News & Interviews

Over 400 Interviews, Articles and Stories! Over 350 authors! 5 Newsletters!

Newsletters for industry, consumers, social media influencers and educators cover many aspects of play and

the interesting stories behind the playthings we love! 

Our newest project to celebrate the People of Play to go live soon! Read all about it HERE.  

To receive one of our newsletters, go here: http://www.chitag.com/get-the-newsletter

Business of Play News

Industry News - interviews, news, information about get-togethers we're hosting and more.

Importance of Play News

For consumers and anyone interested in toys and games and 

meeting the people behind the the products.

 

Legends and Legacies Profiles

There are many great stories and then there are those which are EPIC! 

ChiTAG White Papers

Interested in getting into the toy and game industry?

Our Inventor & Innovation Conferences Experts weigh in on industry topics. 

Jim McCafferty: EMPATHY WITHIN THE TOY INDUSTRY - tBR Person of the Week

Empathy is a powerful tool across numerous industries. And particularly in the toy business! Is it fair to assume toy companies leverage their power while making too much money? Is it fair to believe inventors make too much money while getting off the hook so easily? Is it fair to assert that retailers have unrealistic margin requirements, making it difficult for companies to invest in new opportunities? This feels like a Freaky Friday moment, right? Toy companies fail to appreciate how difficult it is to be an inventor. When inventors submit a product idea, the toy company representative says, “Hmm, I love it, but we just don’t have a brand which fits your invention. We must pass on this on

Matt Nuccio: “The other Italian family business” - tBR Person of the Week

I was fortunate to grow up in the toy business before it became the industry it is today. My father, Mark Nuccio, started his career as a paste-up mechanical artist working with Ideal Toys and Aurora before eventually becoming the vice president in charge of product development, packaging, and marketing at HG Toys. As a teenager, my parents started Design Edge out of the family garage on Long Island in New York. It was a family affair. My mother, in a leap of faith, left her art-teaching career behind to focus on illustration. My sister, at the time, a freshman at the School of Visual Arts took a semester off to help get Design Edge off the ground. I was a 14-year-old and drafted from day on

Jacqueline Vong Answers Richard Highfield's Comments on her East Meets West. Where are we going

I am excited to see a healthy amount of debate and reflection given to my op-ed in the Bloom Report. With the upmost respect to my UK colleague, I would like to address the points of Mr. Highfield’s rebuttal. I stand by my op-ed conclusion that there will be a shift of prominence from Hong Kong into Shenzhen. It was with a heavy heart I proposed such a dramatic change however, both my experiences and extensive research informed this perspective. The violent police response to the protests from last year have caused damage to several areas forcing shops, restaurants and formerly resilient companies to be boarded up or close down. Specifically, within the areas that Mr. Highfield highlighted,

Gray Matters Games: HOW A ROAD TRIP AND GOOGLE SEARCH STARTED A GAME COMPANY - tBR Company of the We

HOW A ROAD TRIP AND GOOGLE SEARCH STARTED A GAME COMPANY Gray Matters Games started on a family road trip when co-founder, Joe Barron, had a car full of passengers to entertain and whipped up a trivia-based game with a Name That Tune betting twist. After a year of testing it with friends and family, the initial concept for the company's first game, You Bet-Cha!, was born. Now all Joe and his co-founder (and also wife) Lauren needed to figure out was how to publish a board game with no previous industry experience. Enter...the Google search. Lauren started with a search for “game designer Chicago,” and the third entry down was a company called Idea Monster headed by Luis Diaz. Little did the

Tom Rushton: If You Think Adventure is Dangerous; Try Routine...- tBR Person of the Week!

