American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

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  • Kids Insights Interview: Arts & Crafts

    Recorded On: 09/28/2020

    Business Development Director, Ahren Hoffman interviews Tanya Sarakinis, Business Development Director--North America of Kids Insights on the soaring demand of arts and crafts and their uplifting benefits during a pandemic.


    One hobby that has seen a significant increase in the US is arts and crafts, which is now the second most popular hobby after video gaming. Kids Insights data has shown that there has been a 62% increase in June-July of 2020 in Arts & Crafts as a hobby, and has seen it increase above drawing.

    The pandemic has led to an increase in anxiety among kids, however it also shows the role that hobbies, games and toys can play in not only helping children develop, but also cope with unprecedented circumstances.

    Each week Kids Insights continues to survey 400 children to identify latest trends and help brands understand what the new and evolving normal is like, to help them improve ROI across advertising & media, content, licensing, marketing, product development and sales.

    To download Kids Insights complimentary reports  & get access to the demo version of their  real-time data portal, visit http://www.kidsinsights.com/AS... . Please note, 10% discount is now available  for all ASTRA members on an annual subscription to Kids Insights US and Kids Insights Canada.

    Tanya Sarakinis

    Business Development Director

    tanya@theinsightspeople.com

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ta...

    We are the global leader in kids, parents and family market intelligence, and we have an unrivaled ability to understand their attitudes, behaviors and consumption. Our role is to translate our expertise and insight into your business in a highly accessible way to help you boost your performance. 

  • DEI | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

    Recorded On: 09/23/2020

    This space is a place for conversation and learning around diversity, equity and inclusion for members of the specialty toy industry.

    We acknowledge that this DEI space is not reflective of where we currently are as an organization or an industry. It is, however, reflective of where we need to be in order to accomplish our vision of changing the world through the power of play. 

    While we are making strides as an industry to promote representation, this is a continuous effort. Being committed to DEI means that ASTRA will constantly assess our organizational values and model our responsibility to do better as an industry. 

    Connect with this page to keep updated on new conversations, downloads, webinars and resources to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    ASTRA staff strive to apply the principles of diversity, equity and inclusiveness (DEI) throughout everything we do. 

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Never doubt that a 
    small group of 
    thoughtful committed 
    citizens can 
    change the world; 
    Indeed it's the only 
    thing that ever has. 
    -Margaret Mead

    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.

    Mikaela Wingard-Phillips

    Operations Manager

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikaelawp/

    info@mathnificent.com

    A 36-year old Seattle native who's lived in 3 countries and speaks English, French, German, and a little Spanish, Mikaela (she/her(s)) is passionate about play, education, social justice, womxn's sports, representation, and creating more space for those who feel they have to shrink or diminish themselves in order to survive in this world. Mikaela grew up in retail doing odd jobs for her mother Gini's store, Math 'n' Stuff. Fast forward 20 years -- after a few curves in the road to teaching, Mikaela found a home in educational/play retail at her mother's store and has invested in growing the business and expanding the product selection to be more inclusive to all folks who might happen through the door. Creating space where a person has a chance to feel seen, heard, valued, and celebrated for exactly who they are is a transforming experience; I've seen it first hand.

    In Mikaela's free-time (HA, what free time?), she enjoys Ultimate frisbee, movies, games, building LEGO, playing with her 5 nibblets (gender-neutral term for her siblings' kiddos), going on walks with her wife, Amanda, and eating and drinking the best food and drink Seattle and the world have to offer.

    Next adventure: returning to Europe with Amanda (post-COVID, of course) and traveling together to visit the cities we each lived in.

  • ASTRA Camp™ 2020: Adventure Academy

    Recorded On: 08/12/2020

    Review education sessions from ASTRA Camp™ 2020 presented by subject matter experts and come away with practical ideas to implement right away.

    ASTRA launched the ASTRA Camp™ experience, a creative reimagining of the virtual trade show and conference. This two-week virtual event held on August 4, 5, 6 and August 11, 12, 13 invited the specialty toy industry to take part in an adventure packed with opportunities to discover new products and manufacturers, connect with fellow campers, and gain new business insights into navigating the 2020 Q4 wilderness. 

    Adventure Academy education sessions were recorded for on-demand learning. 

    If you attended ASTRA Camp™ as an attendee or manufacturer, you have been automatically registered to receive complimentary access. 

