The ASTRA community is made up of a vibrant group of retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and affiliate members who all have unique stories of how they got into the toy industry. We believe these stories are worth sharing! To recognize our community, the ASTRA Blog features a regular ASTRA Member Spotlight series.
How did you get into the toy industry?
As a dad of elementary age kids, I know that children are far more capable than we can ever imagine. I couldn’t really find an age appropriate game that would push that boundary far enough. I wanted to ensure that there were options available to shape how the next generation of kids will learn and play. So, I created a strategy card game for kids as a learning tool that requires them to utilize all the cognitive skills of complex “grown-up” board games in a fun and versatile experience. The next thing I knew I was in the toy business.
What do you enjoy about being in the toy business?
I really enjoy the opportunity to create tools and games that expand imagination and critical thinking in children.
What has been your biggest challenge in this business?
Our company is fairly new to the business of creating toys, I would say that generally “relationship selection” is always a challenge. We want to do business with companies and retailers who are the right fit for us as a company.
What inspired you to become a Certified Play Expert?
For as long as I remember, I’ve been playing board games, and as part of a lifetime investment in play I have always been fascinated with the real world benefits that transcend the actual game play itself so when I saw the opportunity to get involved in learning more I was all in.
What is one “a-ha” moment you had while earning your Certified Play Expert designation?
For me even though I already had immense respect for the role of play in a child’s life. I underestimated the holistic impact to their social and cognitive development.
What would you say to someone who is considering become a Certified Play Expert?
Understanding the impact of play in our industry is a critical skill set and every opportunity to develop that is worth pursuing.
How have you used your Certified Play Expert designation to influence the power of play in your community?
I have just recently earned the designation, but being an advocate of play to me means positioning this message in a tangible way to parents, teachers, and other community thought leaders and that’s what I plan to do!