Empowering the Power of Play

Empowering the Power of Play

Have two minutes? Flip to page 5 of the January 2017 edition of ASTRA’s Toy Times Magazine and read Ann Kienzle’s article, “Plan for the Road Trip.” Ann writes:

We’ve all had the discussions about how the industry is suffering from age compression. That kids are growing up too fast. It’s the age of “our kids are too busy to play” and “my child is too advanced for that toy.” While many of these are issues we’re burnt out on after hearing about them for years, they are still out there and they aren’t going away. It’s important that we don’t let ourselves lose sight of these roadblocks to a child’s success. Our industry depends on it.

“What is she going to do with it?” That was the question a customer asked me about the pizza set I was suggesting for a 3-year-old. I was a little taken aback. I gave the normal spiel about the importance of role-play and the *fun* of pretending to be a cook/restaurant owner/grownup. But it took me a minute to realize that she really didn’t get that a pizza set would be engaging to a 3-year-old.

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ASTRA Member Spotlight: Rudy Valenta, People Toy Company

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. 

How did you get into the toy industry?
I was raised in the toy industry. My father had a toy company growing up. I did product testing for him from when I was wee-little one and eventually graduated to the warehouse labeling orders in junior high. After college, I was in charge of product design and operations. Fast forward 10 years later, I now work with our long-time business partner, People, to bring the best educational and innovative toys to homes around the world.

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Inside the Closing of Toy House

Inside the Closing of Toy House

Guest post by Phil Wrzesinski

I know it rocked your world to hear that Toy House is closing. Big, iconic, 67-year old businesses don’t close when the owner is still too young to retire. But sometimes they do, and sometimes it is for reasons so localized that it only makes sense once you see the whole picture. Let’s take a look at some of the factors…

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ASTRA Member Spotlight: Ellen Stebbins, StoryClub Games

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. 

EllenStebbins.jpgHow did you get into the toy industry?
My partner, Marcie Jacobs, and I created our company because we wanted to provide products that create experiences where people connect and get to know one another better, stretch their imaginations and have loads of fun. Creativity fuels the ability to problem solve, innovate, and explore new and unfamiliar areas. It also elicits teamwork and positive interpersonal communication skills.

I became an ASTRA member because it was so highly recommended by Christine Osborne – ASTRA 2013 Excellence Award Recipient. She is very involved in your organization and said that it’s THE group to be a part of!

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Stacy Lellos, Klutz

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.
Stacy-and-Rachele-at-ASTRA.jpg
Rachele Harmuth, Director of Sales (left) and Stacy Lellos, SVP & General Manager (right) having fun at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy

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