The Five Most Powerful Women in Retail from Forbes 100 Most Powerful women are to be admired for their influence and impact on the industry:

Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Sam’s Club Walmart Stores-spearheading a collection of programs to increase customer experience and market share. Miucilia Prada, Owner and Fashion Designer Prada– brand image of elegant, crisp style Carol Meyrowitz, CEO TJX– in its 36 year history TJX has only had one year of comparable store sales decline and this past year double digit gains in stock price, and revenue. Tory Burch CEO Tory Burch-started with ballet flats and now a growing offering as a retail brand.  Company valued at over $3 billion. Sara Blakely Founder Spanx– turned an investment of $5,000 into a $250 million empire and the youngest self made female billionaire.

And then there is Ethel Weiss, Owner of Irving’s Toy and Card Shop Brookline, Ma.  She is celebrating 75 years in business and is still running her store. I met Ethel a couple of months ago and she was proud to tell me she was 99 years old.  As I entered the store she greeted me with a big smile and a button on her blouse that said,                                      

“I LOVE MY CUSTOMERS” 

Irvings Store Front

Irvings Store Front

IMG_2720 IMG_2723   “WOW” I said, “is this your store?”  She said “yes, allow me to brag, I have been here since 1939 just as the war was beginning, have gone through 2 husbands and one boyfriend and still running my store.  My kids who are retired don’t want it so I will continue to do it, keeps me busy and with my customers.”  She showed me the articles and interviews she has had in her perfectly organized scrapbooks and was delightful.  Ethel uses a walker, but jumped up to show me her merchandise without help, and her frustration is she cannot remember quite where everything is, however, when I looked at a book and  put it down, she said to put it 6 inches to the left, that is where it belongs.  Her CELL PHONE rang and she answered it , made an appointment with her hearing doctor, and coordinated the schedule  with her calendar. Can you imagine?  She hears fine!  Sharp as a tack!

I bought two of her posters that she published. These are her own words.  Ethel autographed them for me with a personal message and date in the most perfect handwriting. HOW TO BE OLD AND STILL BE HAPPY  and THOUGHTS FOR A HAPPY LIFE…which I will share today.

Don’t try to be perfect.  Just do the best you can. Practice random acts of kindness without expecting repayment. Absorb the qualities you admire in people with whom you come in contact. Be interested in other people’s welfare.  Treat other people as you would like them to treat you.  Be kind, but don’t allow others to take unfair advantage of you. Show appreciation. Try to be a good role model. Don’t buy what you cannot afford.  Handle your money wisely. Think pleasantly about your work and do the best job you can.  Take pride in your work. Eat sensibly and obey good health rules.  Try not to acquire bad habits. Care about how you look.  Dress neatly and in good taste. Try not to antagonize others in dress or attitude. Enjoy being yourself. 

I told her I would blog about her and share the story…she was thrilled!  (the real estate is a perfect location/she owns the store)  ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Current News This Week I am intrigued by the IPO of GoPro.  Nicholas Woodman, CEO and founder, interviewed by Becky Quick whom I follow, on Squawk.  The 12 year old company now has 800 employees and started with an idea of filming yourself doing extreme sports, he was a surfer in Australia.  His girlfriend, traveling the far east while he was surfing, found a bead and shell belt for $1.60.  They bought 600 of them, returned to California where they sold them out of their VW bus for $20-$120 and got the $30,000 seed money to start the company.  His idea is that people wanted to photograph themselves, not others, doing what they love to do.  The first SELFIE… their UTube channel has 2 million subscribers and is a company to watch now that it is in center stage. Morale of the story…JUST SELL STUFF…and  be passionate about it and others will follow. Pretty simple message for success. Easy to say, hard to do!