Meet Robin, an inspiring woman

Thursday, February 11, 2016

You know those women who juggle a million and one tasks and make it look like a piece of cake? Robin Dewey, owner of Robin's Egg an antique store in Milford, NH, is one of them. A single mom, grandmother and successful business owner, Robin does it all .

Cathy and I recently met Robin while shooting at her beautiful shop. Robin is one of those people who you like instantly and feel like you've known your whole life. There's a warmth and sincerity about her that draws you in --you want to be her friend. After hearing her story, struggles and all, I knew that I wanted to feature her on The Midlife Fashionista. 

Meet Robin.

Susan:  Tell me a bit about yourself and your life.
Robin:  I have 6 children from 17 to 40 years old - 4 girls, 2 boys and 9 grandchildren who are all my pride and joy. I've owned a restaurant, a children’s consignment store, a tea room, and Robin's Egg for the past eight years.

S: Did you always love antiques?
R: Actually no! When my younger sister furnished her apartment with antiques, I remember thinking, “not my cup of tea!” Now, I have truly grown to love and appreciate them.

S: Tell us about Robin’s Egg!
R:  When I first moved to this area, I had hit financial rock bottom. I was cleaning houses to support myself. A friend suggested that I rent a spot at Milford Antiques (now Robin's Egg) to sell items that I had handcrafted. I did this for six months and then the shop owner decided to close.  Without even thinking it through, I knew that I wanted to take over the store. My head was spinning with ideas--I was so excited! My vision was to have something for everyone and a place where customers could enjoy their experience and take a walk down memory lane.  Unfortunately, when the the owner moved out, many dealers also left which made things very difficult for me. But I am not a quitter so I persevered. I slowly brought in dealers and I am proud to say that I now have 40 of them, with quite a substantial wait list! I've come a long way in 8 years and feel very fortunate to have had people in my life who believed in me.

S: What does your business say about you as a woman?
R: I really enjoy the friendships that I have made along the way. I learn something from everyone in my life. I am a “people person” so interacting with my dealers and customers is my favorite thing about owning Robin’s Egg. Everyone has a story of their own that touches my heart.

S:  What struggles have you encountered along the way?
R:  I've had many great struggles in my life. I like to think that I am a survivor, since I have hung in though it all and I am still here! After only owning Robin’s Egg for a very short time, the economy took a nose dive and I found myself in some very serious financial trouble. I've had 3 surgeries in the past 5 years, 2 being total hip replacements. Recovering from surgeries as a single mom can be rough. I am grateful to have wonderful people in my life who have emotionally supported me through these challenges.

S:  You have a son with special needs….how do you balance being a single parent and owning a business?
R:  It can be extremely difficult at times, but also so rewarding. My son Kolby has Down’s Syndrome, Autism and he is non-verbal, so communication can be challenging. However, he is so loving and such a joy to be around. He is a true inspiration to me. I also find that people are just drawn to him! My struggle is trying to balance my life. I do not get much time to myself, between running my business and spending time with Kolby. Finding "me time" is definitely a challenge.

S:  What words of wisdom do you have for other women in similar situations?
R:  Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you. I have been so lucky to have had people in my life who supported and encouraged me--especially when I doubted myself. Also, be sure to dream big. If you don’t dream and try to stretch yourself as a person, you'll miss out on so many of life’s amazing opportunities.

S:  What advice do you have for women looking to start their own businesses?
R:  Make a plan before you start. That is one thing that I did not do and it got me into trouble, delaying the success of my business.

S:  What has been your biggest accomplishment?  Struggle?
R:  Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to be a mother. I believe that my 6 children are my greatest accomplishment. As far as struggles, I've had a number of them. Life has not been easy for me. Through this journey I have had the challenge of making tough choices while trying to balance what was right for my family and my own well-being.  I wanted to be everything to everyone-- a good mother, spouse, friend, and business owner. Unfortunately, I could not always be all things to all people and I still struggle with the guilt of that to this day. But I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I think. I have been told that I bloom wherever I am planted. Whatever life hands me, I try to make the best of the situation--no matter how difficult it is.

S:  What makes Robin’s Egg different from other antique shops?
(personally I think it’s YOU :)
R: I think that it's the people. I am so lucky to have over 40 dealers who are extremely talented, creative, and dedicated to the shop. Without them, Robin’s Egg would not be as successful as it is today. We are constantly making changes to keep things fresh and interesting. I strongly believe that change is the key to success. I feel so proud that Robin’s Egg is such a haven to both my customers, as well as my dealers. Robin’s Egg has filled my soul with joy and contentment, more than words can express.

S:  What’s important to you in life?
R:  I want to make sure that when someone walks out of my shop, they are happier than when they entered. Money does not motivate me. I am inspired by people. I have customers who have been diagnosed with cancer,  suffered the loss of a loved one, or are just plain feeling down.  They visit the shop because it makes them feel's up-lifting. This motivates me. I just love to hear people’s stories--we are all dealing with something.

S:  What challenges do you see facing women in business?
R:  Women have many choices and sometimes they can be overwhelming. It is impossible to be everything to everyone. I think that women try to wear too many hats and then feel guilty when we cannot do it all. I am still learning that you simply can’t please everyone--I struggle with this.

S: What’s in store for the future?
R: I want to continue to grow the shop. Right now I am really happy with the dealers that I have, so I am encouraging them to take on larger spaces in the shop rather than me taking on more dealers. So far, this philosophy seems to be working out well. I am looking forward to continuing to change the shop so that it continues to grow. Change can be scary for some people, but to me change is the key to success.

S: What mantra do you live your life by?
R: Dream big! Your dreams may not always come true, but what you accomplish and learn about yourself along the way is your true reward. It is all about the journey for me, not the destination.

Hope you'll enjoy a few style photos from my "trip down memory lane"at Robin's Egg.

XO Susan

Photo by Cathleen Trainor

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