Nine years ago, Art of Play was a side project to Dan & Dave, an online shop for magicians. We offered self-produced instructional books and DVDs on sleight of hand and cardistry, bespoke apparatus, and luxurious playing cards for performing magicians. When playing card sales on Dan & Dave began dominating sales of everything else, we recognized this is what our customers wanted. But instead of just saturating our catalog with every deck on the market, which would diminish the reputation and integrity of our brand, we imagined an independent shop for playing cards and only playing cards.
On August 13, 2013, we launched Art of Play with over a hundred different decks, which was incomparable at the time. It was a brilliant idea, but sales suggested otherwise. And it was disheartening to watch a few orders trickle in now and then. But we never gave up.
Art of Play was a fantastic resource for playing card enthusiasts, something that didn’t exist at the time. As a playing card shop, we peaked with close to 300 decks available in our catalog. As our popularity and sales increased, other card shops opened their doors. The competition challenged us to think anew.
Ultimately, we followed our passion. We separated away from selling magic tricks—the basis for everything we had created up to that point—and downsized Dan & Dave so that we could focus on building our dream company.
We hired amazing people, such as Syd Segal, Justin Buck (our brother), Adam Rubin, Jen Hassen, Cece Do, and Adam Davis, to name some of our early team members. And between us, Art of Play’s reputation evolved from a boutique playing card shop to a world-class wonder emporium offering an insurmountable collection of curiosities—a place to discover magic. And it feels like we’re only just beginning.
We love that playing cards are the foundation of this company. We play with cards every day. We think with cards. And so Art of Play is, really, a house of cards, but a magical house where dreams come true. How else can we explain our collaboration with the Eames Office on a brand of cards we imagined 20 years ago in high school? How else can we explain an upcoming partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in light of our lifelong fascination with architecture? How else can we explain the opportunity to work with legendary designer Paula Scher on a deck of playing cards?
With overwhelming gratitude, this is your house too.