American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

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Resources

ASTRA recognizes that information and knowledge-sharing are crucial in the ever changing landscape of the specialty toy industry. To help meet this need, we provide valuable specialty toy industry management Resources to assist members. ASTRA works to maintain a collection of resources to give members the latest information about the specialty toy industry. These include access to guides for children with special needs, retailer performance analysis, podcasts, and blogs.

Podcast

  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 9 | Joyce Keelan of Great Pretenders
    Creative Education was established in 1989 when Joyce Keelan, an engineer and mother of three, could not find appealing, educational toys for her children. She started the business by creating the Pic-A-Puppet Velcro puppet kit that went on to win the prestigious Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s S.N.A.P. (Special Needs Adaptable Play) Award. Although this product is long since gone from the portfolio, it did inspire the name for the company and the focus on “Pretend Play” that forms the basis for the dress up costumes in the line today. Great Pretenders was born. Joyce still heads the financial, design and product development aspects of the company with 3 warehouses and over 40 employees globally.
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 8 | Robert Sheets of Mukikim
    Mukikim is a great toy manufacturer that has products across multiple toy categories. They have received multiple awards in the toy industry as well as in the music industry. Mukikim just received the ASTRA Best Toy For Kids Award for 2018! Hear from Robert Sheets, National Sales Manager in this Ready, Set, Play! podcast.
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 7 | Isabelle Richards
    Isabelle Richards holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has also completed her Level I training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Her years of clinical experience have taken her from preschools, schools, and advocacy agencies to medical clinics and rape crisis centers. She practices Child-centered Play Therapy and specializes in the importance of play.
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 6 | Greg Waples of University Games
    Listen in to learn about all things board games! Greg Waples is the Senior Vice President of Sales for University Games. He comes to the “gaming world” with a bit of a unique career path. He actually spent a lot of his time on the brand and marketing side of the business working for large companies like Procter & Gamble, Polaroid, and Jarden. However, Greg found his passion in the sales arena building smaller companies into larger ones and after stints where he had some very impressive growth numbers with companies like AT-A-Glance, Novelty Inc and Duncan he is now attempting to do the same with University Games.
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 5 | Cassidy Smith of Hape
    Live from ASTRA Marketplace and Academy with Cassidy Smith of Hape! He will tell us all the amazing things Hape has to offer and why their toys are so special. I will also introduce you to a few store owners from across the US. Don't forget to visit astratoy.org to find your neighborhood toy store!
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 4 | Daryl Mckay of Oyo Sports
    Daryl has been the president of Oyo Sports since 2013. Oyo Sports engages fans through licensed sports minifigures and building block field and play sets. The licenses they carry include MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, Colleges and auto racing.
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 3 | Nira Berry
    Nira is a motivational speaker, happiness coach and founder of LaughingRx laughter wellness programs. This podcast shares family happiness, laughing, and bringing joy to every day! You can find out more about Nira and LaughingRx Laughter Wellness Programs at https://www.laughingrx.net/
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 2 | Kimberly Mosley of ASTRA
    Join us every other week we will discuss different aspects of child development, play, parenting, and of course, toys. ASTRA member and retailer, Scott Friedland of Timeless Toys in Chicago, IL will talk with experts about why play is so important to kids and find out where to get the best toys to support child development.
  • Ready, Set, Play! Episode 1 | Intro
    Join us every other week we will discuss different aspects of child development, play, parenting, and of course, toys. ASTRA member and retailer, Scott Friedland of Timeless Toys in Chicago, IL will talk with experts about why play is so important to kids and find out where to get the best toys to support child development.
  • Toy Talks Episode 1 | Pointy: Be Found Locally
    Listen to ASTRA's first Toy Talks podcast with Caroline Brady of Pointy | Be Found Locally. Retailers, Jackie Anderson and Keith Schumacker, share their insights on the marketing tool and explain how the installment of Pointy has supported traffic, sales and marketing in their stores. Tune in to hear how you CAN get more traffic in your store with Pointy!

Publications

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