    ASTRA and the education committee worked to produce and record the following sessions from ASTRA Camp™ for on-demand viewing:

    --The Toy Industry: Adapting to Transformative Times | Nick Richardson, CEO of Kids Insights

    --Rethinking Sales Management | Dave Fellman, President of David Fellman & Associates

    --4 Easy Steps to Find the Hidden Cash in Your Business | Jennifer Rust, CEO of Creative Profit Planning

    --Build & Grow Your E-Commerce Catalog | David Castillo, Vice President of The Red Balloon Toy Store

    --Free Ways to Use Facebook & LinkedIn to Generate More Sales | Tami Wloch, Social Media Director of Strategic & Creative Marketing Inc. 

    If you need assistance accessing content or have questions related to ASTRA Camp™ Adventure Academy content, please contact: Ahren Hoffman | ahoffman@astratoy.org | 312-222-0984

    David Castillo

    Vice President | The Red Balloon


    d.cast@redballoontoystore.com

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/da...

    David Castillo has worked in the specialty toy industry since 2004 with the family business, The Red Balloon Toy Store. After graduating college in 2014, he joined his father in running the family business as Vice President. David’s passion for number crunching, technology, and problem solving combined with his dad’s years of experience, relations, and love for toys has seen the family business grow to 5 locations in Utah.

    David spent 4 years as a volunteer board member for the Utah Chapter of Huntington’s Disease Society of America. He was also a member of ASTRA’s Technology Committee and is currently serving as a member of ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids Award Committee.

    David is a proud father to 2 children, Harper and Bennett, and husband to his selfless wife, Kristin. He loves to share how becoming a father has turned him into a more loyal advocate and customer of The Red Balloon Toy Store.

    Dave Fellman

    President | David Fellman & Associates


    dmf@davefellman.com

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/da... 

    David M. Fellman is the president of David Fellman & Associates, Raleigh NC, a sales & marketing consulting firm serving numerous segments of Small Business America. He is the author of The Small Business Book: 10 Ways To Make Your Small Business More Successful and Listen To The Dinosaur, which Selling Power magazine listed as one of its “10 Best Books To Read in 2010.” His articles on sales, marketing and management topics have appeared in a variety of publications, and he is a popular speaker who has delivered seminars and keynotes at events across the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

    Jennifer Rust

    CEO | Creative Profit Planning

    jennifer@creativeprofitplanning.com

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/je...

    Jennifer Rust is the CEO of Creative Profit Planning, a former retail store owner and a seasoned CPA. She works to develop roadmaps to profitability for independent retail stores, guiding them down the path to resolution of their financial challenges and putting more money in the pockets of her clients.

    Jennifer has lived and breathed what you are experiencing on a personal level in her own retail business and shared in many financial challenges through the eyes of hundreds of diverse small businesses in her accounting practice. Jennifer now she shares that knowledge with the entrepreneurs who are willing to commit to tightening their belts, following a plan, and opening their eyes and hearts to the possibility of what financial freedom could look like in their businesses. Her clients consist of a diverse group of retail stores both large and small in all areas of the United States. She is a proud Affiliate of Management One and ASTRA.

    Nick Richardson

    CEO | Kids Insights


    nick@theinsightspeople.com 

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/mr...

    Nick the founder and CEO of Kids Insights, the global leader in kids, tweens and teens market intelligence. He has established himself as a go-to expert on kids' insights and regularly speaks at events in the UK, Europe and the US. Nick has set out to change the way in which market intelligence is conducted, enabling clients to make informed decisions and developed strategies based on real insights, in real-time. Nick holds a BA in marketing and an MBA. You can find him on Twitter @nickrmarketing and @kidsinsights. 

    Kids Insights surveys more than 4,000 children per week across 3 continents and 11 countries or more than 200,000 children per year. They are the global leader in kids' market intelligence and they have an unrivaled ability to understand their attitudes, behaviors and consumption of the next generation of consumers. 

    Tami Wloch

    Social Media Director | Strategic & Creative Marketing Inc.

    tami@scmarketinginc.com 

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ta...

    For over 15 years, Tami has been providing Marketing services for companies, utilizing her expertise in Social Media, PR, TradeShows, Radio/TV/Newspaper, print, and more.  Because of her successes with Social Media Campaigns, she now serves on Advisory Boards for both Facebook Corp & LinkedIn Corp.  She is helping shape the future of Social Media by beta testing & evaluating current & future products & services.  In addition, she is certified in both SEO & Google Analytics. 

