American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

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  • Diversity & Social Justice: A Starting Place

    Includes a Live Web Event on 07/22/2020 at 11:00 AM (CDT)

    Join this webinar to reflect on how you fit into the conversation of diversity. Our experiences, choices, and impact, both intentional and unintentional, matter. This is the starting place.


    This webinar will introduce the concepts that you can utilize in your own life immediately. Regardless of your identity and lived experiences, the concept of how we coexist, interact, and impact one another is imperative to build better teams, better connections, and deeper relationships.

    Join this webinar to reflect on how you fit into the conversation of diversity. Coming to terms with our own unique positive and negative bias as well as how that intersects with our responsibility of perception and sense of entitlement to validation is the foundation of social justice work. Our experiences, choices, and impact, both intentional and unintentional, matter. This is the starting place.

    This webinar will be followed by a discussion led by Jessica Pettitt of Good Enough Now and Azhelle Wade of The Toy Coach.  

    Learning Outcomes

    * Recognizing difference and engagement habits;

    * Personal reflection and seeking out new experiences;

    * Feeling safe and prepared;

    * Conscious and Unconscious Bias, both positive and negative;

    * Recruitment, Retention, and Fit; and

    * The role of Curiosity, Generosity, Authenticity, Vulnerability.


    Azhelle Wade

    info@thetoycoach.com

    Throughout my 10 year career in toys, I've married my natural design abilities and entrepreneurial fascination to become an innovator and creative leader. My friends know me as a woman working in the world of toys and fashion, who always has a new business venture or marketing concept. I’ve invented 3 patented toys, established efficient global development processes, as well as directed the re-branding of multi-million dollar product lines.

    After surviving a cancer scare, I decided time waits for no woman and invented the 100 Ways To Wear, Convertible Snap Dress by Costumize Me LLC. A few times a year, you can find me at salsa dance festivals across the globe, building a sense of awareness and community around the convertible event wear brand. I'm currently in the process of flipping that business from B2C to B2B. Check out costumizeme.com for more!

    President of thetoycoach.com, an online resource targeted to shed light on the toy industry for innovators and entrepreneurs with a passion for toy and game products. My podcast, Making It In The Toy Industry, supports the site with QA sessions, interviews, and creative tips.

    Listen to my podcast, Making It in The Toy Industry here > www.makingitinthetoyindustry.c...

    Jessica Pettitt, CSP

    www.goodenoughnow.com

    jess@goodenoughnow.com 

    Jessica Pettitt, M.Ed., CSP, pulls together her stand up comedy years with 15+ years of diversity trainings in a wide range of organizations to serve groups to move from abstract fears to actionable habits that lead teams to want to work together. With a sense of belonging and understanding, colleagues take more risks with their ideation, converse precious resources through collaboration, and maintain real connections with clients over time.

  • CPSC's New Age Determination Guidelines: How Do They Affect Your Products?

    Recorded On: 07/01/2020

    The new CPSC guidelines provide age-grading information for a variety of consumer products used by children based on their skills, play behaviors and interests. Learn the differences between the 2002 and 2020 guidelines and how these new regulations will affect your products as a manufacturer and retailer.


    In January of 2020, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published the 2020 Age Determination Guidelines: Relating Consumer Product Characteristics to the Skills, Play Behaviors, and Interests of Children.

    These guidelines provide age-grading information for a variety of consumer products used by children based on the skills, play behaviors and interests of children in particular age groups. This enables manufacturers to more accurately develop, label and promote consumer products for children.

    These new CPSC guidelines became effective on June 1, 2020 and supersede the 2002 Age Determination Guidelines. Of note, the scope of these guidelines has expanded beyond toys into a variety of consumer products that may be used by children.

    In this webinar, you will learn about:

    ·       The differences between the 2002 and 2020 guidelines

    ·       How these differences may affect your products

    ·       What these differences mean for retailers


    Susan DeRagon

    QIMA.com

    susan.deragon@qima.com

    info@qima.com 

    Susan DeRagon is a Senior Technical Consultant at QIMA. With over 30 years of experience, she is a leading quality and safety expert on various consumer products including children’s products, apparel, food contact items and understands the unique challenges of promotional and licensed goods. Susan has conducted numerous technical seminars and webinars globally and works closely with companies to provide the highest level of quality service in the areas of regulatory compliance, product testing, safety assessments, production quality control and assurance, and product inspections.

    Ms. DeRagon is an active member of The Toy Association and ASTM International, participating on several consumer product standards committees. She is also a member of PPAI’s Product Responsibility Action Group (PRAG) and a previous member of the Board of Directors for ICPHSO, the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): An Overview

    Recorded On: 06/29/2020

    This webinar will provide an overview of the various types of PPE products including face masks and discuss the testing requirements that are in place to ensure the safety.


