Robin Wilson grew up in Austin, TX with awful asthma and allergies. Her parents found a holistic pediatrician that said, “You can raise a strong child or you can raise a child on strong medicine.” So she started swimming, biking, walking, track, etc. to strengthen her lungs instead of taking strong medication. Because of her background, she became an advocate for clean construction. Any number of things on a site can lead to an asthmatic episode. So she dove deep into hypoallergenic design.
Now, Robin Wilson is a U.S. lifestyle brand, author, designer and real estate developer. Named to the Inc. magazine Female Founders 100 List in 2020, she is a world-class thought leader on hypoallergenic, sustainable and eco-conscious options for the B2B and B2C marketplace. She is a two time #1 Amazon bestselling author and has been featured on multiple news segments as an expert on eco-friendly design and allergy-focused segments.
What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social
- [4:29] Mini News Sesh: Vertical Stories on Instagram
- [6:40] Designer Robin Wilson’s origin story
- [14:21] Robin’s thoughts on design school
- [22:20] From project management to Clean Design Home
- [33:42] Robin’s marketing process
- [36:47] Clean Design Home x Martex
- [47:57] How Robin’s marketing focus has shifted
- [54:38] The What Up Wingnut! Round
- [56:50] How to connect with Robin Wilson
- [58:45] Blooper Reel!
Connect with Robin Wilson
Resources & People Mentioned
Robin’s story: following her passion
Robin had a wonderful mentor/sponsor that helped her navigate her future. He asked her, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” followed by, “What is your passion?” Her answer was real estate. So he taught her how real estate worked and how to build wealth. She went on to get her Master’s in Real Estate Finance. She was one of three women in the graduate program.
One of her professors told her that she wasn’t going to have an easy road because she was a black woman in a man’s world. Instead of being offended, she decided to listen to him. He advised her to figure out something she could do immediately to make her degree worth something. He recommended she become a project manager—the busy homeowners’ best friend. She made $1.2 million in her first year in project management.
From project management to Clean Design Home
Part of Robin’s design signature started because she worked on tiny New York apartments that had doors everywhere. So she started implementing pocket doors in her design. On one particular project, she bought a Murphy bed that looked like a desk. She found a table that expanded to fit six people. She treated this client like royalty, not realizing she had connections in the industry.
After this project, Robin got a phone call from Adam Glassman, the creative director for Oprah. She didn’t return his phone calls because she thought she was being pranked. He called three times before she realized it was the real deal, so she called him back. One project changed the trajectory of her future career.
Robin firmly believes, “If you do great work, people will tell four people. If you do poor work and you’re nasty, mean, and rude—they will tell 20 people at a dinner party…If you do great work they will tell someone that’s a likely customer in the future.”
Clean Design Home
Clean Design Home came about when Robin wrote her book, “Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle.” It became a #1 best-seller on Amazon. Clean design is everything she does. She puts clean products in people’s homes. She supports hypoallergenic lifestyles.
Robin had a legacy brand, Robin Wilson Home. But she saw a shift in consumer spending from paying for quality to paying for cheaper products on Amazon. She felt her brand was gone and she was close to quitting. But Robin ended up being featured in articles about the top 10 black businesses to support.
She changed to a generic name (Clean Design Home) to speak to her niche. She dug deep into the hypoallergenic space and created luxury products. She found a licensing partner and saw a 3,000% sales increase after the New York Magazine article. She made $80,000 in 30 days. Then she was signed by West Point Home (Martex) and they created “Clean Design X Martex.” In 2020, she was ready to quit. Now she has a global brand in Macy’s.
What does Robin believe was the secret to her success? How has Robin’s marketing focus shifted since she launched her businesses? What tips does she share to help your business grow? Listen to the whole episode to hear more of her awe-inspiring journey.
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