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Reflecting on Our Debut at ASTRA 2023: A Journey of Growth and Connection

Dear Joeydolls Community,

As we gear up for another exciting ASTRA toy show, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our unforgettable experience at ASTRA 2023. It was our first time stepping into this renowned event, and the nerves were palpable. But amidst the excitement and anticipation, we were fortunate to embark on a truly special journey.

One highlight of our time at ASTRA was the incredible opportunity to participate in the inaugural Toy Coach Showcase, curated by the esteemed Azhelle Wade, also known as The Toy Coach. Being among fellow entrepreneurs and inventors from The Toy Coach Academy (TCA) was inspiring, and Azhelle’s unwavering support helped ease any imposter syndrome feelings we had.

Connecting with retailers for the first time was a pivotal moment for us. While surrounded by established brands like Connetix and Melissa and Doug, we found confidence in our unique mission. Our dolls may have been new to the scene, but they carry a story and a mission unlike any other, one centered around diversity, and inclusion, especially for the Asian community, but in turn creating a better world for all.

At ASTRA, we were heartened to engage with like-minded individuals who share our passion for diversity and inclusion in the toy industry. Whether chatting with fellow manufacturers, entrepreneurs, or inventors, the sense of camaraderie was truly uplifting.

The aftermath of ASTRA brought forth a wave of enthusiasm and support. The reorders that followed, particularly during the bustling holiday season, were a testament to the impact of our showcase. It was heartening to hear that customers were eagerly seeking out our dolls, even prompting searches for Joeydolls as the top query in many stores across North America.

This year, we’re thrilled to return to ASTRA, this time with our own booth at booth 110 in St. Louis, Missouri. Our journey continues, and we’re excited to forge new connections and support small local retailers across North America. We wholeheartedly believe in the experience of local toy stores and the unique stories they inspire.

Speaking of stories, visiting our retail partners has been a highlight for us. From Treasure Island Toys in Toronto to Child’s Play in Washington DC, and even The Magical World of Toys in Savannah. Each store holds a special place in our hearts. These visits not only allow us to connect with our partners but also to witness firsthand the joy and excitement our dolls bring to customers.

As we look forward to ASTRA 2024, we remain committed to our mission of spreading joy, fostering inclusion, and supporting small businesses. Join us on this journey, and let’s continue to make a difference together.

With gratitude, Samantha Ong Founder, Joeydolls

P.S. Discover our growing list of retail partners and join us in supporting small businesses: Link to Retail Partners. Learn more about ASTRA and join us at the upcoming show: ASTRA Toy Show.

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