Meet WE Magazine for Women – Woman in Business, Robin Wilson, CEO & President – Robin Wilson Home (Small Business Week Interview Series)
Tell us about your business:
I am an award-winning eco-friendly interior designer and founded my brand, Robin Wilson Home, with a focus on wellness and living healthy at home – with designs to change the way people think and live. The brand philosophy is to create a holistic lifestyle by understanding that there is a link between interior environments, chemicals and asthma, allergies and other diseases. Our branded Robin Wilson Home line of basic bedding, pillows and quilts are sold at Bed Bath & Beyond and my brand has a line of custom kitchen and bath cabinetry sold by over 400 independent Holiday Kitchen dealers nationwide. In May 2013, my furniture line, Nest Home by Robin Wilson, premiered at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. I am also the author of Clean Design (Greenleaf, 2015) and the IPPY award winning Kennedy Green House (Greenleaf, 2010). It is also exciting to be regularly invited to participate in industry conferences and appear on television to offer my expertise on design, wellness, sustainability and allergy and asthma issues.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Being a business owner means working harder than you ever worked in a corporate job. However all of the investment of your time and energy goes into your own company and the team that supports its development. My grandfather and great-grandfather were both entrepreneurs and, as a young child, I heard the stories and watched them work as they managed rental properties, a general store and a laundromat and assisted ranchers in my home state of Texas. It was always inspiring to see the freedom they had in their lives, along with a certain amount of cash flow that permitted a comfortable lifestyle.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My greatest influence in business has been my licensing partners and advisors who have kept me focused on my goals towards achieving professional success. I am grateful to my family each and every day. Also my investors who have believed in me when there was simply a kernel of an idea. They provided the initial funding for my dream to create my namesake brand.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Tenacity and resilience. As an entrepreneur, you still have to get up and go to work even if you paid all your vendors and team members, and could not pay yourself. My belief in this dream has continued, even in the face of many insurmountable obstacles.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
There are three legs to the ABC wheel of success that are absolutely necessary – Attorney, Bookkeeper, Cash flow. The best contracts have kept my firm out of trouble; my bookkeeper has handled vendors and receivables; and my consistent cash flow is the most important piece as it keeps the business afloat.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
It’s very important to market your brand and products to make sure you are communicating the personal story behind what you do. The most important part of my story is that I have a lifelong history with allergies and asthma and my business focuses on creating and exposing consumers to hypoallergenic and non-toxic options for their home. This authenticity behind my consumer products led to an initial feature in O magazine followed by additional coverage in both print, such as House Beautiful, Essence, Elle Décor, Natural Homes & Gardens, and television, such as CBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS, MSNBC and many more.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe.
Quickbooks is a basic requirement for all entrepreneurs and Mint is a great way to manage your personal budget. I also live by a great book called The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber introduces entrepreneurs to some of the best ways to build their business.
In June 2015, Robin Wilson Home will celebrate its 15th anniversary of being in business. And my second book will appear this year called Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle (Greenleaf, 2015) which guides consumers about hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, yet still stylish, options for home interior design. We are doing a giveaway of 15 books on www.cleandesignbook.com through March 22nd and I will embark on a national book tour that will kick-off in NYC a few days later and go through September.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I have a 2 year old daughter and she and I have a great time and it is beautiful to discover the world through her eyes.
What is the Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
I am pursuing a licensing deal for lighting and am pushing to get additional distribution at a major retailer. And, we are entering the baby marketplace with a product launch in the next few months.
You want to write a book on:
My second book, Clean Design, will be on bookshelves on April 7, 2015 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon . This book was the culmination of my 15 year career bringing wellness home design to the masses. It shows stylish design from my work over the past decade and gives wellness tips to homeowners.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
One of the best quotes that I live by is “…what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail…”, and my belief is that you should reach for that goal because you just don’t know what can happen if you try.
What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?