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?
I am from Northern Michigan living near Traverse City, in 2006 I created my first game called Camp. I went to a local toy store and asked them for the name of their best toy sales rep. They gave me the name and number of Debbie Owens. When I called her, she took the time to listen to a very passionate game inventor. After my rambling on she called me after opening and playing our game and noted that I had to join ASTRA.
That was the start. I now have over 25 different products and many of them are in ASTRA member stores.
What do you enjoy about being in the toy business?
I grew up on the lake, playing in the woods and nature. I get to create games and toys that bring this environment to people. What else could be better? Giving back too. I have began to evolve our business to create a products on purpose like our puzzle line giving back to the National Park trust and Made in USA. I also like being able to collaborate with like minded individuals! The best is we get to inspire children about the outdoors!
What has been your biggest challenge in this business?
Getting customers to stop and learn our story. Buyers from the larger cities get stuck thinking that because they are not outdoors type people all consumers that shop there are. I guess what I am trying to say is that they buy for their store as if they where buying products for themselves. They do not realize that the outdoor market is one of the largest and growing at a very rapid pace. Some of my best friends leave the city every weekend to go camping! Add a outdoors section to your stores and get in on this !
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
That I own another successful business selling Heat shrink Tubing around the Globe and that I was a robotic technician by trade.