This is our thirty-second year as KIZER & BENDER. 32 years of Retail Adventures, there is never a dull moment around here!
We certainly never thought that first time we walked onstage in Boston, Massachusetts to give our very first “Retail Adventures in the REAL World” keynote presentation that it would be the beginning of things to come. For that matter who knew that “professional speaker” was a real job? Well, Rich did because it was a lifelong goal for him, but it was all new to Georganne. We never imagined we’d end up here, but here we are.
Thirty-two years is a long time. Those few times we’ve been brave enough to watch the video of that first seminar we see two people who look sort of familiar. Georganne has some BIG 90s hair, BIG shoulder pads, and huge glasses. Everything was big back then. And she’s wearing a red suit, her trademark and the first of many. Aside from the beard that he grew around 1993, Rich looks pretty much the same. We’re blessed that he is thriving since the two open heart surgeries (two in two days, he’s an overachiever) he had in December of 2019. For Rich the pandemic shutdown was a gift because it gave him the time to recuperate that he never would have taken on his own.
We still love this quote from former Craftrends columnists Linda Queen and Wanda Zeagler that reads: “Many of you don’t have partners. That’s fine if it works for you. You obviously are not among the ‘Shared Brain People’ who inhabit this Earth. We are and we are very comfortable, each of us, with our own portions of our brains.” Some people who read that quote don’t understand it, but we do, and that’s all that counts.
Partnership is a cool thing. Just in case you didn’t know, but were curious, we are married. Happily. Just not to each other, thank you very much. We get that “Are you married?” question a lot; still a thirty-two year business partnership is nothing to sneeze at. It is pretty amazing considering the Beatles only lasted eight years.
We’re polar opposites. Our current office is in a 170+ year old farmhouse that’s loaded with personality. (And a few spirits, but that’s another story for another day.) Rich’s work space is a creative mess; Georganne’s looks neat as long as you don’t open her desk drawers. Rich is a Type A personality who is always thinking of our next big move; Georganne is all about the details, figuring out how to make that “next big thing” happen. Rich’s brain never turns off; Georganne flips hers off like a light switch the second she leaves the office. Rich reads business books and publications like a madman, Georganne reads everything except business books. Rich prefers to focus on one thing at a time; Georganne is the queen of multi-tasking.
We’ve played the palace and we’ve played crazy places we’d really rather forget, and some of our favorite presentations have been in the tiny back rooms of stores. The trials and tribulations of our 32 years of life on the road are priceless, and we honestly wouldn’t change a single thing. We are privileged to work in so many industries. Our clients include big guys like IBM, NCR, and SEARS, as well as intensively creative independents. And with funeral directors, wonderful people who care for their customers in ways that go far beyond what is expected.
Thank you for joining us on our continuing journey! We’re grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way, and we are thankful to all the people who call us each day to share their stories or ask for advice. Our door is always open!
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