Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scott Morgan part 3

I'm sure I could keep going on about Scott for several long additional posts but I will try to keep this one concise and to the point, and the last in a series of 3 posts. Scott had battled an intestinal cancer for the first time soon after we met, seemed over it and then it returned right before the last October High Point Market. When the doctors told him the battle was over and it would be essentially a matter of months, he made two key decisions: 1) He wanted to have a big party in High Point while all of his friends in the industry were present in town and 2) afterwards, he wanted to travel to India to live out his days, weeks or months with Katy.

That is what we did with him in High Point and that is what he did after. He is now in Goa, India. Its a resort town in the South of the Country that attracts Germans, Russians, and assorted World travelers from all over. He met one of the sons of Bob Marley in a hotel there. Its warm (or hot) and he has medical care. Katy has been doing an amazing and heroic job of supporting him every step of the way.

myself, Louis Lara and Eric Bauer

At the party, Scott told jokes, gave out some of his favorite ties from his tie collection, ate some food, did pet tricks with the dogs and generally took in the glow of so many friends from over the years. Most have know Scott longer than I have. If you were there, and you know who you are, thanks for showing your support. If you have emailed, called or visited Scott while he is India, you have done a good thing. Keep him in your thoughts. He will always be in mine. If you read this, send him some love.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Scott Morgan Part 2

My previous post talked about how Scott and I met and got started on our business adventure in the furniture industry. I have only known Scott for about five or so years although it feels like we have been friends our whole lives. But I wanted to talk about a few other aspects of Scott's life and mind and character and interests here. One aspect of Scott's life has been a blossoming in the last few years of his watercolor paintings. I'm not sure when he started doing these, but they have really come on in numbers and artistic quality in the last two or three years. As mentioned previously, he is also a "jazz singer" of sorts.

One of the amazing aspects of visiting Scott in his home is that he has a most amazing collection of Chinese textiles and artifacts from his many visits over the years doing business in China. He became a connoisseur of Chinese crafts, history, and art. Scott took real pleasure in sharing his treasures with visitors, but only if he felt that he could trust the visitor and that the visitor would truly appreciate what was being shown. Trunks and drawers would be opened to pull out centuries old delicacies of sewing, embroidery and other skills. He also had like many collectors, tangential collections of items like carved  nuts and brass coins, and gold embroidery. He also had a couple of shaman necklaces. 

One evening after a day in the showroom at High Point, Doug Miller, Richard Hawk, Candra Squire and I and a few others gathered in Scott's living room and he started pulling items out of a trunk to show us. One of those items was the shaman's necklace. We stood in a circle and watched as first Rich was handling it. Scott said that this necklace has "some powerful mojo" and we all basically said "sure" cynically. A moment later, Rich started practically howling about what he was feeling. Now Rich is a great guy, but he does have a bit of the Southern California spirit in him so we all reacted rather skeptically to him as well. I asked for the necklace. I am not a believer in crystals, new age spirituality or ghosts. So I was ready for - nothing. Instead, this necklace which contained teeth, coins, crystals, hair, and other assorted trinkets pulsated with an electricity that traveled up and down my arm. I immediately gave it back. It was not necessarily a good feeling and seemed ominous, but there is no doubt that it did occur. This was just one of the items hiding, laying, waiting for the next opportunity for someone to discover it.

Another thing to know about Scott is that he loves ping pong. He bought an expensive German ping pong table and created a room down in his basement that is a bit of a ping pong shrine. Although an amateur ( I'm sure there are pros out there somewhere ) he is quite good. When it comes to competition, he turns it up a notch. I'm not bad, but in the dozens of games we played, I never beat him once. He has a paddle collection, so that anyone can come and play and select their favorite paddle and never use the lack of a comfortable paddle as an excuse if they were to lose. He also had a page of ping pong rules posted on the wall. He also owned a ping pong ball machine similar to a tennis feeding machine. This was not your High School party in the basement ping pong that I had grown up with. However, my tennis skills allowed me to keep the games close enough to be competitive. They were always great opportunities to talk about a range of topics. 

There is so much to talk about in relation to Scott. He loves his dogs Loulie and Hershey. Loulie 1 and her successor Loulie 2 were extremely well trained intelligent companions that transcended being pets. He supported Katy and her art making and business ventures. He did not suffer fools gladly. He loves art and collecting. He is not caught up in what other people think of him. He is a natural salesman. He knows the furniture industry inside and out, could look at a piece and understand how it was made (even though he is not a craftsman), would know how much it cost to make and would understand how it should be marketed. And he loves talking about it. He is critical of bad design, encouraging of his friends and good design and loves people that are smart and have something to offer. 

