games to spark people’s interest in each other, piñatas and number sparklers etc 

    Fond Memories linger which is why now the children of our original customers are also buying TOPS Malibu for their families.

    To this day,  we are having fun and  continue to make our product by artisans in the USA. 

    Thank you

    Judy Walker 
    Founder, Designer, CEO TOPS Malibu

     

    The Story of Surprize Balls - A tale of spontaneity, synchronicity and smiles!

    TOPS Malibu believes in bringing people together through the art of surprise and the sharing of wonderment. We design games & activities that encourage spontaneity, intuition, and interaction - providing great memories for all ...and that's what a Surprize Ball offers!


    Similar to the original 1950s version, our Surprize Balls are created from approximately 100 feet of colorfully changing crepe paper ribbon with lots of hidden treasures. As the crepe Ball unravels, surprises and gifts spill out of each layer.

    We're always on the hunt for vintage-style toys, charms, candies and more new prizes that'll please both adults & kids alike. Each Surprize Ball is uniquely handmade with varying prizes, so you never know what fun you might unravel!

    Early History of Surprise Balls:
    The earliest evidence of Surprise Balls was found in Native American culture. Traditionally, it was a common practice to tell the history of one's life with a unique Ball of twigs, grass, string, etc. where the first layer represented birth and for significant events in life, another layer and memento was added. Surprise Balls in Native American culture represented a person's entire life.

    Then, In the 1950s:
    Surprise Balls became vogue in Mid-America when a gent named Charles Gregor in New Orleans created, "The Surprise Ball: The Toy You Destroy to Enjoy." The Surprise Ball soon made its appearance in FAO Schwarz, Mayo Clinic, The Children's Hospital in Minnesota, Ben Franklin Crafts, and The Nut Tree near San Francisco.

    Eventually, the trend stopped as trends tend to do. There were a few Surprise Balls made in Japan. Many of these had a hard plastic Ball in the center filled with toys without the colorful fun paper layers.

    Judy Walker of TOPS Malibu Brings the Surprise Balls Back!
    In the 1980s, Judy Walker, Founder of TOPS Malibu, remembered Surprise Balls from her childhood. Having grown up curious by nature, she loved infusing play into every moment and as an adult, continued to create memorable moments for her clients similar to the carnivals she once planned for the neighborhood kids during her youth. She began to collect original trinkets & surprises, like Fortune Fish and vintage toys, then wrapped them into colorful crepe paper to create the TOPS Malibu Surprize Ball, which is now loved by people of all ages and for every sort of occasion.