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Powerful Women: Let's Talk - 56: Michelle Krick

Michelle Krick on Powerful Women: Let's Talk

Michelle Krick is high energy and has an enthusiastic passion for life. She is a personal stylist who specializes in personal style development, closet organization and styling, and strategic shopping through her company Michelle Krick Style. She also owns The Modern Retailer in which she shows small business owners how to think big and dream bigger.

Powerful Women: Let’s Talk is created by WGVU NPR and made possible by WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Full Transcript:


[intro]: produced by women about women. Powerful women. Let's talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world transforming who we are and how we live.


Shelly Irwin: Michelle Krick is high energy and has an enthusiastic passion for life. She owns Michelle Krick style as a personal stylist that specializes in personal style development. Closet organization styling and strategic shopping believes style is for all sizes. Exclamation point. She also owns her own retail consulting business as the modern retailer which she shows small business owners. How to think big and dream. Bigger all while being profitable. Plus, she has a whole room. Dedicated to crafts. So welcome to you. Michelle Krick

Michelle Krick: Hi shelly Thanks for having me.

Shelly Irwin: Welcome an entire room dedicated to crafts do you give tours

Michelle Krick: No, but my friends, when they come over, do want to see the room.

Shelly Irwin: Yeah. We'll talk more about that good that you have maybe a balance life. So, congratulations on your success thus far. Were you a styling 10-year-old?

Michelle Krick: You know, I always love feeling and looking good.

Whether it came from my clothes, my hair. I just never wanted to just throw something on. So, I'd say I was. But if you look back at the pictures, I am not Sure, we will say yes, but and my mom was always into clothes to. So, she would like take our clothes in and add patches and do these different things. So, it was just she always sewed so it was just, you know, something that we did clothes

Shelly Irwin: so how did you come to be in fashion industry.

Michelle Krick: Well, it was a complete accident. So, I went to San Diego State University, and I ended up I was working as a waitress, as many of us do through college and my girlfriend decided she wanted to go through the holiday season at Nordstrom. And she said to me, come with me. And we can do this during the 4th quarter just December. Well, she hated it. I thought I died and went to heaven, and I thought,

am I really getting paid for this and I'm helping everybody find outfits to go out? I worked in the junior area, you know, in college or in the younger area. So, I would find outfits that made people feel good.

And I had a blast doing it. So, she ended up quitting in like a week and I ended up being one of the only 2 people that stayed on after holiday. That was hired for temp help, and it ended up working there 11 years.

Shelly Irwin: Wow, did you change your major?

Michelle Krick: No, I was a business degree. And so, one of the big things in retail is it sent quite volatile business, actually. And so, I had always wanted to get my degree before I moved up into the retail world.

So, I knew I always had that business degree to fall back on if retail didn't work because of the volatility

Shelly Irwin: I am going to stop you with volatility. That sounds dangerous.

Michelle Krick: Well, if you think about it there so many retail stores, that come and go and it's a very high stress fast paced business in corporate world in the buying world. You're traveling a lot every month.

It's just can be a lot so it can be a very volatile business. And I just knew that I loved it.

And I knew I was naturally kind of good at it. But I always wanted that to fall back. So, they want to move in management all through college. And I said no and just as soon as I got my degree, I did.

Shelly Irwin: Well, nice. Well, again, before we get to present day with your own

ownerships. You all you did to do some, pay some dues. Talk to me about a few of your again stops Nordstrom's you had work at Meijer.

Michelle Krick: Yes.

So, I was at Nordstrom for about 11 years and then move to the Midwest and was at Marshall fields for about 10, 2 years after Macy's bought us than closed our offices down. I did practice on marketing after that and then went out. San Francisco worked when Sears moved, they're buying office of apparel to San Francisco. So, it's a really entrepreneurial mindset. All my career has been focused on companies that want someone that is going to think differently that is going to be entrepreneurial style and come in and move the needle. So, I was always moved around to different jobs to be able to fix an area that needed kind of updating or get an area that was kind of stale to be fresh. So, after San Francisco, that's when I came to Meijer here In Grand Rapids and I was brought in to reinvent the women's apparel division.

