The Friday Five: Gary Darna

The Friday Five: Gary Darna

CompleteSet is a web-based application that allows collectors to keep track of what they have and identify new items to add to their collection. It’s a peer-to-peer marketplace that is part encyclopedia, part catalogue. CompleteSet is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO, Gary Darna. A collector himself, Gary seized the opportunity to turn his hobby into a career by filling a gap he saw in the marketplace. In doing so, he created a must-have resource for collectors.

CompleteSet was profiled on Toy Tales in 2015. How has the company evolved since that time?

A lot has changed. Last year I participated in Techstars Chicago, a nationally-ranked start-up accelerator program. I temporarily relocated from Cincinnati to Chicago for the program and spent three months being mentored by founders of successful technology companies. It was an incredible experience. The program receives thousands of applications but only 10 companies gain acceptance. The program helped us raise $1.3 million in venture capital.

Since 2015, we’ve also developed iPhone and Android apps for CompleteSet and we’ve hired a number of new staff. We’ve seen a lot of growth over the past few years.

The Friday Five

How many collectibles are catalogued within CompleteSet?

We have about 295 different brands in our catalogue, which translates to about 100,000 individual items. A few of the brands on the site include Star Wars, Star Trek, Easy-Bake Oven, FunKo Pop!, Marvel, DC Comics, and more. The site grows every day.

The Friday Five

What trends have you seen develop within CompleteSet?

FunKo Pop! has really taken off. It’s very popular. It may very well be the next Beanie Babies, for better or for worse. I think FunKo Pop! will have more staying power because they capitalize on what’s hot in movies and pop culture at any given time.

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Tell me about your personal collection.

I collect a few brands. I have over 1,000 pieces in my Star Wars collection, which I started in 1995 after watching The Empire Strikes back for the first time. It played on VHS at my daycare. I always became upset with my mom when she picked me up before the movie had finished. I was a bit obsessed.

I also have a small collection of Ghostbusters memorabilia and an ever-changing collection of Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts. I had over 300 shirts at one point. I parted with a few, some I wore out, and I continue to purchase new shirts.

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What’s next for CompleteSet?

CompleteSet is a continuous work-in-progress; we will never become stale. We add more features to the site and to our apps on a regular basis. New collectables are added to the site daily. I don’t want to let the proverbial cat out of the bag so I can’t divulge what’s on our roadmap but I can tell you that engaging our community of collectors is always our first priority.

The Friday Five

Be warned: you could lose a significant amount of time perusing completeset.com. If you’re a collector, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Five questions, one fascinating person – look into the minds of movers and shakers in the nostalgia, game, play, or toy industry.