First in a series of columns by Michael Greene (aka Grandpa Mike-e-e). This installment explains why the phrase "home furnishings" as applied to our industry is a misnomer. Here's why.
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Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)
Now's the right time for an awesome, look-at-us-industry move! It hit me smack in the middle of a sweet 3 a.m. dream featuring my darling Bubbila... my love of seventy-two years.. .who is awesome too! Wow-e-e! "
"OK! OK! Michael," you moan. "So what is it that shook you up on your king-size mattress at three in the early morning mist?"
"Simple, my friend. I'm idea-ing, suggesting and proposing that the overall label of our joint conglomeration, our great industry and great people, be changed -pronto!- from 'home furnishings' to simply 'interior environment.' 'I-E's.' That's it."
"That's it! You say? For this you woke-up at 3a.m.?" You moan again.
Yes, my dear friends. Listen to this 106 pound hulk. Someday you, too, may be ninety years old.
To begin with, the label for our joint "home furnishings" act is inadequate It's a boo-boo. A misnomer that describes very little to our customers and potential customers as to what we create for them. It reveals very little about our life's mission. A mission that makes daily, morning and night life more comfortable, more elegant and more beautiful -inside and outside- homes. Homes that include areas to sleep in, to eat in, to watch in, to store love in and to bring children up in. A-n-d, not to forget: to play host in, create happiness moments in, keep athletic shape in and welcome friends and strangers in.
The thought that we create environments - lE's- 24 hours a day, no matter where you turn from home to jet plane, from office to kitchen is mind-boggling. B-u-t...we don't take credit for it. We just don't, graciously, let the world know.
Consumers are constantly reminded in our schools about "exterior environment"-EE- that stretches from the bugs down in lawns to the greenhouse effects up in the atmosphere. But our home furnishings? Nada! Every school kid from pre-k to college hears and learns all about the basic ABC's of EE. But our home furnishings? Again, nada.
It's our industry's fault and weakness. We're bashful. From the day of birth our customers and potential customers are encircled by our accomplishments but we take no credit for them: business centers, hotels, theaters, medical facilities stretching from lab to hospital, to manufacturing centers, not to forget museums, places of worship, early childhood centers and senior facilities right up to Ph.D. haunts. The whole gamut is our territory to rightfully brag about. But, again, nada.
Even when our customers vacation away it's still all Interior Environment: either padded with a pool, a tennis court or a Disneyland. But, again, nada.
We need to talk up Interior Environment every day. To form a congregation of our creative talents: manufacturer, retailer, rep, product designer, architect, trade publication, store planner, educator, computer whiz, salesperson and solo interior designer, to name a very few. To consistently flash to our end users that their worlds are created and nurtured by our world of IE.
Home furnishings? OK for a simple product description. But IE-Interior Environment? That's where we breathe. That's the comfort we install and the delights we suggest. Plus, f-i-n-a-1-l-y, I must add: It's the total dollar business world where we should garner a much fairer and deserved profit without excuse. As one sage has noted: "If you are not for yourself who will be for you?" Yes. It's time for home furnishings to be for sale and not on sale.
Thanks, again, for listening.
Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: email@example.com
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.
Michael Green a.k.a. Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90 is a former furniture retailer, author, playwright and past contributor to a well known furniture news publication. He currently writes a weekly column for Furniture World’s e-newsmagazine (subscribe by going to www.furninfo.com). Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org And, see the new YouTube music video staring Grandpa Mike-e-e! with his granddaughter Becca in a supporting role at http://bitly.com/qALkrX.
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