We all start somewhere
I can’t remember when business wasn’t a part of my life. When I wanted a baseball mitt, dad said I would have to earn the money; I was nine. I was too young to go to work but dad explained I could sell things, like he did. My dad taught me my first business lesson; you can’t build a business until you have a customer that needs something.
I lived on a lake and knew all the fisherman. I asked them where they got their worms and they said they bought them. I told the fisherman they could buy worms from me, I would deliver them and if they didn’t catch a fish I would replace the worms! My parents were taken aback by my fearless attitude, resourcefulness, and determination to meet my goal. They also told me I must keep all my promises to my customers.
I earned enough to buy my mitt and a secondhand bike the following year. I guess I had a natural talent for business along with creative ideas and limitless energy. I was just looking for an opportunity. It came after college.
After college, I joined two other entrepreneurs in the development of a carpet and furniture store built on a ‘liquidation’ concept. Again, my limitless energy, resourcefulness, and willingness to learn paid off. Fourteen years and seven stores later, I retired and moved on to new opportunities.
Life, like business, gives us obstacles that seem overwhelming, my obstacle, not once but twice was developing a rare form of cancer. My fight was long and difficult, but it was a fight that taught me how to ask for help and acknowledge my vulnerability.
I continue to spend my energy and time as a business advisor, educator and speaker, sharing my expertise and experience to help others solve their problems and ultimately obtain their goals.
Sometimes it feels like I’ve done it all. Or at least a whole lot of things and I refuse to slow down. Why should I?
After graduating college, my sister and I found there weren’t a lot of opportunities for women, so we created our own. We decided to open our own floor covering outlet store, eventually expanding to own 6 successful stores throughout our local region.i
After dealing with some of life’s ups and downs, including serious illnesses on both of our parts, we expanded into other ventures, including opening an organic farm on our grandfathers land!
Following retirement, I created several businesses with various partners. A high-end area rug company which we again started from scratch. My sister designed, and I spent six months holding focus groups and interviewing interior designers about our product. Our product was beautiful but it had limited outlets to only the fancy, (we should have remembered Tony’s advice about having a customer.)
We later developed the first and only Flooring Magazine for consumers: Fabulous Floors Magazine. This magazine was incredibly successful and was eventually sold after my sister’s death.
Not one to slow down, I wrote a book, Red Hot Customer Service (which is in its second edition) and went on tour. I dedicated it to my Dad and Mom because of their incredible ideas about business.
They taught me, and it was always true, that business is ALWAYS about customer service.
Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way:
- You cannot be afraid to try different things in life, no matter what happens you will learn you are your successes and more from your mistakes.
- Limit your exposure when possible and always follow the rule of SEM-Somebody Else’s Money!
- Follow your own drummer; there will always be a naysayer in the crowd.
- Choose your business partners and employees wisely. The better your partners the more likely your business success. Besides doing everything alone will deplete your energy and your pocketbook.
- “Customers for Life” is not just a book or a saying it’s a way of life. If you’re in business, you must live by this mantra.
- Follow your own path, do not use your competitors as a guide. Whenever possible ‘color outside the lines’ so you become the one to set the pace. “If people are saying I wonder why she did that?”, you’re probably on the right track!
- You cannot have all the customers, but you can have the ones you want if you know who they are. Just because they shop in your business does not make them your customer.
- Businesses should be opportunities. “Know when to hold them and when to fold them.”
- Never be afraid to reach out for advice or guidance; brainstorming is a great way to take your business to the next level.
- Always try to take your chunk out of the high end market. There’s less competition and making money is a good thing.
- Business is easy; people are difficult. Constantly improve your people skilsl.
- Certified Flooring Executive and Sales Professional, World Floor Covering Association
- Certified Cushion Certified, Carpet Cushion Council
- Platform Skills for Trainers, one week, training. Mohawk Industries for Trainers
- Designer; Training Programs for Retailers, (10 years) Mohawk Industries
- Designing Customer Service Training, Mohawk University for Trainers
- Certified Flooring Installation, Mannington Flooring, resilient\Dupont Flooring, CEU classes, “Carpet Design Under Foot”
- Dal-Tile, one week course in ceramic tile installation
- Mapei Adhesives, two day hands on, grout
- Laminate Installation, one week installation classes , Mohawk Industries
- Independent Flooring Inspector, Carpet, Hard Surface, Commercial Carpet, Concrete Testing Certification; FCITS
- Approved NYS Real Estate Continuing Education Instructor: Floorcovering product knowledge, Value of Historic Homes, Aging in Place, Outside Living
- Hubspot; Frictionless Sales Certification and Email Marketing
- Licensed Senior Home Safety Specialist, training and advocacy for seniors
Age Safe America
- NLP Neurolinguistics Practitioner
- Values Clarification, New York State School for Girls
- Certified, New York Sales School, 30 hours all phases of selling
SUNY New Paltz
MS Social Psychology
University of Tampa
B.A.Psychology, Physical Ed, English, Linguistics
- Top Ten Most Influential Persons, Floor Covering Industry
- 1st Place winner, International Marketing Competition, Boron Homeopathic Remedies
- Angel for Life, Columbia Country Association for Retarded Adults
- Toastmasters Tall Tales Contest Winner
- New York State School for Girls, published first program “Behavior Modification for Incarcerated Females”
- Grant recipient SYSCO Foods, Charitable Ventures, Community Development Block Grant to open to provide housing and schooling for women in recovery
- Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, Columbia Universitya
- Steering Committee Member; Albany Guardian Society Home; Community Care Village Movement
- Member; Hudson Park Neighborhood Association
- Volunteer and Radio Show; Grand Street Community Arts WCAA 107.3 Radio Arts and Culture
- Board Member; Animal Protective Foundation; Schenectady, NY
- President and Organizer Women’s Group YWCA USA Hudson NY
- Board Member – Marketing; Columbia Greene Humane Society
- Women in Stone
- National association for Professional SaleswomenAmerican Management association
- NAWIC, National Association of Women in Constructions
- Columbia County Planned Parenthood, Board of Directors
- The Capital Region Human Resource Association