About a year ago, it happened. I got a call from my good friend, Robyn. “I can’t be in charge of the preschool board next year,” she said. “We’re moving to Memphis.” The first thing that ran through my mind was, “Yikes. Now I have to run that fundraiser again. Urgh.” And then, it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. My friend was moving away.
Robyn was born and raised here in Louisville, KY. Although we both grew up here we didn’t know each other well but our parents are friendly and when we both moved back, as adults, and began having children, we got back in touch through playgroups. Robyn and I used to enjoy going on walks, obsessing over calories and finding new workouts. She taught me a lot about how to go green – how to change over my lightbulbs, how to eat a healthier diet, how to consider the earth first. She’s a role model, truly. And her husband’s new job in Memphis was really rocking my world.
Sadly, October came and we let them go. They had to move on, get settled in their new world and make new friends. And Robyn? She needed something to do. So she and I talked and…. VOILA! 520 East Brands expanded into Memphis. So I asked her the same questions I asked Cathy… and here you go… get to know Robyn as I do:
What is your career background, before coming to this position?
I was an art educator. I taught middle school art in Indianapolis, IN for two years and then moved to the DC area where I taught two more years of middle school art in Silver Spring, MD. My husband I moved to Louisville KY in 2001 and I took a position as the Curriculum Specialist with the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. I worked there for four years, right up until the day before my son Alex was born. I then decided I wanted to be at home with him full time. Alex is now five and my daughter Ivy is three, they are my full-time career at the moment.
What’s your long term goal with 520 East Brands?
We moved to Memphis, TN in October and I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to meet people and to explore my new city. I also know that the day is fast approaching when both of my kids are going to be in school everyday, all day. A perfect scenario, is an upbeat, inspiring job that I can do from home while my kids are at school all day, allowing me to still attend every swim meet and ballet recital, help out at the school occasionally, and grab a pilates and circuit training class a few times a week…I can realistically do that with 520 East Brands. Also, I think it is so important that my kids see me doing “work” even if it is very part time. I love when I pick them up from school after an appointment or out approaching boutiques and they say I look “fancy,” and I tell them I was working…I think it is good they know I do something other than cook, do laundry, and workout. I really feel like I’m contributing to the bottomline of our household.
What’s your daily schedule like on days you are working?
I am a big believer in organizing as much stuff as possible the night before. So before bed on a working day, I have my Tuffo Car Organizer, bag of samples in the car, my binder nice and tidy, and my outfit picked out, (unlike my daughter I don’t lay it on the floor right next to my bed, but I know in my mind what my ensemble is going to be). I wake up most mornings at 6:00 am, walk the dog a couple of miles, make breakfast, take the kids to preschool, and then head off to the gym. Once I come home and shower, I double check that I am ready and organized to hit the boutiques and off I go. I keep a little folder in my car so I can make notes for follow-up e-mails and phone calls. I also text Shane a lot with questions as this is still new to me and I am learning the ropes…
Where did you grow up?
What’s your “elevator pitch” about what you do?
These products are superb, high quality, and stylish! I use many of them my self or have bought them as gifts for others!
What’s your favorite vacation of all time?
My husband and I went to Nantucket for our honey moon….we went back again last year for our 10 year anniversary. I think we are going to start to go every five years. It is such a lovely island…ahhh, the hydrangeas and the incredibly fresh salty air is just fantastically wonderful. Maybe we will even take the kids one time!
What’s the one place you’d love to go with your family?
With my entire extended family…like my parents, brother, sister-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins? This group is a blast…anywhere where they serve tequila and have a deck of cards! Just my immediate family? Well, Alex who has aspirations for being the next Jacques Cousteau has been planning a diving trip for the four of us to Australia for about a year now…I guess if he keeps it up we’ll have to go…one day!
What’s your favorite restaurant in your local city?
I don’t think we have been here long enough to have a “hands down favorite”. I still have a rather long list of restaurants I want to try. But as far as places I frequent for delicious food, The farmers market at the Botanic Gardens. Ok it is not really a restaurant, but I can leave there with a complete dinner and a bag of delicious treats for the week!
For me, the benefit of having Robyn as part of the company as that we have a reason to talk a lot (and I guess now she can write off mileage when she comes home!).by