The Toy Coach Azhelle Wade and Learning Express Toys Lake Zurich have partnered to host 10 aspiring toy creators in the Toy Creators Academy.
Toy Creators Academy is the a comprehensive toy business program that teaches participants how to full develop their toy or game ideas, as well as pitch to buyers and toy companies.
Eligible applicants must be over 18 years old, show financial hardship, not be current or former students of Toy Creators Academy, and not be full-time employees of a toy manufacturing company. More information and the application portal can be found on The Toy Coach website. The deadline to apply is September 17.
Wade, who leads the Academy, has experience working for Toys’R’Us, Party City, and Madame Alexander. She currently works as a consultant for popular IPs and toy companies of all sizes. Known in the industry as “The Toy Coach,” she hosts the podcast Making It In The Toy Industry.
Wade’s Toy Creators Academy is an online course that supports those new to the field with step-by-step guidance, downloadable worksheets, and group coaching. Over the past year, the academy has trained more than 50 students who have developed and pitched ideas to distributors, production studios, and toy companies, resulting in distribution partnerships and licensing opportunities.
Learning Express Toys Lake Zurich is owned and managed by Richard Derr, a former marketing business executive who, along with Wade, is committed to bringing fresh and creative minds into the industry.
“The toy industry needs this. We need fresh ideas…If we get one idea out of this, it’s worth it,” said Derr.