April 2022

Robin’s love of fashion goes back as far as she can remember. In school she always looked for ways to complete projects on fashion in her classes. For her extended essay, she researched the influence of street culture on Japanese contemporary fashion. She always planned a career in the fashion business. But initially, Robin struggled to find her path. “I always loved the glamour but didn’t feel that I fit into the culture that's behind it.” She also values sustainability and knew that clothing production and the fashion industry has a huge impact on the environment. “I wanted to make an impact and work with fashion,” she said. After finishing school in Switzerland, Robin moved to the Netherlands to earn a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Business and a Masters in Fashion Enterprise Creation. “These experiences shaped my values and path within the fashion industry. But unlike many other You probably already know that hard work and connections are important, but Robin from Robin Retail talks about some of the other skills you also need in order to succeed as an entrepreneur in fashion. entrepreneurs, I didn’t realize that I would become one.” Robin’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur started when she saw the growth of food delivery and thought that model could help local retailers in Amsterdam. “Robin Retail was initially developed as a bike courier service for local boutiques.” Robin wanted to support local business but also reduce the carbon footprint of deliveries. “Most of the time, purchasing from a small boutique means a shorter supply chain.” She started with an initial business plan during her bachelor’s degree. To create her plan, Robin had to conduct primary and secondary research to validate the market, target consumer, and business model. “I started thinking and writing up our go-tomarket strategy. At this point it was all just a concept so I felt the freedom to be creative.” The more she worked on the plan, the more she was convinced that it was a great way to meet consumer needs while working with authentic, down to earth boutique owners. As her research continued, her idea grew. Robin expanded the bike delivery concept to have more focus on being a fashion e-commerce platform for local boutiques. She says her vision is to combine the charm and uniqueness of local boutiques with the comfort of your own home. “I noticed quickly that my skills could help local boutique owners enormously, and their fashion curations were very glamorous!” Shopping in local stores rather than chain stores gives people access to unique pieces. Robin recognized that if she wanted to create her own fashion business, she would need be comfortable taking a risk. Obviously, she needed to assess whether the risk was worth taking. Luckily, Robin was encouraged to develop her ideas. “People around me told me now was the time to do this. I'm young, have no major responsibilities, and I am able to do this without too much risk.” It was also very clear to Robin that she would regret it if she chose not to pursue her business idea. “This only left me once choice”, she said. Of course, in the beginning it all felt a bit scary. And she worried about a lot of what she was doing because it was all new. “I used to have quite a lot of anxiety going to boutiques to pitch our business. But after a few times, it became a lot easier.” Robin added, “It's empowering to get over the nerves and feel very comfortable in aspects that used to be scary.” This experience has built her self-confidence. “I enjoy the drastic learning curve the most.” She says that young entrepreneurs are thrown in the deep end, so you learn at a very extreme pace. “The more you get thrown in the deep end, the more you become comfortable with jumping in yourself.” And Robin recognizes that confidence and communication count. Everyone will have moments of doubt, so you need to have confidence when things get hard. “You need the courage to talk to as many people as possible, ask people outright for money, and convince people of your startup. The social networking aspect of entrepreneurship is very important to get a business moving.” She also quickly realized the importance of being open minded. “I think it's really important for entrepreneurs to get feedback, advice, and help. Even the toughest critics of your business can give you valuable feedback to make your business that much better.” And Robin’s advice to you? “If you want to start something yourself, make sure you're passionate about it. A business requires so much work and attention that you need to be able to fully commit to everything it takes to get it off the ground.” www.robinretail.com @robinretail on instagram Robin Retail on YouTube. “The more you get thrown in the deep end, the more you become comfortable with jumping in yourself.” Robin Retail App F a s h i o n Bu s i n e s s ? Want to work in the