Toy Stories is a six-episode podcast mini-series debuting on March 22, 2022. New episodes will drop every other Tuesday and are available wherever you get your podcasts. We talked with both veteran and new members of the toy and game industry about heavy subjects such as race, failure, and quitting jobs as well as lighter subjects such as family, inventing, and of course games!

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TOY STORIES Podcast Mini-Series can be found here

Mini-Series Trailer

From behind the scenes of the toy industry, our co-hosts share the stories and introduce us to the people that have captured their attention over the years. Featuring: Mary Couzin of People of Play, Rena Nathanson of Bananagrams, Steve Mark & Kevin Carroll of Tenzi, Ahren Hoffman of Crazy Aaron’s, Eric Poses of All Things Equal, Ryan Hogan & Derrick Smith of Hunt A Killer, Daedrea Fenwick of Kulture Karaoke, and Amanda Wilson of A+X Puzzles.

Episode 1: Why We Play

Kevin Carroll and Steve Mark of Tenzi and Certified Play Expert, Ahren Hoffman of Crazy Aaron’s help us explore the psychology and physiology of why we want to play games and what keeps us coming back. Tune in to find out what Shigeru Miyamoto has in common with a fast-paced dice rolling game.

Episode 2: Little Black Squares

Join us as we talk to two Black women business owners about how they got started, being Black business owners in the toy and game industry, and their fast track from start-up to Target shelves. Don’t miss our fascinating conversation with Daedrea Fenwick of Kulture Karaoke whose business literally started in a car while on the way to her birthday party and Amanda Wilson, Mom to twins, who took matters into her own hands when she couldn’t find representative products for her kids. 

Episode 3: Fail Again, Fail Better

How did the Walking Dead and running from zombies play a part in the success of the game Hunt A Killer? Ryan Hogan and Derrick Smith, co-founders of Hunt A Killer, discuss the lessons they learned from past failures that led them to the success they are seeing now.

Episode 4: My Journey On My Terms

The always entertaining Eric Poses, owner of All Things Equal, discusses being a one-man operation and carving a path in his business life that allows him to place what he values in the forefront.  During and post Covid lockdown, many people began evaluating their work life in the same terms Eric always has.  Ryan Stelzer of Strategy of mind joins us to discuss this awakening of a segment of the workforce.

Episode 5: The Top Banana

Listen in as we talk about Dads and visit with the Top Banana at Bananagrams, Rena Nathanson.  Rena chats about the founder of the company, her Dad, Abe Nathanson.  From childhood through growing a business as partners, theirs was a wonderful, heartwarming journey.  

Episode 6: Finding the Secret Sauce

In the final episode of Season 1, we chat with industry favorite, Mary Couzin, founder of People of Play.  We talk with Mary about how she found her way into the toy industry and how she eventually became a leader in creating a community for inventors.  We talk about games and ask Mary if her years of experience have revealed a secret sauce for success.  Also, we ask Mary a question she’s never been asked before.  Listen in to hear the daring question and more.   

Thank you for listening and believing that without play, the game of life is just a bunch of rules.

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