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Who said you had to work hard to make a ton of money?
I did! Let me tell you a little bit about my business. I typically spend the month before the magazine deadline (I mean the real deadline, the one that I have to make or the magazine doesn’t get to High Point on time) talking to everyone, at every level, about what’s going on in the futon furniture business. Futon retailers usually ask me how everyone else is doing, and my answer is rehearsed but true.
“Which ones,” I ask. “The ones that are doing great, or the ones that are doing crappy?”
Manufacturers get to spend a little more time with me on the phone because unlike my rich cousins at Fairchild and Cahners I not only write this thing but I’m trying to sell them ad space too. Both sides of the equation are looking for one thing, a way to compare themselves to some standard or benchmark that they believe I know and understand. Ultimately I tell them all the same thing. “Everyone I talk to tells me something, but I have no way of knowing if what they are telling me is true or some line of baloney. Some people seem to be doing great and others say business sucks. The problem with all this is that the guy who told me business stunk last month may call me back and tell me that, miraculously, this month he broke all the records and is ahead of last year.” And so it goes.
After all this madcap telephony it’s on to the actual writing and production. I may even have to zip in and out of town for a day or two to interview the top dog for the next cover story. Yeah, it' s fun, but I’m getting old and those twenty hour days are killing me.
The writing is the best and worse part of the whole process. Once I start it’s okay, but starting is a bear. Ask my wife. She can tell just by looking at my face on any given morning if writing that feature article is hanging over my head. Focus, she tells me, you can do it, just start. I finally do. Focusing is not my greatest asset, in fact being unfocused may be a major character flaw. I like to think of it as multitasking. Some of my colleagues, on the other hand, think I have multiple personalities.
Next comes the part I love the best, “magazine week” at RTP. This is the week we actually put the two magazines together (Futon Life and Bedroom). What that means for all you nine to fivers out there is an eight to ten day span of twelve to eighteen hour days of creativity at its finest.
Bottom line: We work very hard to bring you this sagacious tour de force of astute journalistic discernment, shrewdness, and perspicacity (love that thesaurus in MS Word). I’m not bragging here. I thank God for the business I have, but perseverance and sweat get it done. Now I don’t know if I’ll ever make a ton of money doing this but the last time I checked the survivors and successful people in the futon category are like people everywhere. The ones that work hard and love what they do are typically the ones who are still around after the winds of change blow the chaff away.
Futon Life Interactive
Last month we had over 15,000 unique visits to our web site, a record. People want information about everything and futon furniture is no exception. We are the only place to go for real information on the web and all the best search engines list us somewhere in their top ten for keyword futon. If you are a futon retailer of any kind you should sign up for a free slot in our retail finder. Just go to the site (futonlife.com) and follow the links to the FREE LINKS FOR RETAILERS link and sign up.
Futon EXPO & Specialty Sleep Show
The saga continues. With the show in Orlando being so slow some suppliers are a bit skittish about the extravaganza scheduled for Vegas in April. Some people are hedging their bets, and are opting to hold off signing up until the last minute. If there are new futon retailers on the floor in Vegas everyone will be happy. If not, then years of hard work and a huge investment on the part of the futon industry’s biggest and best suppliers will have been in vain.
Best of the Industry
The past two issues have contained postage paid cards where futon store owners could choose their pick for the best companies in the futon furniture trade. We have received hundreds of responses, including some blatant ballot box stuffing. The results of the Best of the Industry will be published in the upcoming Winter Issue, in January 2001. Please take this last opportunity to let your voice be heard in what may be our first and last event of this kind. Oh yeah, they have to be companies that are still in business.