Shelly Irwin: were you working before I aced the stay with that a few minutes in this career progression. We are working with clients, with people or more. The branding of the product I mean. And now I think you work more with people but were you working more with the Organization for the people that way.

Michelle Krick: Yes, the first 4 years through college. I worked with clients and after that, I went into the buying offices. So, I was in corporate for the last 30 years up through executive levels. And what I love is I went from start to finish. A salesperson up to a DMM and gmm and…

Shelly Irwin: who?

Michelle Krick: uh a DMM, GMM a DM is divisional merchandise manager. That's the person that really builds the strategy and vision with the buyers. So, you're putting together basically who you want to be to represent to your customers. So, it's similar to what I do.. styling as a person you're putting together who you want to be to put out to the world. Well retailers do that too. If you think about every store, they all represent themselves very differently. They all have a vision and who they are and as style. And it's the same kind of thing. So that's really what that level does It was just really strategic and really exciting to be able to see a vision of how to get people to really love what they see when they come in the store

Shelly Irwin: any unique stories with your working at Meijer

Michelle Krick: Well, I would say there's 2 things that I I'm the proudest of in my career that actually happened at Meijr. And when you think about Meijer, you think about it as a grocery store.

So that was the thing they wanted me to change is where people considered coming over the aisle that we called it into apparel. And so, we think about that price point at Meijer and it's a target in some of these and well how can target be okay with clothing and Meijer wasn't. Well, they could be. So that was one of my biggest challenges was to get people to think about Meijer are in a different way from the clothing standpoint. And one of the biggest challenges was I can bring in the best product. My team can bring in the best product. But the fixtures were very dull and boring a sea of 4 ways. So, I presented a fixture strategy

to them that allowed for highs and lows on the floor and some excitement with how the merchandise was presented with mannequins, things like that. And so, yeah, that rolled out to all the all the apparel area as and they're continuing to roll that out. So that was exciting. And then probably one of my most important strategies that I really believed in so much was combining small through 3 X. So, it started in the junior area because Missy and plus is always separated in most stores wel the junior area when we had at my juniors, we didn't have a place to separate the juniors and the plus. So, we decided to just put it all together and that worked so well. We knew that it was right to keep moving on. So, I presented a whole strategy on how to separate missy and. Plus now put it together and it was extremely challenging because the industry doesn't really go down that path. The vendors. What I mean by the industry. The shoppers aren't used to a strategy like that. The infrastructure that is set up in a corporate buying office is not set up that way. So, we had to move around all the buyers, change all the financial formulas behind everything. Where things are pointing to everything. It was a long process and then we created this marketing strategy behind it to be able to share with everybody what we're doing, and it was just really important to me because I don't think style has anything to do with your size or your age or how much you're spending or anything else. It's really all about how you want to portray yourself to the word and how you feel. And so, there was just no reason to have it separated. There's just none. Really if you think about the scenario. So, working with the vendors.

We had to really say to them. You're either going to carry things from small through 3 X and at the same price where it will be presented at the same price, or we won't carry your line. And that was really the Stance we took. And it really worked well

Shelly Irwin: doesn't keep you up at night anymore I am sure hey How did Michelle Krick style come to be. And then how did the modern retailer develop.

Michelle Krick: Yes, I decided I needed a break from corporate. I've been there over 30 years and

was feeling like I need to focus on my health a little bit and just kind of regroup. I always believed in balance living. But really, I wasn't living it. And so, I started this styling business I had been I had been working with Stacy London with a project at Meijer and I knew she had been a stylist. We talk a little bit about it, and it just dawned on me. I could do something different with my life. I always wanted to retire early, but it gave me this chance to not really retire at because I knew I would never retire. I'm really not that type. So, this gave me a chance to do something different. So, I started the styling business, and I literally started a Web site and started working with people. That was it. But I have 30 years of background in this, you know, the skill set, and everything was there. And it was just really, really fun. Well, then I started taking people into the stores and realizing that some of these boutiques really didn't understand how to financially run their business. And it was surprising to me. I really hadn't thought about it because I've always just gone into the stores as a shopper. Once I started doing that, I would see they be out of things that were really important to be in stock on to be able to drive more sales. They had too much clearance inventory. They had too much inventory are all that I knew in my gut from all my experience that they weren't able to be profitable.

