American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

astra academy

Catalog Advanced Search

Search by Categories
Search in Packages
Search by Format
Search by Date Range
Products are filtered by different dates, depending on the combination of live and on-demand components that they contain, and on whether any live components are over or not.
Start
End
Search by Keyword
Sort By
  • Sail Your Business into Profitable Waters: Five Diagnostic Tools

    In this package, Phil Wrzesinski shares his five-diagnostic tools to help you see where your business needs the most work. Prepare your business to set sail into the body of water unique to your community!

    About:

    In this package, Phil Wrzesinski shares his five-diagnostic tools to help you see where your business needs the most work. Parts one through five will be shared each month leading up to ASTRA's 2020 Marketplace & Academy in June. Prepare your business to set sail into the body of water unique to your community!

    There are five key aspects you must know and implement to sail your business into profitable waters! Furthermore, all five aspects must be implemented together, as neglecting one can and will affect the rest. If you have a leaky boat, or the wrong boat for the body of water, you will not sail very far—and if you do not have good sails and wind, or a method to steer the ship, you will not sail very far.


    This package includes:

    - Sailing Your Business into Profitable Waters, Part 1: The Size of Your Waters (Market) - January, 2020

    - Sailing Your Business into Profitable Waters, Part 2: The Best Boat (Business Type) for Your Ocean - February, 2020

    - Sailing Your Business into Profitable Waters, Part 3: The Engine That Drives Your Boat (Customer Service) - March, 2020

    - Sailing Your Business into Profitable Waters, Part 4: The Rudder That Steers Your Ship (Inventory) - April, 2020

    - Sailing Your Business into Profitable Waters, Part 5: Fuel for Your Engine/Sail (Marketing) - May, 2020

  • Sailing Your Business into Profitable Waters, Part 1: The Size of Your Waters (Market)

    In part one of this five-part series, Phil Wrzesinski shares how to best understand the market size that your business operates in.

    In this package, Phil Wrzesinski shares his five-diagnostic tools to help you see where your business needs the most work. Prepare your business to set sail into the body of water unique to your community! In part one of this five-part series, Phil Wrzesinski shares how to best understand the market size your business operates in. 

    Phil Wrzesinski

    Phil's Forum Publishing

    I am an entrepreneur just like you. I started working at the ripe age of seven in 1973 when my grandfather paid me 10 cents an hour to put price tags on boxes. 

    I honed my entrepreneurial skills running the largest independent toy store in America from 1993 (when I left a career in Team Building) through December 2016, while also starting a weekly radio show, monthly magazine, and successful speaking career during those years.

    Now I put on my cape and fight for you, bringing you the lessons I learned from decades of running a small business.

    Email: phil@philsforum.com

    Telephone: 517.937.3213

    Phil Wrzesinski

    Phil's Forum Publishing

    I am an entrepreneur just like you. I started working at the ripe age of seven in 1973 when my grandfather paid me 10 cents an hour to put price tags on boxes. 

    I honed my entrepreneurial skills running the largest independent toy store in America from 1993 (when I left a career in Team Building) through December 2016, while also starting a weekly radio show, monthly magazine, and successful speaking career during those years.

    Now I put on my cape and fight for you, bringing you the lessons I learned from decades of running a small business.

    Email: phil@philsforum.com

    Telephone: 517.937.3213

    Phil Wrzesinski

    Phil's Forum Publishing

    I am an entrepreneur just like you. I started working at the ripe age of seven in 1973 when my grandfather paid me 10 cents an hour to put price tags on boxes. 

    I honed my entrepreneurial skills running the largest independent toy store in America from 1993 (when I left a career in Team Building) through December 2016, while also starting a weekly radio show, monthly magazine, and successful speaking career during those years.

    Now I put on my cape and fight for you, bringing you the lessons I learned from decades of running a small business.

    Email: phil@philsforum.com

    Telephone: 517.937.3213

    Phil Wrzesinski

    Phil's Forum Publishing

    I am an entrepreneur just like you. I started working at the ripe age of seven in 1973 when my grandfather paid me 10 cents an hour to put price tags on boxes. 

    I honed my entrepreneurial skills running the largest independent toy store in America from 1993 (when I left a career in Team Building) through December 2016, while also starting a weekly radio show, monthly magazine, and successful speaking career during those years.

    Now I put on my cape and fight for you, bringing you the lessons I learned from decades of running a small business.

    Email: phil@philsforum.com

    Telephone: 517.937.3213

    Phil Wrzesinski

    Phil's Forum Publishing

    I am an entrepreneur just like you. I started working at the ripe age of seven in 1973 when my grandfather paid me 10 cents an hour to put price tags on boxes. 

