Tom Rushton: If You Think Adventure is Dangerous; Try Routine...- tBR Person of the Week!
(One of Tom's favorite clients paying close attention as usual.
Meet Oliver the Rushton family Potbelly Pig!)
My name is Tom Rushton, as you can probably see from the title of Mary's article in this edition of The Bloom Report. When Mary contacted me about this, I was pretty surprised...in a good way. I had seen other "Toy People" featured and it's always really cool when you click on The Bloom Report and are able to call out, "Hey I know him/her!"...recently that's included our friends, Lisa Orman, Dee Farrell, et al.
So, my first question was, as most of yours, may be as well - How did I get recognized as a "Person of the Week"? No matter, when Mary reaches out to let you know that you are, you run with it.
My introduction to the Toy Industry was at a small trade show on the Navy Pier in Chicago, working for a German Company that crafted Galileo Thermometers. We were invited to the NLDA Show as we were selected to participate in their holiday catalog. I was setting up my booth when a woman walked around the "pipe and drape" and said "Can you help us put in our light bulbs?" As a six-footer (barely 6' 0") that wasn't an uncommon request, so I said sure. That company was Seattle-based game manufacturer, Front Porch Classics. I put in the light bulbs (probably against union regulations...but we were rebels) and then looked down at their displays and saw these amazing solid wood tabletop games...I was blown away! Couldn't believe that a company took the time to craft games from solid wood and die-cast metal with cloth playing boards, like their bestseller, Dread Pirate. The Old Century Baseball Game even came with an actual Baseball Score Book. That's all I needed to see...I was hooked. A few months later I knew I needed a change and reached out to them to see if they had any sales positions available.
They did...and I WAS IN THE TOY INDUSTRY! Loved my days at Front Porch Classics...and in the spirit of keeping this "history" relatively concise, I'll just say that after a couple company acquisitions, I was presented the opportunity to be a partner at Revenew Sales. This was during an economic recession, so I was pretty hesitant. We had two high school kids heading off to college soon and me a bit freaked out about it. As is her style, my wife, Kimberly, told me "Go for it. If it doesn't work out, we'll figure out the next step." Flash forward and here we are 15+ years later.
Our mission (that sounds a little too "buzz word bingo") so let's say, what we just love to do, at Revenew Sales, is to partner with companies within the Toy and Gift Industries, assisting them to achieve their goals. Sometimes that means starting from scratch and helping them actually identify those goals. And with larger companies, it even means stepping back, digging in and helping them remember what those goals were when they first started out. Most of the time that goal includes selling into key account and specialty retailers across the US, which is what we do.
Relationships are the key to all of our partnerships, whether with our manufacturers or our retailers. A successful meeting typically starts out and within 10-15 minutes, someone looks at their phone and says, "Oh wow, we need to talk some business! Ok, so here's what we're thinking. We want to..." If you can't have fun and laugh, A LOT, in the Toy Industry, you may have picked the wrong business.
As many of you know, we recently wrapped up the ASTRA Camp Virtual Trade Show last week. I mention that as I was honored to be asked to serve on the ASTRA Board of Directors in 2019. That was a little over a year ago...or was that 3 months ago...or 2 years ago? As many of you do, probably daily, I honestly question that quite a bit recently. Amazing how time has lost almost all measure since the beginning of the year. But I digress, which for me is kinda normal. Focus!
Being able to be more involved with Toy Industry service has been a personal goal for a few years. ASTRA is the perfect vehicle for that. Having a community that lifts each other up, in what are certainly the most interesting/challenging times we've experienced is essential. And, working with people, many of whom I didn't even know previously. Transitioning from a face-to-face trade show in Orlando in June, to a virtual trade show only two months later, brought out the best in them...and honestly me. We challenged each other to do a little more...and a little more until Opening Day kicked off. I'm proud to be able to call many more industry associates "friends" after this experience.
What's coming in the future, for the Toy Industry and all of us in our business and personal lives?
Wow, what a powerful, difficult, yet essential question! We all follow and read our NPD Reports, various Toy and Gift Industry Newsletters...and of course, THE Bloom Report, to gather as much information as possible to move forward strategically and make the "right" decision. I just fear that we will back away from making that daring decision...the one that just feels right in our gut. I ask all of us to embrace the same passion and excitement for this industry that we always have. LOVE what you do and run with it! One of my favorite new quotes (which means that I just discovered it, not that it hasn't been around for years) comes from Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist. Also, just added it to my Summer Reading List. BTW - as my family will ask me after they read this..."Are you saying Summer 2020 or 2021?" I'm a notoriously slow reader. Doesn't mean that I read slow, just means that I typically read before bed and I'm good for a solid 2-3 pages before the lids close. So, let's do the math. Wikipedia says that this book is 208 pages. 208 divided by 3 pages per night equals 69.33 nights or 2.3 months. Fall 2020 Reading List it is!
Paolo Coelho's quote - "If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal."
I cannot say it any better than that, so I will say "Thank You" to Mary for asking me to be the "Person of the Week" and wish you all well.
Tom Rushton, Principal - Revenew Sales
(ph/txt) 910.617.9949, firstname.lastname@example.org
Available on Google Meet, Zoom, Teams, Webex...you name it, we'll be there.
"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal." - Paulo Coelho
(Note from Mary: There is nothing routine in the Rushton family, meet Maribel & Lucille... yes they are donkeys that Tom and his family adopted!)