They're buying too much. All these things. And I basically shortly after I started the styling business, I also started consulting with some of the boutiques I would work with, and it just naturally happened so fast forward to 3 years later or think it might have been 4. But this spring. I actually started

the modern retailer and basically, I started an online course and my partner Elise Good from the mod Betty portrait boutique her and I created this concept where you can learn how to build experienced based retail experience based business add retail to it. So, it will be way more than just that. But we're starting with that.

But then I'm also doing the consulting. And I just really love to help people succeed. I don't know how to say it, but in my mind that if they're not succeeding, I'm not. So, when you look great, you're succeeding, when you are profitable with your business. You're succeeding. So, it's just it's just in my nature to feel that way and want to help.

Shelly Irwin: Yes, well, I mean, back to that opening high energy enthusiastic passion for life How important is it to find our own style.

Michelle Krick: You know, I think it's really important and that is a loaded question of style, and a lot of people tell me I don't know my style. You know, there are a lot of different labels you can put on style. But I really believe that your style has a guideline. But then it has an essence of you feeling great in who you are. That's really a style. So, you can be eclectic and like a lot of different categories and that's a style you can have a little more classic concept. And but yet you sometimes add some fun stuff to it. That still style.

You don't have to fall in a bucket. And I think everybody wants to put themselves in a category. A lot of times for a lot of things. But really, it's about looking great feeling great and sending yourself to the world as you want people to see you. And that's really what a style is.

Shelly Irwin: yes, how did you get into crafting

Michelle Krick: ha crafting Well, my nana my mom's mom. One of my absolute favorite people that has ever lived in this world had a craft room. I was growing up. I was in there every weekend doing all kinds of things with her and then my mom. Another favorite person of mine in this whole world

had a craft room and she her hers was focus more on sewing. So, I just knew that that was a passion of mine

and it's a way for me to decompress, even though I'm busy doing stuff. That's my way to kind of turn my brain to another level versus the business side and just kind of relax even I'm not really sitting there it.

It's sitting for me. And so, I just really, really, really, really love. And my husband calls it the bunker

because I disappear.

Shelly Irwin: that’s another conversation. Why rescue dogs in your life.

Michelle Krick: Rescue dogs. Well, I am a huge fan of dogs overall.

They're just so special and just that the connection that you can have with an animal is quite amazing. We started rescuing. Oh, I don't know, 10, 12, years ago and I remember our first rescue, Sir, first 2 dogs, we bought puppies and then we wanted to add a 3rd and we decided to rescue because number one, I think it's the right thing to do. But number 2, we didn't want to add up puppy to this group of two older dogs we had.

So, we tried rescuing while what was so amazing as I remember going to pick the dog up and I said to my husband, are we going to love this dog as much as we love our puppies. I have I have never loved a dog more than I love that first rescue dog literally. And he just passed away last year. It's been really still rough. And so, it's just interesting how,

you know, love is love.

It doesn't matter how long you know something, someone if you know him from the beginning of their life halfway through. It doesn't matter. Love is love. And so, to me, these dogs are, you know, they need help.

And right now, we have 3 10-year-old rescue dogs that We haven't even had for a year yet. So, we're a little crazy right now. But yeah. They need help. And we decided to do a senior rescue concept this time

Shelly Irwin: do not let them chew on a shoe

Michelle Krick: oh, they won’t

Shelly Irwin: how about growing up on a campground. What's this fun fact?

Michelle Krick: Yeah. I actually grew up on a campground literally. So, I was born in Pennsylvania and my parents. We own the campground and as 25 acres of pure fun. And so, we literally. Had a pool a pond. We had a miniature golf course a playground. I mean, our bikes, we would just run around all day. We had a rec room. This is really a fun fact do so when the guy would come into the rec room and take all the money out after the weekend to all the video games. He would rack them all up for me for free. So, I'd have Pac man asteroids, centipede, pinball everything. And I would just have all these games all week to play. And I would just be Loving every week. He did that. He just racking them up for me. So, I got really good video games because it was just, I cannot wait to play the video games free That was really fun. But yeah. So, from 5th grade to 9th grade. We actually lived in 2 states Pennsylvania, California. So, we do one quarter with of the summer at the campground and we do one quarter a Pennsylvania school. Then we get in our in our motor, our camper and we travel across country to California. And then I do 2 quarters there. We travel across back and I would do a quarter there and then spend the summer at the campground again. So finally, they decided we need to be in one place moving into 10th grade. We ended up, of course in California because that was where our love was, we love spending time there. When my mother was 25, she rode horseback from Pennsylvania to California. So, when we were kids traveling cross, she kept in contact lot of people, and we would visit those people along the way that she knew when she rode horseback. So, we have an adventurous little family

