Say Yes to Your Dreams: Q&A with Kelly Groehler of Alice Riot

When you purchase an item, you’re doing a lot more than supporting a brand — you are supporting a story and a process, too. Where you put your dollars is nearly as big of a statement as where you put your vote, which is why it’s imperative to know what you’re purchasing, as well as the story behind it. One story we think is worthy of sharing is that of Alice Riot, a line of professional women’s garments that double as limited-edition prints of original, contemporary works by women artists.

CEO and co-founder of Alice Riot, Kelly Groehler, launched this clever clothing line just last week with a vision of women celebrating their personal style and power while also celebrating female contemporary artists. We spoke with Kelly (a Studio/E member) about her ambitions, what sparked Alice Riot and her message to young girls.

What made you decide to embrace your entrepreneur streak?

Kelly: It wasn’t an embrace as much as a willingness to let go of what I thought I was supposed to keep doing, and instead to follow the signs and take the steps to the things that I really wanted to try. The spark for Alice Riot arrived right as I was in negotiations with a number of recruiters for corporate roles that I really didn’t want, and later the invitation to join the RetailXelerator team at Sprosty Network had me working again with brilliant retail colleagues – and gave me a chance to work directly with startup founders. But it was still a very uncertain path – no W-2, title, compensation package or big teams to get the work done. It’s just me on the path, and it’s a mindful walk.

Has your participation in Studio/E helped you professionally?

Kelly: Yes. It helped me focus on who I really am, and to fearlessly go after an idea. The big difference is that it helped me reframe my perceived lack of experience or expertise by instead examining how my actual expertise, experience and networks can help move my idea forward — one step at a time. It also helped me select like-minded partners: my accountant and attorney are both Studio/E connections. I like to call it the “anti-MBA.”

How have these ideals helped you personally?

Kelly: I finally feel like my career ambitions are in line with who I am as a person. And I have enough flexibility to make healthier choices a priority – namely, exercise, sleep and time with my family.

What are you reading?

Kelly: Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Women’s Wear Daily.

If you weren’t working on Alice Riot, what would you do?

Kelly: Try a different idea.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Kelly: Just shy of my 57th birthday, having a blast.

What is your superpower?

Kelly: The Force. And coffee.

If you could send a message to every young girl you want to inspire, what would it be?

Kelly: Say yes to your ideas and dreams. We’ve got your back.

A good message, indeed.

Learn more about Kelly and her push to inspire girls, raise women and change the world at the Studio/E #ideaSLAM on Wednesday, February 28, 5:30 – 8:00 PM at the Studio/E Clubhouse. You can purchase your tickets here.

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