Women in the home furnishings industry need to fight for and release more women's thinking for men to follow, to absorb and to appreciate.
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Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)
About forty years ago (Yes! I once was young) I discovered that I was an anti-female, pro-feminist! Whatever that is.
My Bubbila and my teen age daughter invited me to attend what at that time was a unique seminar.. ."Women In Business Life." It was the period when my son's graduation law class had three women in it unlike the seventy standard graduates these days. In his delivery, the speaker of the evening suggested that women should receive the same compensation as men. At which point I raised my hand, stood up and exclaimed: "I don't think that women should received the same compensation. I think that..." at that point hell broke out in my family with my teenager in tears exclaiming "Dad! I'm ashamed!" and she and her mother stamped out of the seminar hall with heads down low!
"You don't understand," I yelled at the congregation. "I don't think a woman should receive the same compensation as a man if she proves herself better prepared. She should get MORE money. Absolutely, more!" I told you. I'm an anti-female, pro-feminist. I believe women's lib had to be invented by a man. Who else could have told them to burn their bras?
A few years ago I traveled across these United States visiting with mama and papa home furnishing stores who had three or four generations of business experience to their credit. It was a revealing experience because it involved real people like you and me, namely, grandpas, grandmas, their kids and grandkids who put themselves on line trying to keep a show breathing while trying to "make a living."
It was a beautiful adventure to follow up because it was real "real." "Real" in the sense that the characters in the life living scenes had to help form the family's living. "Real" in the sense that they all had to love what they were doing. "Real" in the sense that the whole family had to learn how to handle customers and monies; how to evaluate new home furnishing fashions that continually changed; how to protect their real estate investment; how to appreciate dedicated employees and how to invest the profits of the good years, and minimize the losses of the tough ones.
A-n-d how to work with new, young relatives who didn't fit the show when they graduated college and/or married into the family's game.
I unveil such past history to impress eager newcomers that retail is not just a tough profit and loss game but a tough way of life. A challenging life that you've got to learn to love and learn to live with. I put this history on the table because I also observed in my travels that women were the "lead" persons on the floor of these owner families. The champion doers, worriers and top sales, no pressure, closers. Top sales closers like my older sister, Yetta, who was the top sales closer on our family sales floor and when she retired we hung up her team shirt in the office to remind us that the number screened on her shirt was not to be given to any newcomer replacement.
There could only be one and it had to be earned.
What's the bottom line? The bottom line is that more and more women are showing up in executive, managerial and creative positions in our industry... in fact, all industries. So far, so good. But! They need to fight for and release more women's thinking for men to follow, to absorb and to appreciate.
Our industry is a family game wrapped around family needs of love, charm, beauty and caring for one another. We can do it all in our industry. We can show the world that not only can our players create beauty and comfort but we can do it with love.
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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