ASTRA Academy


The Importance of Podcasts

Everyone loves a good story, and that’s what podcasts provide. They’re informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Some even come as manuals or tutorials, and those podcasts serve as helpful tools to our lives. ASTRA’s very own podcast, ‘Toy Talk’, has been created to support the educational programs for our membership while providing content for the greater ecosystem of the specialty toy industry. Our industry represents a world of entrepreneurs, and these conversational podcasts are created to illuminate trends on topics such as children and play, business operations, sales and marketing, financial management, and the industry trends! Additionally featured on this page are curated podcast feeds that may be used as interdisciplinary tools when expanding your ideas of what the power of play means to you

Toy Talk

Toy Talk covers all things ASTRA. Each episode features voices from ASTRA staff, members, and other industry professionals to provide insights of what you need to know now and why you need to know it. Tune in and gain the tools to better your business. This podcast is brought to you by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association.
  • Toy Talk | Jennifer Rust and Lynn Ross on COVID-19 Retail Operations
    Jennifer Rust of Creative Profit Planning and her client, Lynn Ross of Mother and Earth Baby Boutique in Lansing, MI, discuss their known methods that independent retailers have been implementing to maximize their profits during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the financial foundations necessary to stay afloat.
  • Toy Talk | Jamie Gallagher on COVID-19
    Jamie Gallagher, CEO of Faber-Castell, shares some insights of how this almost 260-year-old company has constructed a plan of action with the disruption of COVID-19 as a manufacturer and global player in the specialty toy industry.
  • Toy Talk: A Continued Conversation | Rick Derr on COVID-19 | March 27, 2020
    We are joined again by Rick Derr of Learning Express in Lake Zurich, Illinois, to follow up on our conversation from a week prior. What has Rick learned in the last week; how have sales changed and have any new mandates or precautions set by the state arisen?


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In "The Happiness Lab" podcast, Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness. 

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In each episode of "Exchanges at Goldman Sachs," people from the firm share their insights on developments shaping industries, markets and the global economy. Keep your business fresh and adaptable with these experts.

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“Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” by Thom Singer explores the gap between potential and results in business. Gain motivation, ideas, inspiration, and the chance to learn from people who are living their dreams as an entrepreneur.

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From the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, “The Brain Architects” illuminates how improving children’s environments, relationships, and experiences early in life, society can address many costly problems.