By Jules Lavallee
Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 1/27/2021 – Robin Wilson launched Robin Wilson Home in 2000 and created a conglomerate that covers eco-design, licensed products, interior design, and real estate development. Her brand has generated over $82 million in wholesale revenue from sales of cabinetry and textiles. She became the first Black woman with a line of hypoallergenic textiles sold nationwide at Bed Bath & Beyond now in Wal-Mart, among other retailers. Her book, CLEAN DESIGN: Wellness for your Lifestyle was #1 on Amazon and focused on eco-friendly designs and hypoallergenic products for consumers.
You are a world-class thought leader on hypoallergenic, sustainable, and eco-conscious options for B2B and B2C, how has the pandemic changed your perspective?
The pandemic made both me and my clients realize that the CLEAN DESIGN HOME (www.cleandesignhome.com) which sells our retail products is more important than ever – and that we should find non-toxic cleaning options and information for day-to-day living, especially since so many of us are working from home. I have pivoted to focus on building out the product line, and have just licensed our brand. So much information involves simple non-toxic options– the ideas are rooted in my bestselling book, Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle.
You were named Inc. Magazine’s Female Founders 100 List in 2020. Share your keys to success.
I want to share both professional and personal keys to success:
- Follow the ABCs to the 123s philosophy – hire a great Attorney for your contracts, a great Bookkeeper for your taxes and bills, and have good CashFlow.
- Hire slow and fire fast.
- Know what you know, and know what you don’t know and then seek advice from the “best” in that area – and listen.
- Surround yourself with positive people who will champion your goals.
- Pick a partner in your life who will add to your life, not diminish you or your goals.
- Watch your language – and don’t block your blessings (imagine a big deal comes your way. Instead of saying “that’s crazy” – in which you just blocked the energy – you should say something like “that’s amazing” or “so grateful”) and watch more positive come your way!
What are you most proud of?
I have done some amazing design projects including the White House Fellows office, a part of President Clinton’s Harlem office, and the rustic beach cottage of Robert DeNiro – each project had a very quick turnaround and exacting standards. However, the thing that I am most proud of is getting back on my feet after my divorce. Over the past five years, I have reflected on the process of rebuilding my firm and raising my daughter. It is important for me to show her my work ethic so that she will always know that she has options. The inner circle of friends and acquaintances who have stood by me throughout the past six years – has been pivotal to understanding the wise old saying that you can sometimes count your true friends on one hand!
You are a Best-Selling Author. Tell us about your recent book and what inspired you to write it.
My recent book, CLEAN DESIGN: Wellness for your Lifestyle is available on Amazon and our website, www.cleandesignhome. I wrote it to share eco-friendly design concepts and products so that people could improve their homes and businesses. A few weeks after my divorce, the book was published and I was able to participate in a national book tour – and when the book hit #1 on Amazon, it made me emotional – especially because it is dedicated to my daughter!
Tell us about being a “Wellness Entrepreneur.”
I grew up with allergies and asthma – and was fortunate enough to grow up in Austin, Texas. My parents had a holistic pediatrician with a philosophy that you can ‘raise a strong child, or raise a child on strong medicine’ – and he advocated that my parents work with me to ensure that my lungs were strong and diet was healthy. This meant organic food instead of processed, and exercise instead of couch potato activity – plus removal of the shag carpet to a tile floor. I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point” and realized that my life is epitomized by his philosophy…which is that 10,000 hours helps develop one’s expertise.
My 10,000 hours to develop expertise includes: A holistic based doctor encouraging eating organic food (Whole Foods and Wheatsville Coops are founded in Austin during my childhood) and exercise (good weather almost year-round in Austin). And I went to a school with a huge play space and twice-daily outdoor time – and afterschool activities that involved running, climbing, jumping. Plus, my grandmother had a garden and we ate fresh produce and learned how to prepare simple farm-to-table meals. In addition, in college, my internship for the Lower Colorado River Authority taught me about the hydroelectric power systems and peak demand energy usage options that are eco-friendly. And one of my mentors went to Washington to play a key role in developing the EnergyStar program. Most importantly, I have lived with allergies and asthma, and occasional emergency room moments – so I now know how to manage my triggers. In 2011, I became an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (www.aafa.org) and am able to get regular research updates when speaking or sharing information.
I worked for several companies – Mercer Management Consulting and Heidrick & Struggles – the latter of which did an IPO in 1999. I cashed out and had a windfall to propel me through graduate school at New York University (MA, Real Estate Finance) and created the niche for hypoallergenic design and clean construction methods. Within a few years, my brand was licensed and sold at retail, generating over $82 million (wholesale; translates to $2.4 billion retail) with cabinetry, textiles, and private label. As I re-brand our product line to CLEAN DESIGN HOME, I just signed a new licensing agreement in Q4 2020 for Clean Design Home x Martex which will premiere at the 2021 Home Textiles Market in March – and in the process of doing a few private label deals in Q1 2021.
The way to define a wellness entrepreneur is that we are bringing quality options to the consumer that are hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and non-toxic. Plus, we give information to people that can change their family health – especially in a pandemic where everyone is working from home and needs to be more careful in any work environment.
Share your advice for sustainable and eco-conscious living during these turbulent times.
Here are three tips:
- Ask yourself when was the last time you washed or replaced your pillows? The typical answer is 6 years. Follow the Rule of 3’s for pillows: after your weekly wash, you should wash the zippered pillow protector every 3 weeks; wash the pillow every 3 months; and if not done, then replace the pillows every 3 years (https://www.cleandesignhome.com/shop/9)
- Clean more often than usual (especially in the home office and bedrooms), and all over using HEPA filtered vacuums and electrostatic cloths or mitts
Do something nice for yourself every day such as aromatherapy. Dissolving bath tabs, essential oils, or soy candles are a nice way to calm your energy
What are your goals for 2021?
I am in the equity funding stage right now and I hope that we get partners who agree that CLEAN DESIGN HOME has great potential to be a leader in this currently fragmented space. Plus, I want to work with a partner on real estate development with modular homes to create a Live + Work + Walk community concept.
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