With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us next week, we thought we’d begin this blog post by expressing gratitude for the wonderful people in our industry who bring so much vivacity into our lives. We enjoyed being with so many of you during the Southern Style Now Festival in Charleston weekend before last, which was produced by a talented team spearheaded by Robert and Michael Leleux.
We’re Grateful for Our Design Community
We listened to many of you share your deep knowledge of southern culture and your sophisticated take on design during panel discussions and keynote addresses. We snapped up books and had them signed by the visionaries behind them. We toured the showhouse, sponsored by Traditional Home magazine, that held rooms spotlighting the talents of a number of you.
And we feasted and toasted with many of you, the laughter rippling through a handful of remarkable buildings, each an exemplar of Charleston charm. Buoyant conversation wafted across the lawn of a magnificent property as we welcomed many of you to the fête we sponsored along with AmericasMart, and Diggs and Dwellings.
The party took place at the Sword Gate House, which everyone was able to tour thanks to the knowledgeable hosts at Handsome Properties. As the comprehensive book the realtors put together to highlight this incredible home points out, it bears witness to two centuries of history.
Laughter also resounded during a panel discussion featuring Julia Reed, whose lively personality always roars to the fore. She led the discussion about a new home she built in Greenville, Mississippi, the effort documented in her memoir South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land, which she signed afterwards. In the Foreword, her pal Jon Meacham wrote, “Whether her subject is Scotch whiskey, the opossum, or the mad politics, mournful music, and out-of-the-way cafés and bars of the South, Julia unerringly finds the universal in the particular.”
About her return to her place of birth, Julia noted in the Introduction, “Until I came back, I don’t think I realized how much I’d missed the landscape and the sense of community, the humor and the good-heartedness, the agricultural scent of earth and chemicals more powerful to me that any of Proust’s madeleines.” One of the many stories she told about growing up in the south included an anecdote about how she and her siblings pasted very official-looking decals that read “Department of Having a Good Time” on the door of their vehicle, which sent the poachers and ne’er-do-wells scampering when they saw them making haste toward them!
Just as she is happy to have reconnected with the south, we are certainly glad we foster a large portion of our team on southern soil.
We Are Thankful for 30 Years
And so, we leave the humorous for the serious as we move into the month of our 30thanniversary at Currey & Company. We express deep gratitude for our own culture, which holds a veritable melting pot of inhabitants. We think it is the perfect month to acknowledge this with the warmth of Thanksgiving bringing us joy next week. In his poem “Thanksgiving,” James Whitcomb Riley wrote, “Let us be thankful—not only because/ Since last our universal thanks were told/ We have grown greater in the world’s applause,/ And fortune’s newer smiles surpass the old.”
One of the ways we’ve marked this milestone for our company is by speaking with several of the additions who are relatively new to us given we have a number of employees who have been with us for decades. We asked them about their experiences as they help our company thrive and their take on the world we call Currey & Company.
Tony Yakusu grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. He came to us as a refugee through the International Rescue Committee, our relationship forged with the organization by Lauren Gold, who has been instrumental in building our diverse culture and supporting its eager participants. Tony began his position in the parts department in September of 2015; and since early on, he has recognized and celebrated the fact that we are so committed to diversity. “Where I lived in Africa, everyone we worked and lived near was of the same nationality,” he explains. “Here, there is such a mix of ethnicities, it is like they have brought the world to the business.”
Tony is quite passionate about his work here. “I want to make this company the best it can be,” he explains. “I am confident that we are making great products at a good price and I am very proud of that.” His favorite thing about his job is opening a shipping container as soon as it comes in because he is excited to see the new designs: “I am one of the first people to see the products when they arrive, which makes me particularly eager to come to work when I know a container will need to be unloaded.”
Like Tony, Tah Asu Aloys Cliff, who goes by Cliff, came to us through the International Rescue Committee as a refugee. He grew up in Cameroon, a country on the west coast of Africa. He undertook a long journey to achieve his current freedom, which included detainment at the border with Mexico. He describes the situation he was in as dire. Once he was finally allowed to enter the country, he made his way to Atlanta where he lived with a friend. When the IRC placed him with us in early 2018, he joined our team in the production department and fit right in. He is now a quality control technician, and he calls his employment with us “a dream come true.”
He also celebrates the fact that he is doing something of value for people he cares about. “There is no better feeling than this,” he explains. “I went to the showroom for the first time five months ago and I was proud to see everything displayed. It makes such a difference seeing the products in a setting like that as opposed to seeing them newly uncrated in the warehouse without any context.” He expresses excitement that we are involved in the creation of refined aesthetics: “I could not imagine beautiful things in my life before; in fact, I would say it was impossible. Now, I am beginning to recognize beauty and I am proud of this.” He credits his experiences with us for this phenomenon. “My eye is being trained for beauty and I feel I have found everything I need here,” he notes. “It feels like home.”
Stay Tuned for News About January Markets
Having such thoughtful people looking after our products is truly a thing to applaud as we all travel to see loved ones and friends or welcome them into our homes next Thursday. But our respite will be short, as there are always events on the horizon, and we will be sharing all the details about our January Markets next month. If you are eager to get the events on your calendar, the Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas dates are listed on our website. Until next time, we leave you with these lines by George Parsons Lathrop from his poem “Thanksgiving Turkey”:
Fetch a log, then; coax the ember;
Fill your hearts with old-time cheer;
Heaven be thanked for one more year,
And our Thanksgiving turkey!