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Hey CM Chicago! We are happy to announce this month’s host, Design Cloud. This is more than just an office space. It’s a classic studio, art gallery and coworking space. It’s a creative hub; specifically for designers, by designers. Most importantly, this space provides a culture proven to connect, inspire and help designers thrive in every way. It’s a co-working space like no other in Chicago. 

Design Cloud is a space for individuals and teams of 1-6 specifically in the fields of architecture, interior design, industrial design, visual design, branding, design thinking, UX/UI, arts non-profit, mobile design, and web development. 

We are also excited to tell you that for a limited time, Design Cloud would like to extend a ten percent discount to anyone who mentions CreativeMornings before signing up! This offer runs until April 1st, 2014.  

Design Cloud’s Features: 
They have the internet! (38/10Mb) 
Fuel: Snacks, chocolate, LaColombe coffee, and booze. 
AV: Smart TV, projector, record player, laser jet printer 
War Room w/ tools, whiteboards, and 3D printer. Prototype. Get messy 
Community Manager keeps you in the know 
Access to our design/art/tech events 
Lockers and storage for belongings + bikes 
2 Bathrooms, 1 shower 

Sound interesting? Well come check it out at the next event or take a look online at http://designcloudchicago.com/coworking/  

Hope to see you all there!


Hey CM Chicago! We’re excited to announce a new blog post series starting with the new year: the Featured Community Member! Each month, we’ll shine a humble spotlight on one of the event’s attendees as a way to even further connect with our community and get to know and remember each other. Our first Featured Community Member is Michelle Lonnee, who enjoyed her very first time attending a CreativeMornings event today! Here’s a little bit about her.

Michelle is a Digital Producer at No Limit Agency here in Chicago. She also continues to freelance on the side as the owner and designer of Strawberry Blonde Design, a business she started after graduating from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, in 2007.

  • Favorite part of Michelle’s average work (or non-work) day:
    getting to do what I love for actual money
  • Favorite things to do outside of work:
    read and cook
  • Answer to this month’s icebreaker tag:
    Convince me I should… start a Twitter account. I’m not sure that I could stay within the 140 character limit. 
  • If you get the opportunity to speak at CreativeMornings, what’s something you might be interested in speaking about?
    If I could get over my crippling fear of public speaking, I might talk about Etsy and how it rebuilt my confidence as a designer and provided and continues to provide great opportunities.
  • Any other special thoughts to leave us with?
    I’m really glad to have found this community of creatives. I look forward to making CreativeMornings a regular thing. 

Look for Michelle at future CreativeMornings events! And check out her Etsy store to see all the rad stuff she makes. 


On the last day of the first month of 2014, Eric Siegel spoke to the Chicago creative community about Childhood. He is the founder and lead creative at a small sustainable and eco-friendly toy company, Tree Hopper Toys where he uses inspiration from his sons to guide his entrepreneurial decisions. He sees characteristics in them to mimic, and some to steer clear of but overall he preaches children should be inspiration to a burgeoning business.

"For kids, toys are the tools of the trade.”

Eagerness to learn

"Rid yourself of your pride, get on the phone and ask some honest questions.”

Eric learned the hard way that swallowing pride and simply admitting when you don’t know something is the best way to learn. Tree Hopper got its start selling to flash sale sites, and didn’t find out until after a few times around the merry-go-round that you can charge extra for shipping to the masses. Children have a knack for learning quickly. Sometimes little lessons like this one can be learned quicker if we approach them like our children do.


Best paired with a bit of recklessness, being fearless allows you to take the necessary risks in starting a business. While on a little hike, Eric learned how fearless his son could be, not afraid to run through the woods. For Tree Hopper Toys it meant going into a highly competitive market with almost no knowledge of how it’s ‘supposed’ to be.

"You have to turn off the crap in your head. Kids don’t have crap in their head."



Kids have a relentless pursuit of wacky fun times. Having playfulness in your projects is very important. Although Eric agrees that all things are needed in moderation, he prioritizes setting aside time to tinker, explore and keep the playfulness going.

While being part of the  toy industry does help reinforce his sense of playfulness, sometimes during the manufacturing process he finds it more challenging but even more important to remember how to keep the process enjoyable. As important as it is to be open to lessons from children, it is also important to recognize how a child reacts to a situation.

"The highest of highs, followed by the lowest of lows.”


Children seem to have the best of time, followed by the worst in a matter of minutes. Eric showed us a photo of his son playing in a pile of leaves. It resonated with everyone that he was having the best time of his life. Eric explained that in a matter of minutes something small could crush his entire world, like getting the blue cup instead of the red cup.

Similarly for Tree Hopper Toys, it’s world suddenly collapsed when the cardboard caps to their Match Stacks toy came back in a bland  green instead of the bright green they had ordered. A few PMS degrees off put them up against the wall with customer orders and their reputation on the line. He called his wife, took a deep breath, and worked it out with the manufacture. He had to realize that he had the power to find a resolution.