Shelly Irwin: DNA is thick you yourself admit your fiercely loyal. What’s this mean and why the statement?

Michelle Krick: I think that's I was brought up that being loyal and truthful and honest is really important and I believe that it takes strength and confidence to be able to be loyal. It's a lot easier to walk away than it is to be honest of what's happening with people you're with or talking about things communicating

and I carry that personally and which is why I have such deep friendships. They mean a lot to me. And then I've had for a very, very, very, very long time. And then I also have that mindset in the work environment. I've had moments where board members come talk to me about the president or something and trying to get me to get in the middle of things and I am fiercely loyal at work where I will not let that happen. And we'll go talk, I need to talk to so and just open it up because, you know, I just think that it's just important to be honest, communicate and not talk behind people's back in this whole bullying that's happened over all these years. Like, you know, let's just let's just care about each other.

Shelly Irwin: How do we teach young girls. That fashion is important, and I don’t know if I am using the right word but not if defining how we keep the little ones authentic in their choices and not feel like they need the 300-dollar fancy shoe to keep up with the Joneses.

Michelle Krick: Yeah, that's really hard. Everybody is concerned about the Joneses. But when you actually stop and care more about yourself and how you feel and be confident with who you are, then some of that can go away. And you know, like I said, if you define your style and know who you are. If you own your style.

There's a lot of strength and that confidence that that comes with and you don't need to have that hottest thing anymore because it's more about you and you as a person than it is about that thing that you have now, that doesn't mean that you don't want to add some fun pieces or you still want to have a definition of style and who you are because it can come out a little bit like that and it's fun. But it doesn't have to define you. So, I go back to always saying what are you comfortable in what how are you comfortable in your own skin. And what ways are you comfortable. And the more you do that and the more you embrace who that is and what that looks like. My mom has the most unique style

and she is so comfortable with who she is and how she likes to dress. And I it's not my style and I don't even get it and I have not gotten it for 80 years. And it's just really funny. But I love that she loves who she is, and she loves to wear it. Wears it with passion and that just makes you feel good. So, I think at any age we have to think that listens with

Shelly Irwin: sounds like your mom needs to be brought in for an interview hey what craft. Are you working on now?

Michelle Krick: Oh, right now. I have been immersed in my new business, the modern retailer.

So, I haven't been able to do as much as I wanted to. And then I will say that I'm really into making cards and notebooks and I love to give them as gifts, and I don't do any of my crafts for sale like its all just gift giving that I like to do. Those are probably the 2. I'm doing the most right now

Shelly Irwin: and describe your shoes

Michelle Krick: Today's shoes? Or my 150 plus pair of shoes today. So, I have a little juxtaposition going on. I did some pattern mixing. So, my shirt has a little bit of white and black and a checkered vibe and then I have a floral.Shoe was white with a floral tongue. So yeah, I like to have a little bit of a twist in what I wear

Shelly Irwin: and rightly so mthank you for your time Michelle Krick

Michelle Krick: Thank you.

Shelly Irwin: And that does it for another edition of powerful women. Let's talk I am Shelly Irwin


Outro: produced by women about women this powerful podcast focuses on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live. Want to hear more powerful women. Let's talk get additional interviews at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcast, please rate and subscribe. Powerful women. Let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU.

Its underwriters are Grand Valley State University.


Shelley Irwin is the host and producer for The Shelley Irwin Show, a news magazine talk-show format on the local NPR affiliate Monday through Friday. The show, broadcast at 9 a.m., features a wide variety of local and national news makers, plus special features.
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