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.

New Year, New Opportunities

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing them with greater access to education, financial capital and business support services. The program is available across the United States through a network of more than 100 academic and community partners, and over 5,600 small…

Facing Challenges and Disruption with Innovation

It’s hard not to feel most days that we’re faced only with challenges and disruption.  We are worried about how the digital revolution is impacting our bricks and mortar businesses.  The press is full of stories about the retail apocalypse.  Our customers are harried, glued to their smartphones, and demanding ever more from us.  We…

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Hilary Key, The Toy Chest

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…

Play at Work: ASTRA’s First Company-Wide Certified Play Expert® Workshop

Imagine a workplace that allows you to play every day. Would you guess that offering employees to play – really, play! – would increase productivity, staff engagement and morale? That’s exactly what would happen, according to Dr. Stuart Brown: “Not only does having a playful atmosphere attract young talent, but experts say play at work can…

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Toy Box Gifts & Wonder

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…