Acting childish

Overall, starting a business, especially a creative one, takes acts of fearlessness, playfulness and a hunger for learning. So much of which we can pull from looking at the children of the world. When you observe kids, you observe their flaws and their glories. These parallels in childhood and business are essential for beginning a creative project.

Keep an eye out for Eric at Toy Fair this year in New York and snag a fun toy at treehoppertoys.com.

Our friends at Grind, Chicago’s newest collaborative workspace and the host of January’s CreativeMornings, have just announced a limited time Founder’s Rate of only $300/mo. With 22’ high cathedral ceilings, a modern design, fast WiFi, and all the Intelligentsia coffee you can drink, Grind offers a frictionless and inspiring environment for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small companies to build stronger businesses. If you’re interested in learning more and joining the community, send an email to Heathyr to schedule a tour or grab a free day pass and stop by.

We’ll be kicking off 2014 with Eric Siegel from Tree Hopper Toys on Friday, January 31st from 8:30AM - 10:00AM.

Eric Siegel is the creator of Tree Hopper Toys, a tiny and local company who handcrafts a line of wooden toys that curious kids love. He knows kids work hard and explore everything—their creativity, environment, senses and strength—for them, toys are the tools of the trade. With that in mind, he designs safe toys that work alongside a child’s creativity and imagination.

His company started as a hobby 2 years ago in his garage and it’s grown into a full-time operation with a shop, employees and too many orders to count. Him and a handful of people design, cut, screenprint, and package their toys in a small shop on the outskirts of Chicago. You may have seen his wooden toys in shops around town like Haymaker, Lillstreet or the MCA. They’re currently being sold online and in retail stores covering 29 states and 4 countries. His toys have been featured on ABC7, Daily Candy and Inhabitat, among others.

Registration opens here on Monday, January 27th at 11:00AM.

Our theme for January is “Childhood” and we’re thrilled to have this event hosted and sponsored by our friends at Grind.

Hope to see you there!

We’ll be wrapping up 2013 with Linsey Burritt and Crystal Grover from INDO on on Friday, December 20th from 8:30AM - 10:00AM

INDO is a Chicago-based design and fabrications firm specializing in site-specific installations created with materials diverted from the waste and recycling streams. Co-creators Linsey Burritt and Crystal Grover blend sustainable practice, innovative design and thoughtful collaboration to produce interiors, window displays, art installations, objects and environments for a diverse range of clients, designers and venues. Linsey and Crystal’s talent is unprecedented, meticulous and brilliant and their work has been featured in places like the Chicago Tribune, Design Bureau, CS Interiors, Urban Outfitters, TimeOut, Forma and on ABC7 News. 

Our theme this month is “Make” and we’re thrilled to have this event hosted and sponsored by our friends at Threadless.

Registration opens here on Monday, December 16th at 11:00AM. Hope to see you there!


On Friday morning of Chicago Ideas Week, Max Temkin spoke about this month’s theme; “Play”. Max was a perfect speaker for this month, as he is known for his incredibly playful games such as Cards Against Humanity and Humans vs Zombies.

"Do whatever makes you happy, is total bullshit."
We can’t get what ought from what is.

Chicago’s creative community jammed into the GE Garage’s maker space and was invited to play with all of their 3D printers and tools. His talk began with an intimate clip of Steve Jobs explaining how you should do what you love. This is great advice, but as we find out, Max asks us not to be sophists. He argues that sophists apply ideas to satisfy themselves, while we should be virtuous and design by our values. 

"I don’t know why we are are here, but I’m pretty sure it’s not in order to enjoy ourselves."

- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Max believes that it is up to us to figure out what our values and beliefs are. He spoke on how famous philosophers such as Socrates and Aristotle spent their life’s pursuit to figure out what drives personal happiness. He shared Aristotle’s great metaphor for finding the good life like the archer who is more likely to hit his mark if he has a target to aim for. His visit to NASA’s JPL reminded him of this archer. With missions that will outlive all of it’s creators, they had to instill their values for the benefit of something larger.

Playing in public is a political act. 

"Confusion is the beginning of knowledge"

- Socrates

Max and his team found that during games like Humans vs Zombies, people were doing much more than just playing a chaotic game. Many college student players claim that these games were the highlight of that time helped them find their values. “Values came out that really surprised us.”

Share vision.

Max began a Kickstarter Office Hours project after being successfully funded during the Cards Against Humanity campaign. He stated he began doing Google Hangouts and giving advice to people simply because, “it was something I believed in. As a community of makers, we need to create products that are built of our values.”

"Sell good values."

Independance. Honesty. Hardwork.

When asked what’s next for Max, he replied “I’m going to continue to help people, push people into doing what they love. I’m trying to figure how to scale that and help more people.”


We can’t wait to see his next endeavor. Max loves philosophy and games. Discuss how games have played a role in your world view @MaxTemkinand keep an eye out for his next project on his website.