(One of Tom's favorite clients paying close attention as usual. Meet Oliver the Rushton family Potbelly Pig!) My name is Tom Rushton, as you can probably see from the title of Mary's article in this edition of The Bloom Report. When Mary contacted me about this, I was pretty surprised...in a good way. I had seen other "Toy People" featured and it's always really cool when you click on The Bloom Report and are able to call out, "Hey I know him/her!"...recently that's included our friends, Lisa Orman, Dee Farrell, et al. So, my first question was, as most of yours, may be as well - How did I get recognized as a "Person of the Week"? No matter, when Mary reaches out to let you know that you

CHITAG REBRANDS AS PEOPLE OF PLAY (POP) AND ANNOUNCES WEEK OF VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING TO KICK-OFF THE 2

Press Contact: Emily Blosser | emily@brilliantprm.com | 404.434.2103 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THE CHICAGO TOY & GAME GROUP REBRANDS AS PEOPLE OF PLAY (POP) AND ANNOUNCES WEEK OF VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING TO KICK-OFF THE 2020 HOLIDAY SEASON CHICAGO, IL (August 19, 2020) -- The Chicago Toy & Game Group (CHITAG), the organization known for championing toy and game innovators around the world and celebrating their achievements at iconic industry events including CHITAG Week, the Innovation Conferences, the Young Inventor Challenge and the Toy & Game International Excellence Awards, is rebranding under the name People of Play (POP). Led by Mary Couzin who founded the Chicago Toy & Game Group in 2003, Peop

Richard Highfield of Surprise Marketing Ltd replies to Jacqueline Vong's Op-ed article East Meet

Mary, I refer to last week’s article by Jacqueline Vong that may confuse or even dismay many international readers of The Bloom Report, though it does seem to have some credibility and states some obvious factors. While the talented Miss Vong does convey the both sides of the story in the ever-changing toy business we love, the international toy community is surely years way away from removing the long-standing Hong Kong Toy Fair to mainland China. I am sure the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council feel much the same way after putting on a wonderful show for so many years. To remind her, there are over 2,000 global exhibitors, not all local and more than 40,000 visitors. Is Miss Vong awar

Steve Rad of Abacus Brands: When learning goes virtual in a “New Norm” tBR Company of the Week

During these times, when the entire world is suffering and trying to survive a pandemic, we find ourselves at the doors of change of epic proportions. Children worldwide are affected. Many of the simple activities children took for granted are no longer available to them. They may no longer socialize and play the way they used to. Their daily activities must now be carried out with the greatest precautions. Many activities such as sports and lessons are even denied. I would think that the most worrying for parents and children is the fact that school and education have been turned upside down. Families and caretakers are asked to look for alternatives for education as the local government

Emile Kalis on Moving Back to the Netherlands and More!

(Emile Kalis, Tom Selleck (yes, that Tom Selleck), Tom Rushton at a Seahawks game against the Panthers) MC: Emile, to begin with, I heard you relocated from the US to the Netherlands? EK: Yes, I did. Recently I moved back from the Seattle area to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with my wife Alice and my two sons Maas and Cameron. Would you like to know why, Mary? MC: Yes, I do! EK: Back in 2014 Identity Games started the distribution of Find It games in the US, out of our small office. The Find It office was in Monroe, close to Seattle, that’s why we ended up over there. The idea was to create new brands around Find It games and to sell those brands directly into retail. Last year, even before

Jacqueline Vong - East Meets West. Where are we going from here? tBR Person of the Week

Where are we going from here? In September 2019 – a small group of individuals including Josh Punin of Trade Asia Pacific Toys were trying to organize to move the Hong Kong toy show to Shenzhen because of the unrest of protests in the predominant area of Tsim Sha Tsiu which is known as a major toy district. There was a small amount of interest from European companies, and Hong Kong and China related toy companies but the January toy fair in Hong Kong still went on and while certain things remained the same, you can say other things were different. Everything seemed much quieter especially in the Wan Chai convention center. The streets were dusty from the damage from the protests. Some ma

Heather Welch - International Branding, Development and Play, Play, Play

What do you do in the industry? My role as Global Brand Lead for Edx Education is to bring educational, playful products to the moms, dads and caregivers across the world who are looking for purposeful playthings to help their child skill-build. Where were you born? Australia, along with a twin brother. (Heather working along side my twin brother David at a toy fair) How did you get started in the industry? I’m what you would call a global citizen. Born in Australia, I was working as a business management teacher in Singapore before I joined Edx Education in Dubai. Interesting about this opportunity was the growth factor. Outside of the U.S., the types of playthings Edx Education offers were

