Kelly Stickel – CEO & Founder of Remodista

Trusted community is the key to building modern businesses

Kelly Stickel is the founder and CEO of Remodista, a social think tank examining global retail disruption. A collaborative thinker, she is focused on understanding the layers of disruption in retail and translating insights into actionable items for retail brands using community as a business model.

Devoting a decade at Accenture and Acquity Group, Kelly spent a majority of her career focused on connecting people, cultivating women leaders, and building business development strategies in management consulting. Starting in recruiting, Kelly worked her way through vendor relations, business development, and alliance partnerships focused on marketing and commerce problems across different verticals.

Kelly is passionate about cultivating leaders and is currently focused on assisting women in key executive roles in business. Recently awarded the Women of Influence 2016 from Chicago Business Journals, Kelly has since then launched the Women2Watch in Retail Disruption program in January of 2016 and expanded the program to Australia.

Kelly is very proactive in the communities of Chicago as she also is on the IoT Committee for Illinois Technology Association, speaks on topics around the community such as Internet of things and retail, as well as, the importance of women in executive roles, and writes a monthly column on retail disruption and the women to watch for Bizwomen. A graduate from University of Missouri with a degree in Political Science. Kelly is an accomplished mosaic artist and teaches art classes in her local Chicago community. To learn more about Kelly Stickel and her brand you can head to:

Where did the idea for Remodista come from?

In 2010, I was building conferences focused on mobile technology and retail brands.  At the time the conversation focused on SMS and MMS, very basic.  However, I did not like the way conferences were being organized. I put education first, and my male leadership had sales as the priority with minimally focus on the education. I chose to study, break down and rebuild how we buy and sell technology in the retail industry. The modern buyer prefers collaboration and education.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

As an entrepreneur, part of my day is doing the same thing I do every day in a routine, without skipping a step. Then I fill in blocks of time for strategy sessions, thinking, planning, marketing, and sales.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By starting with a big picture and working backward to fill in the details.

Creating a picture allows me to see the direction I am heading in and gives me insight to be flexible enough to not know exactly how I will get there.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

One trend that really excites me is the innovation in how we are currently conducting business.  People are willing to come together to solve how our world is changing.  We see that the current technologies are breaking, organizations are changing on the inside and we are moving to global strategies.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

One habit of mine is to work and stay focused even when I am not inspired to do so.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I had a hard time finding a where to go in my career path, but I didn’t really have any terrible jobs.  After a few years or trying different roles early in my career, I found management consulting and ended up really loving research, negotiation and partnership development.  I enjoy convincing others.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I do not have any regrets.  Any mistakes had great lessons tied to them.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I touched on this point his earlier – it is not one thing, it is many things, in unison, over and over.  That and evangelizing.  You have to be passionate about what you are trying to bring into the world.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

I use community as a main component of my business model and that has allowed me to truly understand my customers, and help build my products and services.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Building a business is a set of failures and successes. I would say being an entrepreneur means that not everything works every time, but you recalibrate. I have been building the business in a lean agile way, so rather than one failure, over the last three years, I have experienced ideas that just fell flat.  I overcome each failure, by recalibrating and trying again.  Trusted community is the key to building modern businesses

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

It was a taxi cab to get me through the UN Summit street closures during my first Women2Watch Award Show in NYC.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Rework by Jason Fried as it teaches you how to build a start-up with lean thinking.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

My mother, Mindy Grossman, Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, and Angela Ahrendts.


Kelly Stickel on Instagram: @kstickel
Remodista on Instagram: @remodista_culture
Remodista on Twitter: @Remodista
Bricks and Mobile on Twitter: @Bricksandmobile
Kelly Stickel on Twitter: @kstickel