    Personal protective equipment (PPE) has become an important part of our lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, with items such as face masks and goggles providing a defense against particles that may cause infection for members of the public.

    This webinar will provide an overview of the various types of PPE products including face masks and discuss the testing requirements that are in place to ensure safety.

    In this webinar, you will learn:

    ·       Non-medical PPE with a focus on cloth face coverings

    ·       Testing requirements for PPE, including Prop 65


    Susan DeRagon

    QIMA.com

    susan.deragon@qima.com

    info@qima.com 

    Susan DeRagon is a Senior Technical Consultant at QIMA. With over 30 years of experience, she is a leading quality and safety expert on various consumer products including children’s products, apparel, food contact items and understands the unique challenges of promotional and licensed goods. Susan has conducted numerous technical seminars and webinars globally and works closely with companies to provide the highest level of quality service in the areas of regulatory compliance, product testing, safety assessments, production quality control and assurance, and product inspections.

    Ms. DeRagon is an active member of The Toy Association and ASTM International, participating on several consumer product standards committees. She is also a member of PPAI’s Product Responsibility Action Group (PRAG) and a previous member of the Board of Directors for ICPHSO, the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization.

  • Coffee Talk with Kim

    Bring your cup of coffee and join ASTRA’s president, Kim Mosley along with an industry peer each Friday at 10am Central for “Coffee Talk with Kim”.

    We all miss our regular morning routine, and maybe for you that also included coffee and conversation with colleagues. Bring your cup of coffee and join ASTRA’s president, Kim Mosley along with an industry peer each Friday at 10am Central for “Coffee Talk with Kim”. These candid conversations will provide insights on the industry to help wrap up your week.

  • Superfandom: How to Create, Maintain & Utilize Your Most Hardcore Fans

    In this package, Zoe Fraade-Blanar, founder of Squishable, shares a two-part webinar on how the influence of fans can support your business.

    Join Zoe Fraade-Blanar in this two-part webinar for an in-depth exploration into how our obsessions are changing what we buy and who we are. Learn how the Internet influences the behaviors of large groups of people in the new "fandom-based economy." Fan pressures hold more clout than ever before as they demand a say in shaping the future of the things they love. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Use this content as a guide for those who care, contribute to, and live in this rapidly expanding fan-driven universe.

    This package includes:

    - Part 1 | Stark Raving Fans: Creating, Encouraging and Guiding Extreme Fan Behavior

    - Part 2 | Well-Mannered Fans: Building, Maintaining and Supporting Fan Group Structures

     

  • Navigating Your Business Through COVID-19

    Recorded On: 06/17/2020

    In this webinar, attendees will learn the importance of each of these topics along with valuable principles, tools, and ideas to help identify the key challenges and opportunities for your business while inspiring the actions you can take to not just survive, but thrive during this time.


    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever current business owners and executives are looking for ways to navigate their businesses through these challenging and unpredictable times. To do this successfully requires mental strength, focus and anticipation of business scenarios, proactive financial planning, the ability to identify and pursue new opportunities, and active planning for the future. In this webinar, attendees will learn the importance of each of these topics along with valuable principles, tools, and ideas to help identify the key challenges and opportunities for your business while inspiring the actions you can take to not just survive, but thrive during this time.  


    Ken Malouf

    President & Owner | Game Time Strategies, LLC

    ken@gametimestrategies.com

    Ken Malouf is the President and Owner of Game Time Strategies, an executive business coaching and leadership development company, and a Wharton MBA.  As a trusted advisor and elite business coach, Ken partners with business owners and executives, from small companies to large organizations, empowering and inspiring them with the tools, insights, and ideas that accelerate them to their goals.   With over 20 years of business management experience at top companies like Nestle and Disney, including over 10 years in the toy industry as an executive at toy companies like Jakks Pacific, Uncle Milton, and Basic Fun, Ken knows what it takes to build and grow successful businesses and brands in the dynamic toy industry.  As a certified FocalPoint coach, Ken is also part of an elite network of business coaches worldwide, with access to a proven and proprietary coaching system used with companies around the world and created by well-known author, entrepreneur and public speaker, Brian Tracy.  Through his coaching, Ken helps business leaders bring out the best in their businesses and themselves, helping them get the most from their time, team, and resources, reduce frustration and stress, and better define, build and take strategies and actions that will propel them to their goals.

  • Retail Roadmap to Financial Success

    Access this 6 step framework from Jennifer Rust of Creative Profit Planning to understand how to make your business profitable and put more cash in your pocket.


