ASTRA Member Spotlight: Maziply Toys & Collectibles

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. 

scott-and-kerri-4How did you get into the toy industry?
My wife, Kerri, and I were both bankers. While we enjoyed it, we wanted something that would fulfill all of our passions, while giving us the freedom to be in control of our own future. We started selling toys online, with the agreement that if we did a certain amount in sales per month, my wife could quit her job at the bank and work full time from home.

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What Do Appliances and Toys Have in Common?

What Do Appliances and Toys Have in Common?

This may sound like the beginning of a joke, but it is far from it.  J.C. Penney, in an effort to bring customers back, added appliances into their store mix and have now added toy departments – not just for the 4th quarter – but year-round. In a recent article posted on fool.com, author Daniel B Kline notes: “J.C.Penney deserves credit for aggressively moving into open niches.”

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ASTRA Member Spotlight: Tim Paczesny, Education Outdoors, Inc.

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. 

TimDanFrank

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.

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Understanding Your Business Numbers

To my fellow Retailers:

Specialty toy stores might seem all the same on the surface, but when you start to analyze them by the numbers we are quite the diverse lot.  Yes, we sell much of the same products, from the same suppliers, but how we manage the product and cash flow can vary widely.  Some stores fold within a few years, some struggle for what seems like an eternity, others thrive and prosper.  All faced with roughly the same circumstances, we don’t always share the same outcomes. However, I find a general reoccurring theme in my conversations with fellow store owners.
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How to Move Your Business Forward Strategically in One Day

Participating in the annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day celebration is the perfect way to show people why they should shop at your store and not on Amazon or at a big box. We as specialty toy retailers have an advantage over our competitors:  our stores are an experience. We are a destination for families who crave fun together and are looking for guidance in helping their children learn and grow. Celebrating Neighborhood Toy Store Day (this year, on November 11) showcases us doing what we do best, all in one compact, easy-to-digest day.

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Learning Toys and the STEM Trend

Learning Toys and the STEM Trend

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) movement is perhaps one of the most important trends in toys in decades. It tags the skills that kids will need, in theory, to stay relevant in today’s tech-centric world. From code-teaching caterpillars to colorful chemistry kits, manufacturers and retailers alike are eager to cash in on a growing toy sector that promises to deliver on science, technology, engineering, and math education.

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Disruptions in the Retail World: Online Sales

Is the brick and mortar retail model dead?  A vehement NO! was the consensus of three separate round table discussions held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from May 16-18, 2017.  Sales representatives, retail store owners and manufacturer members of ASTRA met in their respective groups to discuss how online sales have affected brick and mortar retail and what the future holds.

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