SERIES: ChiTAG’s Rising Star of the Year Nominees: In Their Own Words — Thijmen de Schipper, Co-President of YULU Toys

By Laura Richards

Thijmen de Schipper, Co-President of YULU Toys

Thijmen de Schipper, co-President of YULU Toys and creator of the game Spy Code Break Free, is one of several nominees of the Chicago Toy and Game Week (ChiTAG) Rising Star of the Year Award which will be presented at this year’s ChiTAG Toy & Game Innovation Awards (TAGIE’s) ceremony in the Ballroom at Navy Pier on November 17, 2017 from 6pm — 11pm.

Thijmen in his own words:

I was born in a very small village in the Netherlands. In 2015, when only 27 years old, I started YULU Toys along with my partner Jochem Van Rijn. Today, I live in Hong Kong, where YULU Toys is based. The Rising Star of the Year nomination process was quite simple — filling out a series of questions about our company, our products and me! It was actually a positive experience because it also gave me a chance to reflect on the creation of our company just over two years ago. It reminded me how far we have come in such a short amount of time.

Once we submitted our answers and provided visual art for our company’s products, we waited for the announcement of the finalists. For such a small company that we started while still studying at University, we are so incredibly excited to just be nominated and recognized by our peers.

YULU Toys has created the following products to date:

— Spy Code Games (available exclusively in the US at Target stores and online)
— Break Free
— Safe Breaker
— Operation: Escape (named to Target’s top holiday toy list)
— Egged On Game
— Fire Quest Game
— Helix outdoor paddle game

Prior to starting YULU Toys, Jochem and I began inventing together while we were still at the University in the Netherlands. Our biggest success was an app we developed for the Dutch Olympic Committee that explained all of the rules of all Games & Sports. In 2014, after just one year of development, the app was sold to the Dutch Olympic Committee. We were obviously incredibly excited and couldn’t believe it!

We were shortly thereafter approached by representatives from our University who asked what we wanted to do next. I had an idea for a bat and ball game I played in China during one of my student exchange programs that was quite popular. Together with a technical University in The Netherlands, we invested in a product re-design and improve this sports/game product concept. After setting up production in the Netherlands and getting feedback at Dutch retail, we took HELIX to the next level! We decided to move to Hong Kong and set up production. This changed into an actual company which we are now building and growing in the last 2 1/2 years!

Winning the Rising Star of the Year Award would be an incredible accomplishment and beyond exciting! It would also be a very proud moment for me personally and professionally — my peers would recognize all of the hard work and time we have put into YULU, which is so very meaningful. It would also mean that we are truly making toys that make kids laugh and smile and, at the end of the day, that’s what it is about!

For further information on ChiTAG and the Rising Star Award, please visit their website:

To read about the other nominees for Rising Star of the Year Award, click on the links below:

Brian Gomez Team
Joyce Sprau
Brady Peterson
Dominic Yard

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