Welcome to the wacky, mixed up world of Mutasia, a place that inspires creativity and self-discovery in children of all ages. As mixed up mixes of every animal imaginable, each inhabitant of Mutasia is a unique individual; and through them, we can all learn to embrace what makes us different. Children of every age will laugh and sing as the Mutasian adventures come to life through a series of colorful books, animation, music, and mobile apps.
Mutasia was founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Tami Cotsakos, a former K-8 elementary school music teacher in New Jersey and California. Tami was inspired to develop a children’s project to provide kids with a creative approach to make learning entertaining and supplement traditional education. She wanted to create an environment for children that encourages creativity and teaches about life’s many lessons in a fun and humorous way. Prior to this, Tami built a career in design, retail, childcare management, education and philanthropy.
Tami’s daughter, Suzanne Cotsakos, an actor, writer, producer, and editor, loved the idea and joined her Mom to co-found Mutasia and bring the project to life.
Together, Tami and Suzanne formed a family company under the code name M Kids, which was going to be a children’s education site as part of a larger social media start-up in Florida.
Tami persuaded her niece, Chelsea Menzies, who was working as an interior designer in New York, to move to Florida and join the small start-up team as a co-head writer, senior design specialist and content manager.
Tami also recruited Julianne Miles, a college friend of Suzanne’s, to move to Florida and join her team to head up administration, contracts and compliance. At the time, Julianne was working in New York as an auditor and was considering an offer to move to Switzerland with a prominent insurance company.
Suzanne had just co-founded Tertiary Productions, a media production company, and invited her college friend, Ryan McCulloch, to move to Florida and become a team member of her newly formed company as an illustrator, character designer and Claymation animator. Ryan had recently graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and soon found himself working double duty for Tertiary Productions and M Kids, as both businesses were located in the same office.
Suzanne, Chelsea, Ryan and Julianne became Tami’s core project team, as she leveraged talent from around the parent company and began to incubate her strategy for M Kids with friends and colleagues.
Unfortunately, the parent company was a victim of market timing and the financial crisis of 2008 and was eventually sold to another social media start-up.
Prior to the sale of the company, Tami’s plan for M Kids and its strategy were starting to gain creative momentum and she did not want to see it get lost in the shuffle at the new company.
Tami was adamant that M Kids and her team needed to be independent and free to pursue her dream and vision for creatively teaching kids that education can be inspirational and entertaining.
So Tami and Suzanne purchased all of the intellectual property and assets of the M Kids project through the family investment company.
And, Mutasia® Children’s Entertainment was born.
Tami’s home in Florida was Mutasia’s new office and the founding team (Tami, Suzanne, Ryan, Chelsea and Julianne) frequently gathered around her kitchen table, working at all hours, to bring Mutasia to life. The team often worked late nights and weekends, bringing new characters to life, developing the story lines and creating the musical sound for Mutasia.
However, there was a key position that still needed to be filled: an operational leader who could execute the strategy on smart phones, tablets and personal computers. Tami called on her longtime friend and experienced leader in digital media, Brigitte VanBaelen, and convinced her to join the team and lead operations. Brigitte currently resides in Savannah, Georgia.
The Mutasia team has defied all the odds, independently producing their first animation, The Mish Mash Bash; designing a collection of plush toys; self-publishing a series of chapter, poem, and coloring books, as well as e-books; designing and launching several Mutasia coloring book apps; producing a collection of music CDs and downloads; and developing a range of lesson plans for teachers — all based on Mutasia’s Land of Illogical and Utterly Impossible Critters.
Tami eventually sold her house, but kept the kitchen table where it all started; and today, the creative team still gathers around the table to bring new life to the ever-changing world of Mutasia.
Mutasia strives to “Mix It Up” by creating an environment that encourages creativity and teaches about life’s many lessons in a fun and humorous way.
Like the inhabitants of Mutasia, our team is comprised of unique individuals who have come together and blended their talents in an effort to create a world that will encourage children to explore the outer limits of their imaginations through stories, music, and art.
Tami Cotsakos, Co-Founder , Chief Executive & Creative Officer
Education: BS Music, William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ)
Experience: Entrepreneur, Designer and Music Teacher (K-8)
Suzanne R. Cotsakos, Co-Founder and Head Writer
Education: BA Theatre Arts, Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); BFA Motion Pictures & Television, Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA); MBA, William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ)
Experience: Entrepreneur, Author, Actor, Producer and Editor
Author of: Land of Illogical & Utterly Impossible Critters and Figley’s New Favorite Food
Voice of: Figley
Ryan McCulloch, Chief Artist & Designer
Education: BA Traditional Illustration, Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA)
Experience: Illustrator, Animator and Character Designer
Illustrator of: Land of Illogical & Utterly Impossible Critters, Figley’s New Favorite Food, and A Nib Christmas
Voice of: Chadwick
Julianne Miles, Chief Compliance Officer
Education: BS International Business, Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Experience: Digital and Social Media, Auditor, Governance and Compliance
Brigitte VanBaelen, Chief Operations Officer
Education: BA Communications and Public Relations, COOVI-PIVIT University (Brussels, Belgium)
Experience: Management, Operations, Public Relations, Marketing and Community Outreach
Mutasia Gives Back
Mutasia is proud to support the improvement of children’s literacy efforts through donations to schools and communities in need.