    I honed my entrepreneurial skills running the largest independent toy store in America from 1993 (when I left a career in Team Building) through December 2016, while also starting a weekly radio show, monthly magazine, and successful speaking career during those years.

    Now I put on my cape and fight for you, bringing you the lessons I learned from decades of running a small business.

    Email: phil@philsforum.com

    Telephone: 517.937.3213

  • ASTRA Book Club: The HERO Effect

    Introducing ASTRA's Book Club! We are excited to share "The HERO Effect: Being Your Best When It Matters the Most!" by Kevin Brown, ASTRA's 2020 Marketplace & Academy keynote speaker, as our first Book Club book. There are only 24 slots available, so be sure to sign-up right away! The enrollment fee includes purchase, shipment of the book and facilitated discussions.

    Introducing ASTRA's Book Club! We are excited to share The HERO Effect: Being Your Best When It Matters the Most! by Kevin Brown, ASTRA's 2020 Marketplace & Academy keynote speaker, as our first Book Club book. There are only 24 slots available, so be sure to sign-up right away! The enrollment fee includes purchase, shipment of the book and facilitated discussions.

    Book Description
    The HERO Effect® is based on Kevin Brown's highly sought after keynote experience. In a fresh and entertaining style, Kevin shares ideas, strategies and principles that will inspire and equip readers to show up every day and make a positive difference. At the heart of Kevin’s message is a simple, yet powerful philosophy for life that drives every thought, every action and ultimately every result we achieve both personally and professionally. Your team will be motivated to reach beyond what is required and do something remarkable! This book is designed to help individuals and organizations: Achieve greater results by eliminating “ordinary" thinking and mastering the habit of excellence. Own the moments that matter (and they all matter) by taking responsibility for their attitude, their actions and their results.
  • Make Way for Play: Brilliant Benefits of Toys - Spanish Version

    ASTRA offers two versions of the Make Way for Play guide, one in English and one in Spanish, to serve your community. This guide illuminates the hidden benefits of toys and the skills that sprout to help kids grow and develop. The following section of this guide shines light on the cornerstones of child development. It explores how toys are perhaps the fastest and certainly the most fun way for a child to reach important milestones through physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional and sensory play experiences.

    image


    ASTRA offers two versions of the Make Way for Play guide, one in English and one in Spanish, to serve your community.

    Play is essential. Toys and play are to child development like sun and water are to plants. Play helps kids take root and thrive in their environment. This guide illuminates the hidden benefits of toys and the skills that sprout to help kids grow and develop. 

    Sections of this guide shines light on the cornerstones of child development. It explores how toys are perhaps the fastest and certainly the most fun way for a child to reach important milestones through physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional and sensory play experiences. So let the sun shine in on every child and help them grow to their fullest potential!

    This is the Spanish version of Make Way for Play: Brilliant Benefits of Toys (Da paso al juego: Los brillantes beneficios de juguetes). The translation and production of our Spanish Edition was made possible by a grant from the US Play Coalition to the ASTRA Foundation. 

  • ASTRA Toy Times Magazine

    View the ASTRA Toy Times Magazine issues at your own leisure!

    image
    ASTRA Toy Times Magazine is the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s quarterly magazine written for ASTRA member specialty toy professionals, including retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and affiliates. In addition to acting as a communication channel for providing association updates to the membership, ASTRA Toy Times strives to offer thought-provoking, relevant and timely articles and resources to support the ASTRA membership in accordance to ASTRA’s mission statement.
  • ASTRA Retail Analytics Report - 2019

    Having specific financial statistics from the specialty toy industry can help your business in lease negotiations, securing lines of credit and determining the areas that can provide you with the greatest return on your investment.

    "I love the way they take information and give me the benchmarks to compare against other stores like me. It gives me the places to look for more money in my business." --Gwen Ottenberg, Imagine That Toys, Wichita, KS


    In turbulent times, financial benchmarking information is more important than ever before. The best source of financial benchmarks for the specialty toy industry is the ASTRA Retailer Benchmarking Survey. The information in this report provides answers to questions such as, "are the most successful firms in a down market placing more emphasis on gross margin or expense control?"

    ASTRA members can purchase a summary report that provides a financial and operating profile of the entire industry that includes an explanatory webinar.  


    *ASTRA members that completed the benchmarking survey received a complimentary report for their participation.*

  • Do Good While Doing Business

    Meet Jeff Campion from Merchant Giving Project! This webinar will be a brief introduction into who he is, an overview of the Merchant Giving Project, and why retailers should get involved.

