Last week I wrote a post about my very excellent night out with JC Jung of Globe Trotoys, Manuel Torres of Nickelodeon and Gerrick Johnson of BMO Capital. It was wonderful getting out with such highly intelligent people. We had a great conversation about the toy industry, did some laughing, had some excellent food and drank various forms of alcohol. We are making this a regular night out and will be selecting guests to join us.
As a result of that article, we received comments from Mary Couzin in Chicago; Michelle Spelman in Cincinnati and Gwen Austin in Denver. It seems that these cities have active toy industry social groups that get together on a regular basis. I understand that Los Angeles does as well. I thought their comments so important that I decided to write a posting to showcase them:
Mary Couzin and the Chicago crowd have been arranging toy industry get togethers for a while now. Mary wrote in to the comments section to tell us how they do it in Chicago:
We started our get-togethers 3 years ago and now usually draw over 40 people each month and usually from at least 4 states. We've also tied it to a visit with a toy/game store, so we spend an hour at the toy/game store and then move onto a close pub or restaurant. Last week we had 50 people starting at Marbles: The Brain Store (the founders, Scott and Lindsay, gave a warm welcome to us) and then shut down Flemings Steakhouse at 11:15 pm.
There is nothing like face-to-face communication. Many ideas/partnerships/friendships have evolved over the years. There are groups in Cincinnati, Denver and LA. I hope they post their details.
In turn, Michelle Spelman wrote in to tell us about how they get together in Cincinnati:
Cincinnati has a lively and engaged presence in the toy industry as evidenced by The Cincinnati Game & Toy Industry Professionals group. Celebrating its 2-year anniversary this month, we meet quarterly for breakfast and professional development programming.
The group lives primarily on LinkedIn and our discussion board is full of interesting information and conversations. We have over 250 members working in nearly every capacity across the industry and across the world, from global brands to local startups. Nearly all our members have a
connection to the Greater Cincinnati region – either they are from here, are here currently, worked here in the past, or received their education here. The region is a hotbed of toy talent. 🙂
Also, see what we're up to and join the group on LinkedIn by clicking here.
As I mentioned, we do include light programming at our breakfast events. Speakers have covered topics including intellectual property issues, business development, raising capital, and professional toy inventing. Future programming topics are in development. If you or someone you know would like to present at one of our events, please contact me for consideration.
We also publish an annual Holiday Gift Guide that features toys and games – both iconic evergreen and new releases currently available on store shelves – that have been invented, developed, or otherwise touched by Cincinnati toymakers in some way. Last year's gift guide featured over 30 products.
Gwen Austin Owner, RC ART TOYS, wrote in to tell us about Denver:
Inspired by Mary, I am trying to get a similar group started here in Denver, CO. If you are in the Denver area and are interested in getting together, come find the group on LinkedIn: Click here.
If you are putting on a toy industry get together in your area or want to start a group, please write in and let us know.