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From Home Furnishing Business

From the Editor : The Joys of Youth

Welcome to our inaugural 40 Under 40 list of retail executives who are making a difference in our industry and their communities. The foundation for the list was created in part by our readers, who took the time to make thoughtful and enthusiastic nominations. 
The constant ping of my e-mail during the nomination period last month told me that we’d struck a nerve with our community in celebrating and spotlighting the bright young faces in furniture.
To those skeptics out there who continued with their snide comments about the furniture industry having no young people in it ... well, that’s just not so.
As the nomination deadline approached, we had more than 60 names on the list. That’s quite the slate to winnow down, and trust me, if 60 Under 40 carried the same sing-song word play, we would have been all over that!
Just so you’ll know — we had a number of young execs from the supply side of the furniture industry to be nominated. Those, however, will have to wait on the sidelines for a bit while we go about honoring RETAILERS.
As we were compiling the final slate, a few things jumped out at us that I think are worth mentioning.

The Generations
When you break down the list, more than half of the 40 Under 40 are working in their family business. Some are the fourth or even the fifth generation to follow in their forefathers’ footsteps. 
If those great-great grandparents could only see how their legacies are working now, they may be shocked to find the new tools being put to work in the business. Tools like social media, the Internet and retail technology that allows for easy sales tracking, payroll and other retail back-shop operations. I’m sure the generations before would be in complete wonder of it all. Can you imagine the great, greats with an iPhone? That would be a super picture to Tweet or post via Instagram!

Gender Roles
Men make up the bulk of the list with women holding 25 percent of the slots on our 40 Under 40 list.
I’m pretty certain the number isn’t skewed because of some huge conspiracy to prevent young women into the retail environment. Instead, I think it’s more likely the nature of the beast. Furniture retail requires long hours that often include nights and weekends and aren’t the most family friendly.

Future Leaders
Our slate is filled with strong, smart, creative, intuitive, savvy retailers who are shaping the future of our industry. They continue to push themselves, their peers and their co-workers to adapt to the ever-changing retail environment.
The furniture industry is much better off with them being part of it.
As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”
This under-40 set is definitely built for the future and is well on its way to shaping the industry for the next generation of leaders.
Enjoy the list.

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