Tips for women who want to get into the furniture retail life.
Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90
I'm Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90 and it's all happening around me.
What's happening around me you ask? Educated young women, bless them, are happening around me and it's a wonderful blessing that I'm sure you out there are also experiencing.
Experiencing? Yes. Experiencing new forms of education, invention, and dedication. Wow-e-e! When my son, was sweating through law school his class at the university included three women. Three of them? Yep. Three women.
Now, I've learned that the college mix all over the country is something like seventy percent women... and a couple of surrounding guys.
In the female sphere of my personal family the mother, my daughter, is a recognized expert in senior care and life administration; her older daughter in her twenties has earned a Doctor's specialist signature in Physical Therapy and her sister a Phi Beta Kappa and a couple of years younger is very busy in a leading Chicago university delving into the hows and wherefores of senior age living.
I'm reporting and bragging and I'm positive you, too, have such women reports to register and be proud of.
Which brings me to the need for talented women in our game of retail management. Even in this day and age, there are too few women owners of retail furniture stores. Yet, there are talented, skilled women out there who dream being on their own entrepreneurial track but don't have enough startup capital to launch that dream. So-o-o, I propose they find another crystal gazer to partner with and then together track down a third dreamer to form a 3-person dream team to design and create a three woman-thinking-tank with one premise: "I can't do it myself but I can team up with two other talented women to create a mutual dream project."
I say they should search for women in the twenty-six to fifty-four age level (even with children) arid then talk, talk, talk and get to learn one another's retail life ambitions, capabilities and values. Today, with all the social networking possibilities out there, it’s a lot easier than it used to be.
They should then solo out to find an itty, bitty bank whose managing principals appreciate women talents; a bank that has experience in small entrepreneurial financing, and is proud of it. An honest bank management team that deals with hardworking, honest, dedicated, itty bitty people. A bank with unique experience that understands little people business needs and is willing to be an ex-officio member of the team. Anybody out there know of a bank like this? Lately they are hard to find!
So, you ask, what does an anxious trio have to do to get started? They have to agree, after open frank discussion, to put up an agreed cash sum and either have or bring in some financial accounting expertise. They have to crisscross their talents and experiences and be totally honest with each other. Women have an advantage over men in the honesty game anyway.
Additionally, they should write it all down in a business plan that includes everything from getting start-up cash, to finding a location, to how they will serve a unique need in their community, to how they will attract customers, ensure their satisfaction and turn a profit.
A-n-d it would be a plus, if two of them could carry a melody, and at least one play an instrument. At least that will give them something to do should their retail business turn temporarily slow. Though I have been told, that today, there is never down-time at retail because there are infinite possibilities for building email lists, getting followers on Facebook and Twitter, Blogging and writing and submitting articles on furniture related topics online.
All three must certainly add and subtract without a pocket computer, have at minimum partial credits on the way to a degree and have had work experience right after high school.
A-n-d of course, love to work hard and long.
Here is one more idea. They should all join WithIt (Women In The Home Furnishings Industry), an organization whose stated goal is to “to link people with knowledge, create situations for hands on learning, encourage industry dialogue and push the standards of a very competitive marketplace.” It’s a great organization to join for any woman who wants to find advice backed by experience, exemplary role models and mentors. Check out this organization at www.withit.org or contact Sara Lyke, Executive Director at 336-880-2188 email@example.com.
A-n-d here is another idea -- I am full of ideas today. Check out the website of Furniture World Magazine’s contributing editor Margo DeGange specifically designed for “women entrepreneurs in the furniture and design business” at http://www.margodegange.com. She writes for Furniture World about design and marketing topics… plus she gives seminars and webinars.
Finally, without exception, all three have to read Grandpa Mike-e-e's book on Retail Life; Chapters 1,2 and 3...at least twice.
Thanks, again, for listening.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90
Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. See the new YouTube music video staring me, Grandpa Mike-e-e! with my granddaughter Becca in a supporting role at http://bitly.com/qALkrX
About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)
Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.
Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.
Graduated high school at 16.
Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.
Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.
Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.
Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.
Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.
Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.
Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.
Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.
He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."
Retired from retail management at age 70.
BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.
Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home
Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.
At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.
Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,
IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.
At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.
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