Leasing a Space? Maximize Your Safety & Profit with Little-Known Lease Tips

Hello ASTRA members! I am very excited to bring you some extremely valuable material in my session: Leasing a Space? Maximize Your Safety & Profit with Little-Known Lease Tips.

Fact: Ninety-nine percent of business owners do not negotiate their lease adequately. They leave in dangerous clauses and “lease-landmines”. They don’t know what they don’t know. I am going to show you how to fix that, and will be bringing you actual examples of problems and fixes. After we are done, your lease will be safer, more flexible, and probably less expensive. Continue reading “Leasing a Space? Maximize Your Safety & Profit with Little-Known Lease Tips”

Play as a Path to EQ

Play as a Path to EQ

ASTRA’s 2017 Marketplace & Academy is offering nearly 500 exciting exhibits on the show floor along with more than 30 education sessions. I am honored to be a part of the Academy education offerings. I will be presenting, “Play as a Path: Emotional Intelligence from the Inside Out” with co-presenter, Dee Farrell of Neat-Oh! International, LLC. We are passionate about the power of play and excited to deliver content on social/emotional development as it connects to child development.

Continue reading “Play as a Path to EQ”

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Jordan Ramey, Innovation Media Products


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.
Continue reading “ASTRA Member Spotlight: Jordan Ramey, Innovation Media Products”

Guest Post: Stand Out… or Step Aside

Guest Post: Stand Out… or Step Aside

Successful people, just like successful businesses, understand that what people think of them and expect from them is important. In today’s social-media-connected world, people don’t hesitate to share what they think of you. Careers, reputations and businesses can be ruined by social media. They can also be enhanced, so it’s worth doing a little planning and positioning.

Larry Mersereau, a session speaker at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy, offers a few steps for getting started on building your personal brand.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Stand Out… or Step Aside”

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Paul Doxsee, Gepetto’s Workshop

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 Certified Master Retailer graduate Paul Doxsee, CMR, of Gepetto’s Workshop in Stevens Point, WI.

Paul DoxseeHow did you get in to the toy industry?
Gepetto’s has been a fixture on Main Street in downtown Stevens Point for more than 35 years. The store was started by my sister-in-law, Bonnie Brown. Back in August when Bonnie’s store manager left for another position, Bonnie asked me to step in. I happened to be available as my job in the healthcare industry was recently eliminated. I had years of managerial and technical experience that Bonnie thought the store critically needed

How long have you been an ASTRA member?
It’s a perk that comes with Gepetto’s being an ASTRA member! I think I only got formally into the ASTRA database about a month ago. However, I had been working with the ASTRA technical experts on a significant revision of our store website since September. Continue reading “ASTRA Member Spotlight: Paul Doxsee, Gepetto’s Workshop”

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Andrea Adarve, Miniland Educational

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 Certified Play Expert graduate Andrea Adarve, MBA,  CPE, of Minland Educational in Miami, FL.

How did you get in to the toy industry?Andrea Adarve
I have worked in sales ever since I graduated with my MBA. I didn’t start out in the toy industry but a very unrelated (more boring) industry – telecom. I love everything to do with sales including the interaction with people, financial analysis, target setting, etc., so I started looking for sales opportunities in a new industry when I got lucky enough to be given the opportunity to become the National Sales Manager of an amazing educational toy manufacturer who saw the drive in me even though I had no toy experience. Now I would not trade industries for the world! Continue reading “ASTRA Member Spotlight: Andrea Adarve, Miniland Educational”

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Amy Barrett, Lasso the Moon Toys

play_expertThe 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. 

Continue reading “ASTRA Member Spotlight: Amy Barrett, Lasso the Moon Toys”