On the Road Recap: What We Learned

What a week! We hit the road last week to visit ASTRA retailers in Kansas and Minnesota. What did we learn about these independent toy stores? They are passionate about play and thinking outside of the box to stay ten steps ahead of the game. Here are some of our takeaways from our time on…

On the Road Again

On the road again I just can’t wait to get on the road again The life I love is makin’ music with my friends And I can’t wait to get on the road again On the road again Goin’ places that I’ve never been Seein’ things that I may never see again And I can’t…

Best Practices for Managing Credit Exposure Risk

In Part I of this article, we examined the differences between Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In Part II, we will review some best practices for managing credit exposure risk. If your business sells or ships goods without prepayment, there is a risk that you will not get paid.  Yet, granting credit on net…

The Numbers Behind the Report

In an effort to identify opportunities for manufacturers, I read and analyzed the latest ASTRA Retailer Benchmarking Survey report and data from a specialty manufacturer’s perspective. What did the data and numbers present?

30 Powerful Minutes

Consultation Stations are coming to this year’s Marketplace & Academy and we want to share a few tips for how you can get the most out of your one-on-one time with an expert. This is your opportunity to get your most important questions answered. What’s the best way to use your 30 minutes – especially…

Thriving Through the Toys R Us Liquidation

The Toys R Us liquidation has begun. Customers everywhere will be stocking up on toys, taking a chunk out of toy sales from every other channel.  People won’t need to shop for birthdays for months. Some might not need to shop for Christmas at all. That is the conventional wisdom you’ll hear, and it sounds…

One of Your Customers is Filing For Bankruptcy

In September 2017, Toys R Us (TRU) filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.  While most large toy makers had already shipped orders directly from China to TRU, many smaller toy manufacturers had to decide whether to ship their products to TRU (and possibly not get paid) or not to ship at all and lose out completely on…

Mighty Together in Times of Challenge and Opportunity

The closing of Toys R Us retail outlets nationwide is yet another example of the ongoing change and evolution of the toy industry and retail landscape. We anticipate that in the weeks and months to come, we will all be impacted by the many ripple effects of these changes that present themselves in the form…

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Joe Hudicka, CEO of Fizzee Labs, LLC

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. Today we feature…

Feeling the Spirit of Play at Spielwaremesse

Along with ASTRA President Kimberly Mosley, I traveled to Germany to meet with member manufacturers, reach out to new manufacturers, and explore how ASTRA could play a role in bringing new products to the U.S. market as well as assist U.S. companies find additional markets for their products in Europe.

[Guest Post] Marketing Strategy: Timing is Everything

Today we experienced a Super Blue Blood Moon for the first time in 150 years. As a marketer, I couldn’t help but think about how important timing is. Each of those single events – a Super Moon, a Blue Moon, and a Blood Moon – are interesting on their own, but when they come together,…

We Are the Future of Play

With four media interviews, one education panel, and more than 50 in-booth meetings, ASTRA shared the message event-wide at the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show that independent toy stores carry more than just wooden blocks.