We love retail.
With over 40 years combined retail experience and as the former owners of a $6M retail store which was twice named one of the “Top 100 Independent Furniture Stores” by FurnitureToday, we’ve felt the responsibility of providing a living for our employees and their families. We’ve hired them, trained them and sometimes fired them. We’ve written newsletters and brochures and letters and manuals. We’ve built websites, created advertising, bought merchandise and dealt with customers. We’ve paid the bills.
We’ve made mistakes and we’ve had plenty of sleepless nights. We’ve also had enormous successes that we want to bring to your business.
We now spend all our time helping independent retailers do all the things you want to do – you know you need to do – but simply don’t have time to do.
We can build your website or develop an email marketing campaign (we can even help you build your list of opt-in email addresses). We can train your sales managers and salespeople. We can help you understand financial ratios and employment practices.
Your livelihood is on the line when you trust your work to an outside source. We’ll tell you straight up if we think you’d get better results somewhere else. When we do help you, you’ll get experienced, accurate, compassionate and professional work that gets you where you need to be.
For those of you who need the “blah, blah, blah” long bios – you can read our full stories below. But if you really want to get to know us, just pick up the phone: Call 800-549-9206 or add david.livelymerchant and amy.lively to your Skype contacts.
David Lively brings to the table over 20 years experience in all areas of the retail home furnishings industry, from the sales floor to the warehouse to the boardroom. He has talked the talk and walked the walk all the way from family-owned, single-site stores to multi-state, multi-million dollar operations; from sales training to computer programming; from warehouse construction and operations to financial management; and from new store construction to complete renovation.
David currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Home Furnishings Independents Association (HFIA) and has been a featured speaker at the Las Vegas World Market Center, the High Point Furniture Market and Myriad Software Annual User Conferences. From his start as a salesperson to his latest role as industry consultant and all positions in between, David’s wisdom was won on the front lines and his battle scars have given him a compassion for helping today’s retail company owners.
David has personally overseen the placement of over $400 million worth of furniture into customer’s homes. As a furniture store owner, David was twice named to Furniture Today’s “Beyond the Top 100” list of independent retailers and was the 1997 “Ohio Retailer of the Year.” He has constructed, remodeled and even closed stores. He has operated full-line stores, in-store and freestanding gallery stores, single-line and specialty stores. David has sold on the floor and managed sales forces; he has chosen and implemented selling systems and successfully managed the results. He has made over 50 market trips to High Point and Las Vegas and managed the margins, turn and merchandising of the products that were purchased. David has managed operations for stores with one on-site warehouse to companies with several off-site locations. He is intimately familiar with back end office operations and, like you; he has agonized and rejoiced over cash flow, P&L’s, income statements and balance sheets.
David’s experience is now available to you as he applies his passion and expertise to his true calling – helping you achieve your dreams and visions for your company. David’s professional certification in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) from the Great Lakes Region for the Association for Psychological Type (APT) will help you understand “why you do the things you do,” provide insight into the inner-workings of your management team and improve conflict management in your company.
David’s unique perspective and experience has led him to the forefront of a new phenomenon that will soon rock the home furnishings industry like nothing that has ever come before: the transfer of authority, responsibility and wealth from one generation to the next. Four out of five family-owned furniture stores are still led by their founder, and 40% of them will change hands in the next five years. The surviving legacy of your company depends on your plan for transition, and David has developed a proprietary and unparalleled system for helping you identify your goals, strengths and opportunities during this crucial time.
David Lively’s valuable insight into your company, your mind and the mind of your customer will add purpose to your business and profit to your bottom line.
800-549-9206 ext. 1
“What I love about retail,” says Amy, “is that it encompasses every area of expertise, every field of study – psychology, communication, history, marketing, economics, sociology, law, finance, art, business. (Sometimes zoology even makes a little appearance in your stockroom.) When you open your doors to the general public, you just never know who’s going to walk in next. A career in retail is nothing if not surprising.”
Amy’s retail career began at a locally owned and operated downtown office supply store back when “downtown” still meant lunch counters and mom-n-pop stores. Later, with Federated Department Stores and Victoria’s Secret Stores, Amy held positions in sales, management, store operations and corporate-level customer service. Amy managed over 100,000 calls and letters from mostly-disgruntled customers by creating systems for both responding and reporting. “Step one is to figure out what happened and pacify the customer with a sincere apology and a sympathetic ear, preserving that relationship while protecting the company. Step two is to make sure it doesn’t happen again by telling the people who can impact the situation.” Providing recognition for outstanding service and customer service training were also essential elements of her position.
Amy formed The Lively Pen in 1996 and maintained her relationship in a consulting role with Victoria’s Secret Stores and Lane Bryant Stores (then both divisions of The Limited) and developed additional revenue streams in creative writing, event planning and graphic design. Amy designed the client comment card feedback system for Victoria’s Secret Stores and managed the response and tracking of over 86,000 client comments. Amy’s intimate connection to the mind and emotion of the customer was a natural knowledge base for Meet Ms. Jones™, the customer personification and market analysis report The Lively Merchant offers in conjunction with R&A Marketing. Meet Ms. Jones™ takes you inside the mind, home, life and pocketbook of your female consumer. Told in storybook form, Meet Ms. Jones™ impacts every aspect of your business.
Persona-based advertising flows from the Meet Ms. Jones™ process, and Amy has written hundreds of television and radio spots for retail advertisers as well as web content copywriting that captures the essence of the retailer and the heart of the consumer. Amy also pens the Word of the Week blog and is a contributing writer for WomensMinistry.net. She leads a ministry called The Neighborhood Cafe teaching women how to share “Coffee, Conversation & Christ” through neighborhood Bible studies in their home.
“Retailers wear their heart on their sleeve. I could tell if our store had a good day as soon as David walked in the door at night… sometimes very late at night. Now, David and I share a passion to bring perspective, insight and objectivity to people who still have both feet in the fire.”
800-549-9206 ext. 4
David and Amy Lively
Childhood sweethearts who met on the elementary playground, David and Amy have a daughter, Emma –who is, indeed, lively, as her two blogs attest. David and Amy both received a Bachelor’s degree in Practical Ministry in 2008. The Lively’s call central Ohio home.