Last story in this post from an email that Scott sent out:
"of these beads, history.....
in  a park in new delhi. india.......
a man very old 80/90 years old, in orange comes up to me. scotto
no words, no reason.  takes off the beads, puts them around my neck, smiles walks on very slow into the park never to be seen by me again

these i have always had.

cherished kept safe and the day before our journey to Goa put on ...with original string.  by now very threadbare .when i put them on my neck string broke. i screamed.  oh no!
all the beads hit floor in High Point. NC. home
scattered. i picked them  up  put in a baggie and said maybe i will re string these in India in Goa  after we arrive.
then  I will give them to someone
same as was given to me." - SM

more to come in the next post....

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan

I first met Scott about five years ago when I was showing at my first Las Vegas Market show. His Sister Lindy stopped by my booth and after chatting for a little while, we started making connections. We were both from the same North Chicago suburb. Our Fathers were in the furniture business. We have a unique perspective on life that probably shows in our demeanor. She said, "You have to meet my Brother!" He came by and we talked for probably an hour and haven't stopped since. 

It turns out that our Fathers were not only in the business but did business with each other in Chicago. It also turns out that we had a immediate sense of bonding with each other. Scott had been a consultant in the industry as well as a salesman for his Family's Ello Furniture business before they sold it, and through his experiences, it seems that he practically knows everyone in the industry. We became friends and I got to know him through spending time with him and his partner Katy  Algeyer while in North Carolina at the High Point Markets. I stayed at his house. We played ping pong. Most importantly, he took me around the Market and introduced me to people in the Industry that he admired and had worked with. Together we came up with the concept of bringing back furniture manufacturing business to the US.
Many a dinner was spent discussing the plan, some of it at his favorite Thai restaurant in High Point, where he could get up from the table and sing some "scat" or spontaneous lyrics to the jazz music that was being played. Our conversations were timely, because even though at that point the Marketplace was not fully ready for the concept, manufacturers were open to considering it. They had been having issues of quality, shipping time, exchange rate uncertainty, etc and wanted a back up plan. Many of these companies were the same ones that Scott had taken to China on his many business visits there over the last 20 years. Now it was time to work on returning. 

Scott is always thinking of ideas. They seem to come to him in torrents. He had suggestion after suggestion for me. We talked constantly about this new venture. I had experience with working with the Amish community in Ohio through manufacture of my designs in their factories. I have learned a little about their culture and have met several great business people there, some very forward looking. We learned how this could benefit all of us. For the last two years, I have been devoting a great deal of time to developing this business plan. Scott has been there with me every step of the way. 

Scott is in India now. He is there to spend the remaining days of his too short life with Katy and several friends who have visited him there. Katy has created a blog about their adventure called going to goa . You can catch up with what is happening there. Goa, India is an international resort community in the South of India. 

 I will talk more about Scott in my next post.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Amish story of repairing the World

Ok - It has been two years, I see, since my last blog post. I am going to try to keep this a little more up to date with different kinds of thoughts. If I have a New Years resolution, which I generally never make, it will be to post regularly here.
I have spent a good part of the last two years meeting and getting to know Amish furniture makers nearby to my shop in Ohio. I have had many designs of mine and others produced in Amish factories. Today, to get the blog rolling again, I want to relay a story I heard yesterday that I hope will touch you as it did me.
 I met with an Amish business owner yesterday. He apologized for not getting back to me sooner on a business matter that I had discussed with him late last week. But he said he had been a little bit distracted by some of life's more important issues. He had just attended a funeral of a 33 year old mother of 6 children. She complained of a headache last Wednesday and died two days later. No one is sure what the cause was. It is a tragedy to leave behind a 4 month old, 2 and 4 year olds and three early or pre-teens.  Her whole family loves animals and her husband had mentioned a "dream barn" to this business owner. So the business owner made a decision. He pulled off a fundraiser of $50,000 in 48 hours and intends to have the "dream barn" built as an addition to his neighbor's existing barn within the next 30 days. In Judaism, the first 30 days after someone's passing are called sheloshim. They are recognized as a holy and private special time period of mourning. This is an amazing Amish turn of the same intense mourning period's treatment. However sad this woman's passing leaves you, there is an abundance of potential good in the World. Much of it is in Holmes County, Ohio.