Founder & CEO, STORY
Rachel Shechtman has always believed in the power of objects to tell human stories. Stories that connect, inspire and engage. As the founder of NYC concept store STORY, she has created a venue where these stories come to life inside a 2000-square foot space that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store. It’s retail as theatre—a living magazine where the objects pique our sense of wonder.
Rachel’s journey to create STORY was informed by a 10-year career as a consultant, founding Cube Ventures as an independent firm that introduced brands like TOMS, Bliss Spas, Kraft Foods, JCPenney, and the CFDA to the power of non-traditional, merchandise-driven storytelling. However, with four generations of retail entrepreneurship in her DNA, Rachel had always flirted with the idea of owning her own store.
In December 2011, she took the leap and opened STORY—a challenge to reinvent and rethink the traditional brick and mortar business model. As she saw it, retail had more to say and brands had the opportunity to reach customers and new ways beyond traditional advertising—but it would require doing everything differently. So STORY invented its own model, “Retail Media” to embrace these observations and opportunities. In place of articles, STORY would curate merchandise and events around a specific conversation as its editorial narrative. And partner brands would serve as sponsors for the experience, benefitting from the exposure and opportunity to experiment, create content and generate awareness in a new format.
Today the ever-changing store has told over 37 unique branded stories, updating its themes to include Color, Well Being, and an annual Home for the Holidays installation. In five years it has successfully partnered with companies including Intel, American Express, Target, Microsoft, and Cigna – each benefitting from Rachel’s special sauce of content, community, and commerce.
STORY’s approach to retail has become a new North Star for the industry and the business has been widely lauded by press including features in the New York Times, Ad Age, and WWD. Rachel has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Fortune’s 40 Under 40 List, Crain’s’ 40 Under 40 list, Advertising Age’s Most Creative People, and was awarded the FGI Rising Star Award for Retail.
As the business evolves, Rachel’s passion for giving people a space to share their stories remains steadfast. She has become a champion of the creative entrepreneur, whether stocking STORY’s shelves in items from local Makers or inviting a chef to host a cooking class. Rachel serves as a trusted advisor to a number of start-ups including SmartyPants, Birchbox and MikMak and she was recently named to the Board of Directors of the National Retail Federation—its youngest member.
Inductee, 2017 Advertising Hall of Achievement
Last Updated: June 2017