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The Saga of Mike & Niki

We met in 2010, shortly after we had both individually decided that if we were going to be broke forever, we might as well do what we love. We met on a dating website and thought we'd maybe hang out for a summer, but HAH, no. We shared the same hobbies and interests, sure. We were/are both a level of nerd in just about every category that had previously been unrivaled! But beyond that, we shared the same passions for the world around us. Different perspectives and upbringings, but both wanted to make things BETTER – for us, and others. We were inseparable... until we weren't. Maybe it wasn't the right time, or perhaps it was the world that had made us brittle – but things fell apart, and we went our separate ways for years. Life took us in many directions: Mike is a commission artist and animal whisperer (i.e., pet care specialist); Nicole bopped around the country (and the world) for a while to pursue her career in archaeology.


In 2012, while working on her Ph.D. for anthropology in California, Nicole lost her brother. A few months later, in 2013, she finished her coursework, became a Ph.D. candidate, and decided to return to Chicago to be closer to family. The two of us reconnected. Nicole had been working a side job as a content creator and host at a nerd dating event company and brought Mike on as a co-creator and co-host shortly thereafter. The gig didn't last, but in the process, we became best friends, worked, and complimented each other on every project, and made so many of our creative dreams start to come alive.


Nicole, being the social butterfly of the two (although if you met Mike at a Con, you'd never know it...), started weaving together virtually every nerd she'd ever met into a consolidated nerd adventure club (like we were actually called "Adventure Club"...) that ultimately became the beta testers for everything that would come later. Some of these folks are considered OG Trashgoblins and are still Gobby fam (look 'em up on our Fam page!). Mike had been hard at work for years on developing his own board games and RPG-type live-action strategy games. With Niki - the event coordination mastermind - on board, we were able to start play-testing some of Mike's babies via Lords of Board (our board gaming Meetup) and Guerilla Gamers (a gaming group invented in the era of Occupy, with the vibe of flash mobs meet LARP [so...pop up gaming in cool unique public spaces around the city of Chicago]). Many sessions ended in Disney and 80's/90's theme song karaoke carrying on until dawn. Summer weekends were spent laboriously trying to move groups of up to 20 people - all of which were usually costumed by Mike and Niki with MAYBE a day's notice - around Bristol Ren Faire while stopping for drinks every 5 minutes. And FINALLY, in 2015, Mike dragged Nik to her first Con: C2E2. We became a mega-nerd creative duo with way more projects than time, not to mention full-time jobs and a plethora of other individual projects and hobbies...

For all intents and purposes, C2E2 2020 was the official debut of Trashgoblins, Inc., as a Chicago-based community cosplay group (members at the time officially also included Anna Cerwonka, Alyssa Kahle, and Chris Basaraba). While we had done a number of group cosplays every C2E2 between 2015-2020 with a rotating cast of characters and members, that year we were swinging for the fences ("A Jose Conseco bat...?...Tell didn't pay money for this..."). But... as many of you probably know... things got real weird after that. Nik had already moved away by then for work - to Arizona first in November 2017, and then Georgia in early 2018. A lot of time during "lock down" was spent on phone calls trying to figure out a future worth fighting for. Covid and distance made us juuuuuuuust crazy enough to make some big moves. Something clicked cosmically. Mike suddenly needed to get out of his apartment because landlords started going cray, and before we knew it, we were house hunting on Chicago's South Side, all while Nik was stuck down in Georgia. By October 2020, we were closing on our own little cottage - Trashgoblins HQ - and a new chapter in Trashgoblins, Inc., was beginning to form (you can keep up with progress on our community maker's space, Trashgoblins HQ, here!). In 2021 we returned to C2E2 as a duo as our other members and associates also buy and remodel their houses and have babies, but keep a weather eye on the horizon, y'all...we are coming for 2022! 

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Est. 2010

Let’s Collaborate!

If you're in the Chicago or Atlanta area and want to hang; if you're looking for collaboration, a creative space, or assistance with creative projects; if you need playtesters for your games; or any of the dang nerdy things - PLEASE CONTACT US! We want to hang! What makes this fun is the people and the stories, and we want you to be part of our Trashgobby Fam <3! Contact us below for inquiries, requests, proposals, whatever, and see what events we will be popping up at on our Events page. 

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