I'm a networky person. I love putting people together and I've been accused of hosting the November Chicago events (ChiTAG, TAGIE Conference and TAGI Awards) to do just that. The TAGIE Conference alone has almost 50 speakers because they are there as much for the networking with one another as for discovering new products from the attendees. It is so important to them that we have a waiting list, don’t pay our speakers and many pay to be there.
The NY, Hong Kong, London, Nurnberg, Essen and other Fairs are great opps to network. During the past NY Toy Fair, I hosted a get-together that had about 400 people stop in throughout the night. Why do so many people come? Because they want to be with one another. And now I am excited to be a part of a committee planning another networking event – the TIA ToyCon, which is great networking opportunity that takes place in May in Arizona.
You don’t have to travel to network. You can network locally. In Chicago, we have a networking group that meets once a month March through October (November – February are show months with people travelling). Between 10 and 20 people turn out from all walks of the industry (inventors, manufacturers, designers, etc.). It is casual with no agenda and everyone pays for whatever they eat or drink. We've had out-of-towner guests on occasion like Lisa Guili from Educational Insights in CA (she's coming back in August and bringing her colleague Riley Wilkinson) and this month (6/22) we have Jay Esser from JAYZ Int'l, a New Zealand importer and distributor.
It would be great to have networking groups in cities or regions across the country as well as overseas. If anyone is part of one, please post your group here so others know about it.
If you are going to be in Chicago, we welcome you to our group (dates are posted on LinkedIn or contact me). Be prepared to laugh as well as share information… face-to-face.
Special thanks to Colleen McCarthy-Evans for pics!