My name is Denonte McKinney and I’m from a small town in Connecticut. Being a kid was easy when your SQUAD lived directly next door. We would pretend to be Teen Titans, we’d battle with our Beyblades, and we’d duel our Yu-Gi-Oh cards in the streets. We truly believed we were superheroes, we called ourselves, “Codename: Kids Next Door.”
As a ‘90s kid, I was heavily influenced by the TV shows that I watched. As memories started to fade, I realized that I still had an embedded nostalgic connection to these moments that I shared with my friends that were influenced by television. Nostalgia is one hell of an emotion.
These TV shows were a big part of who I was as a child and continued to influence my life’s direction; however, little did I know that my passion for ‘90s tv would lead to a career.
How It Began
It all started at a game night in December 2017. After playing an intense round of ‘Charades’ we ran out of games to play. I asked my friend if she had any more games and she told me to check in her basket. As I searched for a new game, I found a nostalgic pack of ‘Nicktoons’ playing cards that featured 'Nickelodeon' characters on them.
Ding! That’s when it happened.
I randomly placed a card on my forehead and instructed everyone to describe the TV show without using character names; the card ended up being Mr. Krabs. After several rounds of playing I said, “This would be a dope game.” The party responded, “What would it be called?” and I replied “MILLENNIALTOONS®.”
When I went home that night I could not stop thinking about this game. I envisioned all the possibilities that MT could fall into from expansion packs, an app, a cartoon, etc. From that moment on I focused on turning my dream into a monetized reality. My goal for MILLENNIALTOONS® is to become more than a household brand.
This entrepreneurial journey hasn't been easy. I spent hundreds of dollars on prototypes because the early versions were not user friendly. This stressed me TF out but I was determined to bring my vision to life.
The Summer '18 MT Tour is what changed the trajectory of MILLENNIALTOONS®. I road tripped across the country to host Game Nights and receive feedback from potential customers. These locations included: NC, LA, GA, CT, TX, NY, and NJ. The tour was successful because I now had a solid vision of how I wanted to design the game, convey the rules, and which TV shows to use.
As a new business, MT has made giant leaps that I am proud of. I hosted an intense MT Summer Youth Internship, I've sold hundreds of games nationally and internationally, and MT donated $2,000 during the Christmas season to the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship to support under-resourced youth entrepreneurs. None of this would have been possible without my supportive network of friends and family, thank you.
I believe that everyone has a skill that they can excel in. I challenge you to find your passion and work relentlessly until it manifests into your reality.
Stay Toon’d, I'm just getting started.