Toy Week in Chicago

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The important series of toy industry events that took place in Chicago last week had no overarching name, so at least for this posting; let’s call them "Toy Week in Chicago."  The week, put on by Mary Couzin and her hard working volunteers consisted of:  The T&G Inventor Con, the TAGIE Awards, the Social Media & Play Conference and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.  Any one of these events would be notable on its own but put together over the span of four days; they made for a rare toy industry experience.

This is the only event in the world, to my knowledge, in which those starting out have the opportunity to meet and socialize with those who are experts in their field.  The ambient feeling that pervaded all events can best be summed up in an email I received from someone who came a very (and I mean very) long way to attend: 

From the moment I arrived I felt that I was being embraced by welcoming arms.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and now plan to attend every year.  The people that I met were all so lovely and so interesting; I know I have made lifelong friendships with so many people, thanks to yourself and Mary.  Mary is such a darling Lady, I have great respect for her and all that she has done to make such a truly amazing Conference be so much fun and be so successful.

So, if you did not attend, think long and hard about doing so next year.  And, I suggest that you sign up early.  Based upon what I saw, I believe some of these are going to sell out.

So let me join the writer in thanking Mary Couzin, Tim Walsh, Anita Daniel, Mary Kay Russell and Nate Scheidler Jason Pine, Brian Torney, Gina Manola, Pat Matthews,  Jill Moore, Tracy Dudkiewicz, Catherine McMillan, Peggy Brown, Tanya Thompson, Kim Vandenbroucke, Mike Hirtle, Richard Gill and last but not least Alan Hassenfeld for a great week.

6 thoughts

  1. I have to agree with all the above post, the conference exceeded every expectation I could have ever had. So much great information, meeting so many wonderful people and it was just and overall great experience! Thanks Mary for all your hard work and to the rest of the staff I take my hat off to all of you! Well done!
    P.S Thanks to all the industry proffesionals who took time out of their busy schedules to come and meet with us inspiring inventors, I think I can speak for most of us in the group when I say a sincere Thanks!

  2. I concur with ALL the above comments about the success of the ChiTAG conference. I had few expectations and was blown away by the information, sharing of expert opinions, and relationships I made in such a short time. We new “inventors” (LOVE that word!) all came with the same creative ‘”dreamer” mindset and were not disappointed.
    It was fascinating to learn the history of toys, meet the creators, and get a feel for the toy industry. The PROS were amazingly humble I thought! Thanks to all who helped put this event on. I’ll be there next year for sure!

  3. Richard, Richard Gill is spot on, you should be included in the group hug! Thank you for being a supporter and sharing the vision since the early years.
    It takes many people (and some key people such as those listed here as well as our many sponsors) and a lot of faith to make these events come together the way they do each year.
    With Appreciation,
    Mary

  4. Every year keeps getting better and better. Many commented that they wish they had attended “both Saturday and Sunday”…an awesome toy fair event as always! Hats off to Mary Couzin for her continued passion and dedication.

  5. Richard – thank you for your kind words for the various teams of people involved – the one person you forgot to include was yourself!! You have been a stalwart supporter since the early days and we thank you for all your efforts to promote the multiple events and your contributions through out!!
    Hail to Mary our leader but also kudos to everyone in the industry who supports her efforts along the way – we still have a long way to go so keep up all the good work and thank you!!

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