Former CEO of FeelUnique on the Executive transition

We recently caught up with Joel Palix, former CEO of FeelUnique, to get his advice on making the transition from Director to Executive level…

Under Joel’s tenure, FeelUnique’s revenue multiplied threefold, doubled its number of products and successfully expanded from the UK into regions all over the globe. Before FeelUnique Joel was at the helm of several high profile retail businesses including Clarins Fragrance and Thierry Mugler.

Our Editor with Joel

Joel, firstly, thanks so much for sharing your experience with The Retail Hive! We have a number of members who are taking the step from Director to Executive level in 2020, what tips can you offer them?

Number 1 – Manage the expectations of the shareholders

A key learning from me is managing the relationship with your shareholders.

Sharpen your skills presenting your projects to increase the likelihood of being approved by board. It’s also imperative to hone your way of sharing the bad news.

Ensure you partner with your shareholders when there is an opportunity, especially when you need a quick decision. You will need to be clever and astute – it’s well worth putting in the time and effort.

Building this relationship should be high on your agenda.

Number 2 – Keep razor sharp focus on the direction of the business

Don’t get lost in the day to day. It’s about the destination/the goal not the journey. Focusing on this single goal will help you succeed.

Number 3 – Surround yourself with a small team with limited resources…and a big plan

Be prepared to be lean – you need to find that sweet spot where there’s just enough resource to spark real creativity. A small team can achieve a lot. Having worked with large teams, I can tell you that in my experience, it’s the small teams that get things done.

And if you could provide one single piece of advice:

Spend time in the field

Walk the floors of your store, or if you are online, read the customer emails. Go to wherever the business originates. Never forget to spend time with people who are looking after the customers, or the customers themselves.

You’ll pick up essential insights for your team. It sounds simple but the fact is, many people don’t do it!

Thank you Joel! One last question, in your opinion, what’s the key to building a successful team?

I am a big advocate of true diversity – ensure your team represents the population. Surround yourself with people who have worked in the field who are different ages and nationalities. When you have diversity, you avoid the big mistakes. A diverse team allows for diverse thinking, which will often highlight things a homogeneous team might overlook.

Also, you need to build an agile team with a readiness to embrace change. Businesses are faced with huge changes. You need people who are ready to embrace rather than resist these changes.

In March 80+ Retail Hive Directors/Executives will gather at The Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire for our annual Exchange. You can read more here: