Tim Walsh of Roo Games - Focus on the Journey
How did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
I began my toy career at Patch Products (now PlayMonster) as its VP of Product Development & Marketing in 1992 and was instrumental in taking that company from $3 million in sales to over $23 million in 7 years. My game designs and co-designs for that company included TriBond, Blurt, Mad Gab, ’N Sync Backstage Pass, and others.
What are you working on now?
I just co-founded a new game company called Roo Games. 4 years ago, Dennis Callaghan and I founded a game company called Getta1Games, which is doing well overseas. We are in 12 countries, with strong sales, but we we struggled in the US. So this year we took our 6 best-selling games and re-branded them and founded Roo Games. We hired a fresh new team, a new warehouse, and started shipping June 1st.
I understand most of your team is from Australia, hence the Roo Games name, right?
Yes, our CFO is Dennis Callaghan, who is from Sydney, and his daughter, Chris is our new Sales Director. Chris comes from a toy licensing background, having previously worked for brands like Star Wars, Hello Kitty, LEGO, and Smurfs. Prior to joining Roo Games, she spent four years in the beauty industry working with brands like Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, and Shiseido. She’s great at sales and brings an infectious enthusiasm to the team.
We’ve also partnered with Learning Advantage. They are an Aussie-owned distributor that will act our warehouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They will distribute Roo Games along with Wild Science. Wild Science is a science kit brand co-founded by Dennis and and his wife, Crystal Callaghan. It’s in over 25 countries. Finally our Office Manager, Pam Quinn, is a true Aussie and just great fun!
So you’re the only American on the Roo Games team?
No, we’ve got two “Yanks,” as Americans are called Down Under, myself and our Creative and Marketing Director, Scott Brown. Scott is also a co-founder of Roo and before that, was the co-founder of Marbles the Brain Store. That was a retail chain of 40 stores that offered high-quality games and playthings that Scott curated for 9 years. Marbles the Brain Store assets were sold to Spin Master in 2017 and Scott worked as the VP of the Marbles brand at Spin for another 2 years before joining us at Roo Games. Scott has got a great eye for product and is one of the most creative toy people I know. Plus he gives Roo Games a critical perspective as a former retailer.
What’s the Roo Games line like?
We’ve got Doggy Bags (tactile learning), Feed Fuzzy (counting/color learning), and Bull’s Eye (fine/gross motor skills/visual recognition). For older kids and families, there’s Quick Chess, which has been on the market for over 25 years. You’ve Been Framed is the addictive spatial reasoning and pattern matching game and our newest game, KLOAK is an all wooden strategy game that’s a cross between the shell game and tic tac toe. Since Dennis and Crystal own the factory, we make really high-quality games.
What advice would you give a young adult graduating from high school or college today?
The pursuit of a worthwhile goal is way better than achieving it. If you focus on the journey, you’ll have a meaningful career. If you focus only on the goals, you’re setting yourself up for perpetual disappointment.
Do you have a typical work day and how does it play out for you?
No, I like to mix it up. I work on the Roo Games line, but also make YouTube videos that celebrate toy and game designers, book speaking engagements, etc.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Creating products that people use to connect to others. It’s so easy for people to be divided. Play connect us.
What was your favorite toy or game as a child?
Impossible to narrow down, but Wiffle Ball, Big Wheel, Super Ball were top three!
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
I use OmniFocus for my schedule and TODOs and that’s indispensable.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
For Father’s Day, my wife and daughter took me out to dinner and then we came home and watched CHEER on Netflix.
What is the last time you did something for the first time?
I watched CHEER on Netflix.
Everything would be different if…
Everyone played more with people who think and look differently than they do.
The toy and game industry clearly has….
Given me some of my best friends and best memories.
I’m lucky that….
I get to be a play advocate.