Linda Remeschatis, Wisconsinmade.com
IB's Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet the state's professionals. This week features Linda Remeschatis, founder and president of Wisconsinmade.com.
Business Address: P.O. Box 44667, Madison, WI 53744
Spouse/Partner’s Name: Rick Remeschatis
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Leadership Greater Madison (LGM) Alumni Assoc. Board of Directors, 1997-2001;
Dane County Bar Association chairperson of the Law for the Public Committee; Chair of the Juvenile Justice Video Committee, 1996-2000;
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) Board of Directors, treasurer of board and chairperson of the Finance Committee, 1982, and board member and chairperson of the Fundraising Committee, 1992-1994.
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
Leadership Greater Madison Alumni LGM4, 1997
Leadership Great Madison Alumni Association Board of Directors, 1997-2001
Chamber Member, 1999-present
Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1999-2012
Greater Milwaukee Cenvention and Visitors Bureau, 2000-2006
Something Special from Wisconsin, member, 1999-present
Tempo, member, 2001-2011
Wisconsin Alumni Association, member, 1983-present
UW Business School Leap Program, 2002-2009
SBDC (Small Business Development Center), Peerspectives, 2006-2010
NAWBO/Wisconsin Women Entrepreneurs, member, 1996-present
Breast Cancer Recovery Foundation, sponsor, 1998-present
Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition, member, 1996-present
Volunteers in Probation, volunteer, 1977-1982
Wisconsin State Bar Association, member, 1986-present
Dane County Bar Association, board of director, 1996-2000
Dane County Bar. Chair of the Law for the Public Committee. Recipient of the Gordon Sinykin Award of Excellence, 2000. Board of Governors Exceptional Achievement Award for Juvenile Justice Lesson Plan, 2001. Chair of the Juvenile Justice Video Committee, 1996-2000.
American Cancer Society. Reach to Recovery volunteer, 1997-2002
National Association of District Attorneys. 1987-2000
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. (DAIS) Volunteer, Board of Directors, 1979-1983, 1992-1994
Education: B.A., UW-Madison (Phi Beta Kappa); J.D., Valparaiso Law School
When did you decide to start your own business, and what is your day-to-day role today, Linda?
I founded Wisconsinmade.com in 1998 – website launched November 1999. I am president. I oversee and/or manage all marketing initiatives including website, Internet, social media, and all customer service and vendor relations aspects of the organization, including our online customers and vendor/artisans.
Who would you say has influenced your entrepreneurial spirit or career the most, and in what way?
My father founded the Janesville Brick and Tile Co. in 1946. For 30 years he operated and managed this business. As a child, I loved accompanying him to work. When I was old enough, I helped with the bookkeeping. This successful business supported our family. My father retired and sold the business in 1976. The business is still in operation and is celebrating over 60 years of business. My father died in 2005 at 94 years old. His advice: 1) Get an education, something no one can take away from you. 2) If you do not have something nice to say about someone, do not say anything at all. 3) Work hard and you will be rewarded in the end. 4) Money does not grow on trees; you have to work hard and earn it. His advice has stuck with me over all these years.
What was a career high point?
Hitting the million-dollar mark for online sales on Wisconsinmade.com a couple of years ago.
What is a long-range goal that you’d like to achieve before selling or exiting your company?
The best part of my job is having the opportunity to represent, promote, and market Wisconsin companies and their products. Before leaving this company, I would like to know that Wisconsinmade.com’s future is in good hands. That it will continue to serve customers throughout the U.S. with outstanding Wisconsin-made products, and that it will continue to help Wisconsin entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses increase their sales and open up new markets nationwide for their products.
You’ve gone from law to retail. What were your earliest career ambitions?
I was told by an advisor in high school that I should not go to college because I was not smart enough. After meeting my husband, who believed in me, I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UW-Madison and completed law school. Not too shabby for someone who was not smart enough.
I’d guess not! Your very first paycheck, Linda: from where and how much?
I worked as a waitress at the Alpine Restaurant located in the Creston Park shopping center in Janesville. They had the best homemade pies in town. I was hired as a waitress when I was 16 years old and paid minimum wage.
What did you do with all that money – your very first check?
I purchased clothing at the clothing store right next to the restaurant.
What do you do “beyond the office” that brings you happiness or relaxation?
Time with my husband is very special. We enjoy time in the kitchen together preparing meals, time in the morning reading the paper and discussing the articles, and on weekends driving around the Wisconsin countryside in our Miata, preferably with the top down.
Sounds like you two are close.
Every morning my husband greets me with, “Good morning, beautiful.” I have become accustomed to hearing those words each morning for the last 38 years – it reminds me how lucky I am.
That is special! Any alone-time activities to help balance family and work?
I take 30-minute early morning walks, five days a week. The fresh air is invigorating. It gives me time to enjoy the beauty of my neighborhood and get exercise to boot. It also is a great time to reflect on my upcoming day. And finally, because my family – two daughters and three sisters – are not in Madison, I look forward to and enjoy talking with them over the phone and catching up with their lives.
You mentioned drives with Rick, your husband. What is your favorite destination for longer travel, and what makes it special?
I have a lot of favorite places. It is hard to pick just one. But if I have to pick, my favorite place outside of the U.S. is Switzerland. We have traveled there three times – the scenery is breathtaking and people are so very friendly. In the U.S., my favorite places are Hawaii and the Grand Tetons.
Do you read for pleasure?
I like self-help books. I am always looking for books to help me keep my balance between work and home life. I also like murder mysteries – that comes from my years working as an assistant district attorney.
What character would you most like to be identified with, and why?
A princess. My husband reminds me regularly that I am the princess in the house. Occasionally, though, I have to remind him of that fact as well.
That’s priceless – and now, to close, in addition to the word “princess,” Linda, add three more words that you think best describe you in reference to the workplace.
Optimistic, tenacious, disciplined.
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