I’m Steve Leveen, the CEO and co-founder of Levenger. Welcome to my blog.
I’ll cover what goes on at Levenger behind the scenes, especially the stories behind some of our products that you may find interesting and perhaps useful.
I’ll also relay stories about how successful people work and how people use books to fuel change in their lives and in the world.
What it’s like being CEO of Levenger
When I meet customers, the comments I hear most often are “I love your stuff” and “You must be proud of the company you’ve built.”
I’m gratified when people say they like Levenger products. But hearing that I must feel proud always leaves me at loss for how to respond.
The truth is, I don’t spend two seconds feeling proud.
Being in retail means facing a never-ending list of things to improve: the zipper pulls on this bag need to be strengthened; the packaging of this ream of paper isn’t protecting the paper well enough. Are we answering the phones quickly enough? Are sales associates trained in the latest fiber-tip refills for our rollerball pens? Are we responding to emails fast enough with helpful responses? On and on and on…
Feeling pride is a luxury we can’t afford. Gordon Segal, the founder of Crate & Barrel and one of our mentors, says good retailers have to stay nervous. We do.
What I do feel is gratitude. I’m grateful that I can spend my time helping to design good gear for people who read, write and work with ideas. We try to make useful products that are also beautiful and built to last. What a privilege it is to be able to create such things for discriminating people who care passionately about their pursuits.
I feel grateful to work with the staff at Levenger, starting with my wife, Lori, who founded Levenger with me and continues to surprise me with her creativity and passion for excellence.
Ed Howell, our president, is a passionate merchant himself and a superb leader. Ed and the rest of the Levenger staff are dedicated to building a long-lasting company that is cherished by those we serve.
Finally, I feel grateful to our customers. I realize that many CEOs say this, and that it can seem trite, so let me try to convey the deep respect and admiration I truly hold.
Over the years I’ve been able to talk and correspond with thousands of Levenger customers. They come from all walks of life and every profession. They are interested people. If there is a common denominator, it is their drive to learn in order to better themselves and to improve this world. They are leading organizations, conducting painstaking science, designing better buildings, teaching history, acting, composing, writing, governing.
When I speak to new Levenger employees I tell them that the best perk of working here is interacting with Levenger customers. I tell them that at Levenger we may not be saving the world, but our customers are.
I’m grateful to serve you and hope that this blog will become another way to do so.