Glenn Drover of Forbidden Games - the Journey: tBR Company of the Week

Currently I am President of Forbidden Games, but my journey in the games/toy space started in 1990 when I was hired by MicroProse, a pioneer in the PC/ Video game industry. My entry-level job was district sales manager for the Midwest based out of Chicago. I was responsible for calling on regional game stores and distributors who sold our games. I was thrilled as I was a huge fan of the company’s products, and a devoted gamer. Scoring an entry-level job on the business side was not exactly in line with my game-designer dreams, but I was ‘in’, and anything seemed possible from there. As the video game industry grew quickly in the 90’s from being predominantly populated by small fanboy compani

Brenda Tamburo Andolina – Necessity IS the Motherlode of Invention: tBR Person of the Week

(Brenda Tamburo Andolina – connector of people and ideas) Plato, you were so right. Have you been able to stop for a minute to take in what’s happened to your life? Your career? Your grooming? While we’ve moved from hovering to hunkering to hanging – things, lots of things, have changed everywhere. Maybe you’ve lost some customers or a wonderful project you were working on evaporated overnight. And, if you’ve been downsized or furloughed from “work” (the old type, in an office, with less snacking and no kids), you now have no rules. Feel off-kilter? That’s entirely understandable in this window. But think about this: In your lifetime, there’ll be a handful of occasions when you will need to

Harrison Brooks on ElevatorUp: Kid-invented, Kid-designed, Kid-marketed, Kid-shipped and Kid-loved!

What exactly do you do in the industry? I am CEO (Chief Elevator Officer) of ElevatorUp, a brand new card game. I am the only employee, so I do the designing, marketing, shipping, and everything else. What is ElevatorUp? ElevatorUp is a kid-invented, kid-designed, kid-marketed, kid-shipped, and kid-loved, (and, yes, the same kid) card game. It is easy to learn, moves at a fast pace, and never gets old. The goal is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards. Higher Floor Cards can be played on top of lower floors. As the elevator rises to the Penthouse, special cards can make players Stuck, send you back Down to the Lobby, have the Doors Closed on you, or even start a brand New Build

Allen Wolf - You’re Pulling My Leg!

What exactly do you do in the industry? I’m a game creator and I own Morning Star Games that manufactures family and party games. I created You’re Pulling My Leg, You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior, JabberJot, Pet Detectives, and Slap Wacky. What is your claim to fame in the industry? I’ve won 38 awards for the games I’ve created. Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry? I created my first game, You’re Pulling My Leg!, as a gift for two friends who were dating each other. It worked so well they got married! I gave out prototypes of the game to other friends who suggested I mass produce the game so I did. Then I created four more that were sold all over the world. What are you worki

Casey Karls, Co-Pilot of Wilder Games on Impractical Jokers and More!

What advice can you give to young entrepreneurs who are working on a new toy or game idea? More than anything, you need to be relentless. Don't get caught up in the obstacles in front of you. You have to find a way around them. Most things aren't impossible, listen to yourself and carry on. What was your life like growing up and how did that influence who you are today? Our family is wild. Growing up we were never allowed to go on vacations with our cousins because our parents were worried we would all get arrested. Not for anything really bad or illegal, but because we would do ridiculous things together like pranking strangers, jumping off rooftops, or hamburger eating competitions. Each o

Ishkabibbles - Just for Fun!  

Play in Education News

For educators, librarians, homeschooling families and parents

who are interested in using play to aid learning.

ChiTAG Group Media Reach:

​Newsletters Email Subscribers

All Industry 40,000+

Educator 135,0000+

Inventor 15,000+

Consumer 15,000+

Blogger, Social Media Influencer 5,500+ email; 6,500+ handles

Scouts (Boy & Girl) 2,100+

Media List 7,500+

Combined Direct Newsletter Reach 220,000

Newsletter, In-Person and Social Media Reach

Newsletters 217,000

Postal Mail Addresses All Industry 33,000+

Twitter ChiTAGWeek 15,600+

Facebook ChiTAGWeek 6,300+

Facebook Mary Couzin 1,800+

Instagram ChiTAGWeek 1,600+

Pinterest ChiTAGWeek 370+

Pinterest Mary Couzin/Chicago Toy & Game Fair 1,900+

LinkedIn Toy, Game, Play Innovators Group 3,000+

LinkedIn Mary Couzin 18,500+

Events Attendance 35,000+

ChiTAG Group Reach 325,000+