It’s an exciting time for the inventor community, the 2022 People of Play Inventor Conference is not only back in person but has had a total overhaul in location.Â Karri Bean, a Senior Licensing Manager for Disney and People of Play Advisory Board Member was kind enough to answer some questions about the upcoming event.
Tami: Â Hi Karri!Â Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about the 2022 POP Inventor’s Conference.Â For those who don’t know you, can you tell us a bit about you and how you are involved with POP and the Inventor’s Conference?
Karri: I have been working in the toy industry since 2007. I started my career at Hasbro and felt like the luckiest person alive on my first day there.Â Since then I’ve held different positions within Hasbro, I spent a few years at Spin Master building their games business, and then finally â€“ I’ve been working with Disney Consumer Products for the past 8 years managing our global LEGO business.Â I also do product acquisitions within Disney now (I guess I felt like I didn’t have enough to do).Â Â I absolutely LOVE my job at Disney.Â A few years ago Peter Kristoffy recommended me to Mary Couzin for a seat on the advisory board.Â Â Within a year I became board chair and host of the TAGIE awards!
While working at Hasbro and Spin, I was exposed to CHITAG and loved everything about the fair and MARY!!!Â I also fell in love with the inventors (don’t tell them that though LOL)Â and the ideas they bring to life to create so many memories and special moments for kids and families.
Tami: The conference has been virtual for the last two years and this year is coming back IRL,Â the different events that make up the conference appear to be the same as the previous years but the locations have gotten a total overhaul and feel fresh, can you tell us about the events and all the exciting changes we can expect this year?
Karri: I am SO EXCITED about the events this year!Â As we start to get back to in-person, the events’ vibe is so electric!Â POP can’t wait to get everyone back together.Â POP feels like a familyâ€¦.doesn’t matter how long you’ve been apart, the distance, etc., you still feel like you’re coming home.Â We’ve had so many new and exciting events over the past few years.Â Virtual Pub events, the Virtual TAGIES, and this year our PR & Marketing events which were a hit!Â Â In November we are all coming back together in one hotel â€“ going from suite to suite to meet with each other and the TAGIES are being held in an AHHHHHH—MAZZZZZING location â€“ The Epiphany Hall and Catacombs!Â It’s beautiful, and intimate and will be the perfect venue for all of us to come together to celebrate our accomplishments.Â If you’re not here this year, you are really going to miss out!!!Â TAGIES will be bigger and better than ever.Â When you attend the TAGIES â€“ I want everyone to feel immersed in the awards show and engaged so we are planning some real magical moments!
And the toy fair this yearâ€¦don’t even get me startedâ€¦.now AT THE ROSEMONT CONVENTION CENTERÂ and bringing together CHOCOLATE AND TOYS!!!Â It’s a dream come true!!!!Â I think this year is really going to take us to that next level.Â Â We’ve invited the Boy and Girl Scouts to the fair for a MASSIVE sleepoverâ€¦and We are looking at some exciting new partnerships in the future that I can’t wait to tell you about!
Tami: Â I’ve always liked how POP is welcoming to inventors of all levels of experience and has a real community feel, can you share with us what makes it so special and how the events are tailored to an inventor’s experience and the path they decide to use to get their invention to the retail shelves (license or self publish)?
Karri: What I think makes POP special are the relationships everyone has built over the years and the amazing work Mary has done to bring everyone together.Â Â I’ve never experienced such a warm, positive atmosphere where you feel supported and valued.Â People are there to help you and truly want to make a difference.Â Its amazing when you get access to the best in the industry!!!Â With that access comes knowledge, connections, the power to make your idea come to lifeâ€¦manufacturing advice, design adviceâ€¦the best minds in the toy industry are in spot and full of knowledge to take you and your invention to the right licensor or the right retailer!!!
Tami:Â What advice would you give both inventors and licensing agents who attend the conference so they can make the most of the event?
Karri: ATTEND EVERY EVENTâ€¦network, network, network.Â Say hi to strangers, strike up a conversation, you NEVER know what type of relationship or connection you’re going to develop and GET INVOLVED!!!Â The doors POP opens are incredible!!! This organization could be what you TRULY need to get your invention off the ground or get the break you’ve been looking for.Â Multiple minds are better than one.Â This is a tribeâ€¦.and you can find your people and it will be the most exciting thing you can do.
Tami: What exciting things can we expect from this year’s TAGIE Awards?
Karri: OMG..Me of course!!!Â LOL I’m just kiddingâ€¦.My dress contests are always a ton of fun and people look forward to what I’m going to wear (at least I think some people do â€“ maybe its just meâ€¦and Maryâ€¦oh and Phil Jackson!) perhaps this is all in my own head.Â But we have some EXCITING things planned and we want to come back bigger and better than ever.Â We have to top a rocket flying across the audiences headâ€¦or me being taken by balloons or Robert Victor inventing a time warp.Â All I can say is that everyone better BUCKLE UP, dust off that 1980’s tuxedo, wear your best dress and get your hair did cause its going to be a blast!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU TAMI for this interview!!!Â I so appreciate you encouraging me to have a voice and to promote an organization I love so much!!!!
CAN’T WAIT TO SEE EVERYONE AT THE TAGIES AND POP WEEK!!!!!