    She teaches classes both in the US and internationally to help people understand the complex world of gaining customers thru Social Platforms - this can be a very inexpensive Marketing tool if used correctly.  Her classes contain hands-on techniques so attendees can implement changes & get immediate results.  She welcomes feedback and questions from the attendees during all sessions so attendees can get their questions answered.

  • Kids Insights Interview: $3.76B Annual Spending

    Recorded On: 07/29/2020

    Member relations director, Sue Warfield interviews Nick Richardson, CEO of Kids Insights on this generation of kids having more financial means, empowerment, and freedom than any previous generation.


    This generation of kids is like no other. The size of the kid market continues to grow, and according to the latest Kids Insights data, US children are receiving $3.76B a year to spend as they wish, and with a growing number of children using Debit cards, they have more financial means, empowerment, and freedom than any previous generation.

    We speak to Nick Richardson, the CEO of Kids Insights, who survey more than 400 US kids every week, or 21,000 a year since 2018. They survey a further 180,000 kids a year across Brazil, Mexico, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, and Australia.

    To download Kids Insights complimentary reports  & get access to the demo version of their  real-time data portal, visit http://www.kidsinsights.com/AS... . Please note, 10% discount is now available  for all ASTRA members on an annual subscription to Kids Insights US and Kids Insights Canada.

    Nick Richardson

    CEO | Kids Insights


    nick@theinsightspeople.com 

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/mr...

    Nick the founder and CEO of Kids Insights, the global leader in kids, tweens and teens market intelligence. He has established himself as a go-to expert on kids' insights and regularly speaks at events in the UK, Europe and the US. Nick has set out to change the way in which market intelligence is conducted, enabling clients to make informed decisions and developed strategies based on real insights, in real-time. Nick holds a BA in marketing and an MBA. You can find him on Twitter @nickrmarketing and @kidsinsights. 

    Kids Insights surveys more than 4,000 children per week across 3 continents and 11 countries or more than 200,000 children per year. They are the global leader in kids' market intelligence and they have an unrivaled ability to understand their attitudes, behaviors and consumption of the next generation of consumers. 

  • The COVID-19 Business Survival Guide

    In this program, you'll discover seven proven strategies to help you survive the current situation and position yourself for even greater success when we come out on the other end of the restrictions and economic fallout of the pandemic.


    The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually every part of our lives. And while most of us are not affected physically, the implications of "shelter at home" orders, mandatory telecommuting, and travel restrictions have significantly impacted our businesses in ways that would have seemed unimaginable just a few short months ago.

    This program was designed to help you deal with the challenges of this unprecedented situation, recognize the unique opportunities it offers, and take immediate steps to continue providing enjoyment, meaning, and fulfillment in your customers' lives.

    In this program, you'll discover seven proven strategies to help you survive the current situation and position yourself for even greater success when we come out on the other end of the restrictions and economic fallout of the pandemic.

    Learning Objectives:

    • The critical importance of connecting with your customers
    • How to incorporate new markets, new products, and new delivery methods
    • Shifting from "physical" to "virtual" in some parts of your business
    • How to use your "downtime" to retool your business for the future
    • Taking advantage of opportunities for personal development
    • The keys to success when you have to work from home
    • Identifying the next steps in your plan for success

    Program dates available:

    •  Monday, 13 July 2020, 10:00 AM Central
    •  Wednesday, 15 July 2020, 7:00 PM Central
    •  Monday, 20 July 2020, 10:00 AM Central
    •  Wednesday, 22 July 2020, 7:00 PM Central
    •  Monday, 27 July 2020, 10:00 AM Central
    •  Wednesday, 29 July 2020, 7:00 PM Central

    Ron Rosenberg

    https://www.ronrosenbergspeaker.com/contact 

    Ron Rosenberg is an award-winning speaker, author, and coach. He is a nationally recognized expert on marketing and customer service, has authored several books and learning systems, and leads high-level marketing and business development coaching programs.

    Ron has presented thousands of presentations to businesses and associations serving a wide range of industries and professions. During his professional speaking career of over 26 years, he has presented thousands of events to nearly 95,000 people in industries including retail, self-storage, funeral, nursery and landscape, medical and dental, and many others.

    Ron has also worked with groups that serve minority and woman-owned businesses, community rehabilitation programs, early childhood education, and military families, and has spoken for many meeting-planning, association-management and destination-management groups and nearly 50 association chapter leadership events. 

    In 2000, Ron was awarded the “Certified Speaking Professional” designation by the National Speakers Association, and he was a winner of the prestigious “Marketer of the Year” award at the International Marketing Summit. He holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University.

  • 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.