    Isn't it time to get your retail business working for you? Blast through the distractions and common myths and learn the smartest way to build a profitable business so you can pay yourself more and worry less about paying your bills. The Retail Roadmap to Financial Success gives you access to a 6 step framework from Jennifer Rust of Creative Profit Planning to understand how to make your business profitable and put more cash in your pocket. 

    This is unit 1 of a full 7-week guided course compliments of Creative Profit Planning. Learn more!

    Guided Course Schedule:

    • Week 1: An overview of the components that make your store profitable

    • Week 2: Demystifying Your Financial Statements. Understanding How to read them and where cash can be hiding in invisible expenses.

    • Week 3: When will I truly be cash flow positive (or have ___ dollars in cash profit in my business? The art of developing a breakeven plan.

     Week 4: Implementation week.

    • Week 5: Pricing for profit…the exact formula that will make your store profitable and how to use it.

    • Week 6: Understanding Inventory Turnover. Calculating it in your business and using it to improve cash flow.

    • Week 7: The Basics of Creating an OTB plan.

    Jennifer Rust

    CEO | Creative Profit Planning

    Experienced Chief Executive Officer and Financial Coach with a demonstrated history of helping companies become profitable and stay profitable. Years of personal experience in owning a retail business and working with retail stores has provided a proven history of success in building and maintaining profit in retail businesses. Skilled in Budgeting, Tax Preparation, Banking, Retail, and Sales. Strong business development professional with a BBA focused in Accounting from Siena College.

  • Preparing for Any Economy: 7 Tips for Business Success

    Listen to Thom Singer share 7 tips to prepare for business success in any economy.


    It was not long ago that the economy was booming, and now we are in a global pandemic and looking at rising unemployment and a possible recession. It is amazing how fast things can change. But there are business tips in any economy that will help you in beating a recession. The unknown is how long the recession will last or what sectors will be impacted the most. Listen to this presentation from Thom Singer on his 7 business tips for any economy. Are you prepared to beat a recession?

    Thom Singer

    The Conference Catalyst

    https://thomsinger.com/who-is-thom-singer/

  • CommentSold, LLC: Seamless Live Online Shopping

    Recorded On: 04/22/2020

    ASTRA Board Chair-Elect, Amy Saldanha of kiddywampus, and ASTRA Affiliate, Anita Demetropoulos of Anita M Demetropoulos Small Business Consultant, discuss the innovative resource they've been utilizing to sell online: CommentSold.

    Listen to ASTRA Board Chair-Elect, Amy Saldanha of kiddywampus, and ASTRA Affiliate, Anita Demetropoulos of Anita M Demetropoulos Small Business Consultant, as they discuss the innovative resource they've been utilizing to sell online: CommentSold. CommentSold offers an amazing "live shopping" experience that has proven to be successful for Amy and Anita's small business clients. In this webinar archive, Amy and Anita will share how they've utilized CommentSold beyond this "live shopping" feature, and how business has been impacted since utilizing CommentSold. 

    Anita Demotropoulos

    Anita M Demotropoulos Small Business Consultant

    anitamd67@gmail.com

    Amy Saldanha

    kiddywampus

    amy@kiddywampus.com

    https://www.facebook.com/kiddywampus 

    Micah Taylor

    Overview of CommentSold: https://try.commentsold.com/

    If you are interested in learning more about CommentSold, contact Micah:

    micah.taylor@commentsold.com
    817-874-8648
    Schedule a Meeting with Micah: https://calendly.com/cs-aes/discovery-call-micah?month=2020-04&date=2020-04-20

  • COVID-19 Impact on Independent Retailing

    Download the report from Industry Insights on the impact of independent retail during COVID-19.


    Industry Insights works with a variety of businesses and associations to gather data that is useful for marketing, communications and understanding the customer. They have worked with ASTRA on our Benchmarking Surveys/Retail Analytics Report and provided us the opportunity to participate in their recent survey on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our members and other independent retailers across the nation.

    There was a total of 1,542 completed surveys from 30 independent retailing sectors. 127 ASTRA members participated (50% retailers). 

    · Among ASTRA members responding, 94.5% expect the coronavirus to have a very negative or somewhat negative impact on their revenues this year

    · About 23.6% of ASTRA members have major concerns about the long-term viability of their company due to the coronavirus

    · About 50% made major or moderate staff reductions, the other half have seen no impact on staffing. On average, ASTRA members have implemented about a 73% staff reduction. However, 64.3% have sought or will seek to apply for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program

    · About 50% of ASTRA members are planning to apply for an Economic Impact Disaster Loan (EIDL)

    · A majority of ASTRA members, 72%, anticipate their company’s day-to-day operations will return to pre-COVID-19 status in six months or less


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