American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

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  • 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.

  • 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


    Did you find this information helpful?


    Please login to access this poll.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan: What You Need to Know

    Listen to this recorded webinar with a qualified SCORE representative from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to find out how the "Economic Injury Disaster Loan" may help your business.


    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering a low-interest federal disaster loan to small businesses suffering economic hardships as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). These loans are known as the “Economic Injury Disaster Loan” (EIDL), and you are likely eligible!

    Listen to SCORE and an SBA lender specialist in this archived webinar regarding the small business COVID-19 disaster relief loan. This webinar will provide you with answers and help you understand who is eligible for an SBA disaster (EIDL) loan and what you need to have in-hand before filing your application. Approximately 30 minutes of this webinar is an overview of the disaster loan (EIDL) while 60 minutes was dedicated to Q&A for specific audience questions. 

    Gene Murtha

    SCORE | Volunteer Mentor & Regional Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic Region

    Gene Murtha has over 40 years in general management, marketing, sales and product development within the toy, games and gift industries. Gene’s corporate background includes 16 years at Mattel in various executive roles, both in the US and abroad. He served as General Manager of Mattel UK and Ireland, ran the Toys-r-Us Customer Business Team for Mattel, opened markets in China, Japan, India and Eastern Europe.Gene also has experience as an entrepreneur, having started and run Main Street Toy company the 1990’s. There he developed and marketed many successful products including Slap Wraps, one of the hottest fads of the ‘90’s. In one capacity or another, Gene estimates he has brought over 7,000 concepts to market, managing many mega-hit properties such as Star Wars, Cabbage Patch Kids, Trivial Pursuit and Tickle Me Elmo. He joined SCORE in 2011 and has served as a volunteer mentor, and as a Regional VicePresident for the Mid-Atlantic States. As a mentor for small businesses, Gene has served hundreds of aspiring start-up, and counseled existing business owners on sales growth in a variety of industries. Gene holds various patents, is fluent in Spanish and currently resides with his wife in Easton, PA, 60 miles outside of New York City.

    Shannon Degiglio

    U.S. Small Business Administration | Lender Relations & Economic Development Specialist

    For more  information concerning SBA and its programs visit our website at: www.sba.gov/disaster

    Don Jefferson

    U.S. Small Business Administration

    For more  information concerning SBA and its programs visit our website at: www.sba.gov/disaster

  • COVID-19 Conversation Circle

    Recorded On: 03/23/2020

    Listen to ASTRA and industry peers on an open conference call recording where the discussion of operational and tactical responses to COVID-19 were shared.

    During these unprecedented times, ASTRA and industry peers gathered together on an open conference call to discuss the operational and tactical responses to COVID-19. This open conference call took place on Monday, March 23, 2020 @ 10:30am CST.

    A big thank you to the following industry colleagues and ASTRA members for sharing their insights:

    Christine Blumberg, Roberts Blumberg Giacobbe
    Jennifer Rust, Creative Profit Planning
    Nicole Bortnick, BGN Sales 
    Rob Pickering, Snapdoodle Toys and Games
    Sari Wiaz, Baby Paper

  • Reboot Your Online Policies

    Join Ron Solomon and Marc Maybee in discussing brand compliance efforts; specifically, why these efforts fail, why they succeed, and how to improve compliance overall!

    In this webinar Ron Solomon, CEO of Mapp Trap, and Marc Maybee, Director of Brand Compliance, review brand compliance efforts. In this helpful webinar, Ron and Marc cover: the reasons policies fail; business policies and procedures to reduce brands unauthorized listings; strategies to prevent third-party sellers from relying on the first sale doctrine to defend their activities; a helpful checklist of useful policies and tools to protect the brand and fight potential threats; and how to create and implement a solid policy strategy. 

    Ron Solomon

    Mapp Trap CEO

    Marc Maybee

    Mapp Trap Director of Brand Compliance

  • [CLONE] The HERO Effect: Being Your Best When It Matters The Most! By Kevin Brown

    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. Registration of this product includes purchase and shipment of the book, as well as continued book discussions on ASTRA Connect.

    We are excited to share The HERO Effect: Being Your Best When It Matters the Most! written by Kevin Brown, ASTRA's 2020 Marketplace & Academy keynote speaker. Purchase your copy of The HERO Effect through ASTRA Academy before heading to Marketplace & Academy in June. The registration fee includes purchase and shipment of the book, as well as continued book discussions on ASTRA Connect.

    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.
  • 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