What’s your higher calling? Impassioned entrepreneurs always have a huge reason, the driving force behind their work, even if it isn’t immediately apparent to the rest of the market. This column, a first-person essay, drives home why Kelly Stickel, founder of Remodista, cares about empowering women entrepreneurs. In this Higher Calling, she shares why she brought them together for the inaugural Women2Watch event in New York City.
By KELLY STICKEL
NEW YORK—My best moment as a founder was recently, during my first Women2Watch Award Show with 150 retail executives.
In January, Remodista listed 80 Women2Women as leaders we think you should watch. We use community to help leaders think through business challenges, provide expertise in areas where solutions have not been developed through collaboration, and shine a light on their key successes. In the last three quarters, 29 of these 80 women have changed title or company. We gave six innovation awards to women leaders at Keds, giggle, HBC Digital, New York & Company, YOGASMOGA and Zazzle.
I have had a retail committee of 20 leaders helping me think through community as a business model for the last three years for my business, Remodista. In quarters eight and nine, 16 of those 20 women were promoted or sold their businesses. Those numbers told me our collaboration was allowing them to be more insightful than others about disruption and innovation, and they were winning the promotions. Expanding this outcome became my priority.
Remodista is a Chicago-based social think tank that uses community as a business model. I re-engineered the buy-and-selling process, so that it is set up the way modern women prefer—through collaboration and education. When you use community, there is a higher purpose bringing you all together, and the community tends to manage that before their own needs. Our purpose is to educate brands, cultivate women leaders and connect a global community.
The biggest misconception in commerce is that you need a large, onsite, multi-year implementation. That model is going away and we are heading into the cloud with Saas platforms. We have put commerce platform players back in charge of configuring their modules, and businesses can focus on their business.
Business is transforming, and not just the retail vertical. Mobility is shaping the way business is structured on the inside. What is exciting is that while retail is transforming, some old standing business models are failing. The ones that are working or evolving are allowing us to shape future processes and procedures around new business solutions versus continuing to be innovative around failing technologies.
The best advice I can give fellow entrepreneurs is:
• Be passionate about the idea you are bringing into the world. It is a big commitment, and largely a solo journey to get it over the hill.
• Be willing to be not liked. Change does not come with popularity, as least on the front half of your journey, and some people need to be liked.
• Move forward even though you are afraid. Successful people are moving forward with fear and that helps you break through walls.
• Give it all you’ve got, and be ready to evangelize more and often.
Kelly Stickel is founder and CEO of Remodista, a social think tank examining disruption in global retail. Do you have a Higher Calling to share? Why are you passionate about solving the problem we’re facing, and what impact do you see it having on our society? Share your own essay HERE.