    The Merchant Giving Project (MGP) provides funding possibilities for charitable organizations through partnerships with retailers. In this package, we encourage you to watch the webinar by Jeff Campion, Founder and President of MGP, as well as listen to the testimonial podcasts from ASTRA retailers about their partnership with MGP. Tune in to learn how to do good while doing business.


    For more information about Merchant Giving Project, visit their website at https://www.merchantgivingproject.org/ or contact Jeff Campion: jeff@merchantgivingproject.org. 

  • Turning Challenge into Opportunity with Peter Sheahan

    Watch Peter Sheahan's presentation from ASTRA's 2018 Marketplace & Academy and stay up to date each month with new ideas from Peter on how to move from awareness to ownership and finding opportunity in disruption.

    Peter Sheahan is internationally known for his innovative business thinking and thought leadership. The keynote he presented at ASTRA's 2018 Marketplace & Academy was provocative, insightful, and packed full of real world examples that can shift the way you see your role and help you to find opportunities in change and disruption. 

    This package will share 12 actionable vignettes to help you navigate disruptive forces and turn it into competitive advantage. Register for this education package so that you are alerted when the monthly vignette is available. Peter will share the following content:

    1. Moving from Awareness to Ownership
    2. Moving from Agreement to Alignment
    3. Creating a Leadership Aspiration
    4. Creating Capacity through Deselection
    5. Defining vs. Enabling
    6. Intentionally Intervene
    7. Leverage vs. Control
    8. Burning Platform vs. Burning Desire
    9. The Opportunity is in the Disruption
    10. Move Towards the Edge of Disruption
    11. Lead the Customer into the Future
    12. Optimism
  • 2019 ASTRA Academy Recordings- ALL ACCESS

    Access to 3 video recorded breakout sessions including handouts/slides along with the Lunch & Learn and keynote presentations. Access to 4 audio recordings of Lightning Learning on the show floor are also included in this package.

    image

    If you attended ASTRA's 2019 Marketplace & Academy as a full conference registrant and were scanned into the session, you have been automatically registered to receive complimentary access. 

    If you are having trouble accessing the content please contact Cora McCarron, Education Administrator, via email: cmccarron@astratoy.org or phone: 312-222-0984. 

    If you did not attend the full conference but you are interested in reviewing the recorded sessions you can register for this product by clicking on the "Register" button included on the 2019 Marketplace & Academy Recordings page. 

    ·       The All Access Package is $99 for those that were not registered as full conference at Marketplace & Academy. 


    ASTRA and the education committee curated the following Marketplace & Academy sessions for recording and post-show viewing: 

    Sunday, 6/9 @ 10:15am: Compelling Connections: The Current of Influence | Tim Walsh

    Sunday, 6/9 @ 11:45am: Lunch & Learn: Lemonade Stand 2.0 - Secrets from Childhood for Succeeding in Business & Life | Jason Kotecki

    Sunday, 6/9 @ 1:00pm: Development through Delegation | Courtney Ramsey

    Sunday, 6/9 @ 2:15pm: Survival Strategies for Amazon.com | Ron Solomon

    Monday, 6/10 @ 10:00am: 3 Mistakes You Can Fix Tomorrow | Phil Wrzesinski (audio only)

    Monday, 6/10 @ 12noon: Top 3 Trends of Spielwarenmesse® | Schylon Hofmann (audio only)

    Monday, 6/10 @ 1:00pm: Try New Things to Market Yourself | Thom Singer (audio only)

    Monday, 6/10 @ 3:00pm: Top 5 Website Mistakes | Clinton Brady (audio only)

    Wednesday, 6/12 @ 8:30am: Creating Lasting Value | Yancey Strickler

  • Create Your Own Buzz: In-Store Event Planning

    Register for this webinar series to hear Megan's presentation from the Dallas Market Center, download materials shared and listen to her extended podcasts providing additional tips on planning in-store events.

    ASTRA hosted a brainstorming session on in-store events with Megan Philpott of Toodleydoo Toys from on Thursday, January 17 at the Dallas Market Center:

    With the craziness of the holidays behind you and a fresh year before you, it’s time to create your own buzz. Megan Philpott (@theplayfulgal) will share her expertise during an interactive brainstorming session. Together we will look at the 2019 calendar to see how to bring the people to you even when there is not a holiday in sight. Participants can expect to:

    • Learn how to look at a calendar with a fresh set of eyes
    • Glean valuable insight from community happenings
    • Brainstorm and network with like-minded people
    • Gain confidence with event sharing on social media

    Participants were able to walk away with Megan’s go-to event planning template, plus a calendar full of event ideas. 

    Register for this webinar series to hear Megan's presentation from the Dallas Market Center, download materials shared and listen to her extended podcasts providing additional tips on planning in-store events.