Robin Ann Meyer: Artist, Designer, and Small Business Owner
Robin Ann Meyer is a textile artist and product designer who calls Minneapolis home. She trained as an artist in England and Spain, then moved to New York City to pursue a career in home fashion industry. When her husband’s job took the two of them to Minnesota, Robin switched to freelance work, designing product lines for companies back in New York before launching her own business in 2017. She now works out of her studio in Northeast Minneapolis, creating beautiful prints that decorate both wallcoverings and scarves, and she’s always brainstorming potential new products. Robin shares her story, as well as her insights on art and entrepreneurship, below—keep reading for more!
Tell us about your company.
I run a textile and fashion company based in Minneapolis, MN.
What was your first job growing up, and what did you learn from it?
My first job was babysitting for a family friend. It taught me responsibility.
Tell us about your career path before starting your own company.
I studied art in Europe, receiving a Bachelor’s in Illustration from University College Falmouth in Cornwall, England, as well as an MFA from La Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. My experience in Europe developed my understanding of how important aesthetic identity is to culture.
After graduating with my MFA, I moved to New York City to find work. I ended up in the home fashion industry, designing textile prints for several different companies. I stayed with one bedding company for several years and learned all about the production process, as well as marketing and sales. This training proved crucial to starting my own business later on down the road, as the systems I followed served as a great foundation.
Tell us the story of why and how you started your business.
My husband and I moved to Minneapolis for his job. I continued freelancing for the bedding company that I had worked for in New York and picked up a couple of other product lines as well. One day, my husband said to me, “You have so much experience working on lines for other people—why don’t you try designing your own?” From there, the seed was planted.
What is a typical day like for you?
At the moment, I have a newborn son at home, so my priority is feeding and taking care of him. Prior to his birth, I’d do my social media marketing in the mornings and head to the studio from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. I typically divide that time between design development, production, and marketing/sales.
Tell us about a hard time in your life. What did you learn or how did it make you stronger?
It was hard starting out in New York. Design is already a saturated market, and I had graduated just as the recession was starting to hit. No one was hiring. I had to freelance for quite a while, which really wasn’t ideal since my health insurance was running out. At one point, I realized that I had sent out over 500 resumes. Luckily, though, I eventually found a company willing to commit to me, and I stayed with them for several years.
What advice or tips would you give to a new business owner?
Use SCORE business mentors—they’re great! As an artist, I didn’t know much about setting up a business, and they helped set me up for success.
What’s next for your business?
My short-term goal is to get through my busy summer schedule with a newborn! Long term, I would like to grow my wholesale business. I’m toying with the idea of printing upholstery in the next year while simultaneously brainstorming a wide variety of new products.
What do you believe is your single strongest skill that’s helped you succeed?
List making and organization! If you write something down, you’re much more likely to actually do it.
Tell us about your life outside of your business. What do you like to do?
I enjoy doing yoga, walking, watching independent and international films, and spending time with my family.
How do you balance your career and family/personal life?
Through strict organization and planning.
QUICK FUN FACTS
What age do you want to retire at?
One travel location on your bucket list?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
A mix of both.
What is your favorite blog, podcast or book?
This American Life or Radiolab
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