I started this journey in 1999…
In 1999, I boarded a plane with Jamie Wirt and flew to Hong Kong. We went to meet a manufacturer, actually THE manufacturer of animated plush toys: the legendary Mr. Charles Ting of T.L. Toys in Tsim Tsha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Starting with Hip-Hop Teddy Friend, a Teddy Bear that recorded your voice and sang it back to you in a Rap song (remember this was cutting edge for 1998) and quickly progressing (or regressing) to a farting doll, Tekky Toys was off and running and in the Toy Business.
It wasn’t until September 12, 2001 when I decided to make the plunge, quit the day job and join Jamie full time in the business as junior partner and creative director. I, along with many, many other people, saw the horrible events on September 11th as a wake up call: Life is Too Short.
On January 3, 2002 I began my journey into the “Heart of Darkness” that is the Toy Business. An exciting, evil, often banal yet surprisingly exhilarating world that demanded hard work and long hours combined with creativity, street smarts and cunning to stay one step ahead of the Pimps and Thieves out to rob you blind.
A Journey up the River…
There were ups and downs over the 5 year period – many more ups than downs – and the journey far exceeded anything I might have expected. China is a fascinating, terrifying and exhilarating sensory overload. When I’m in China, I am on a different planet. Even though I’m writing this in 2016, more than 17 years since I first traveled to Hong Kong and Shen Zhen, the pace of change and modernization in China has done nothing to reduce my fascination with the complete ‘otherworld’ I encountered on a daily basis.
This ‘project’ is my attempt to recall and capture some of the experiences I’ve been telling friends and family for years: Fart dolls and gangsters, lawsuits and Fat Bastard fat suits, Flying Ghosts and Frozen Faces…
This is a work of Creative Non-Fiction. It’s a memoir in part – but more than that it’s an attempt to ‘illustrate’ with words and pictures, the same stories my friends and family have enjoyed listening to… and hopefully you will as well.
When I tell a crazy story to friends over a few (or many) beers, sometimes the exact dates, names and sequences get a little blurred, but trust me: This is a true story, as remembered and reflected upon by someone who lived – and enjoyed – the ride.
Along the journey I met many wonderful and interesting people.