A Note from Hope & Cynthia — Say hello to Robin Wilson, a lifestyle brand entrepreneur, author and interior designer who is considered a thought leader/expert on hypoallergenic and Clean Design™ protocols for allergy and asthma-friendly wellness spaces.
Did you know: One in five Americans has asthma and allergies. That’s a whopping 60 million people who every day are sniffling and sometimes struggling to breathe. Robin’s goal is to increase awareness that many homes are filled with triggers and toxins, which can damage the health of its inhabitants. In collaboration with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, her book “Clean Design” explains that with a few simple changes, they can clean house — and breathe better.
Robin Clean Home Design philosophy is the key: “I know exactly how asthma and allergy sufferers feel because I have spent much of my life struggling with these issues myself. As a child in Texas, I had terrible allergies and our pediatrician told my parents they had a choice — to raise a strong child who can learn to cope with her breathing issues by using natural remedies, or raise a child on strong medicine. I thank them for opting for the former, and appreciate how hard they worked to create a wellness lifestyle for me. My goal is to provide affordable options to millions of others in the same situation as I was using Clean Design.”
Get started now two tips that Robin shared during our video interview:
- Do you have “hard water” causing a ring around your toilet bowl or tub? try using soda as a scrub and let it sit for a bit to work its carbonated magic. We tried it right after, and it worked like a charm causing to wonder if it can clean that mess what’s it doing to your body if you drink? Note: You might want to use clear soda — not that it makes a difference; it just looks a little, well, less icky sitting in the bowl.
- Have you washed your pillows lately? Robin said to use the rule of threes:
- Change your pillow case every three days
- Wash your pillow every three months because they collect everything that’s shedding — your hair, dry skin, etc. We tried this with two pillows; one got chewed up but the other survived just fine helping rule #3 arrive sooner than later.
- Buy new pillows every three years. “Everything has a shelf life,” Robin insists.
What’s Next for Robin? The woman who earned a MA in real estate finance at New York University and a BA in economics and history at the University of Texas at Austin shares her thoughts below. Scroll down for more.
And for everyone you love who would benefit from “Clean Design,” click here to buy Robin’s book in the new Inkandescent Shop.
What’s Next: The Power of Clean Home Design
Hope & Cynthia: Tell us about your business / industry and where it was before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Robin Wilson: My firm was focused on a few interior design projects in New York and New Jersey and one remote project for a Texas client. When the pandemic hit, I quickly realized that many clients would not want to see traffic in their home, so we did a quick pivot to “virtual design” where you take a floorplan and images of a space, and create a set of design images and finishing details for a client – without entering their space. You have to use a set of visualization techniques, similar to what developers require when they are building a new hotel or commercial space. At the time of the pandemic, my real estate development work went to zero because lenders stopped lending for development projects and design clients cancelled. It was a moment also of recognition that it might be a while before it came back to life.
Hope & Cynthia: What were your short and long-term goals at that time?
Robin: My daughter was a 2nd grader in March, and I recall that in February there was a moment when she got sick, and half her class was out. At that time, they thought everyone had the flu, but not one of the children tested positive for the flu, and they were not achy like the flu. I think that they had coronavirus in retrospect – and no one knew to take precautions. When school cancelled in person classes, it was challenging for both parents and children.
The children missed their friends and teachers, while the parents were terrified by news reports of deaths. The economy came to a grinding halt, and the most important thing for me was the safety of my child and elderly parents. My mom happened to be in town from Texas, and she stayed a bit longer to help me juggle through the transition to remote learning.
- Short-term: My goal was getting to Costco before everyone else, so we did an early morning run and filled up my Prius with lots of food, snacks and paper goods. We actually did not have to leave the house for three months except for fruit and certain perishables. We created a safe-space and felt blessed to have the means to buy necessary items as we watched news reports of families lined up at food banks.
- Long-term: I was trying to figure out how to revamp my business in case this pandemic lasted a long time. I have a real estate license but could not use that because the governor did not allow us to do showings. I could not do design work because clients did not want us in their homes. And then the Black Lives Matter moments occurred on multiple levels in many cities, and it was a challenge to receive calls from long-lost friends who wanted me to help them do the work to “unpack the #BLM” movement. I stopped answering my phone for a moment…I had no bandwidth to help others understand the staggering toxic energy we face from an unseen biologic enemy and the seen challenges faced on a personal level as a woman of color in this country.
Hope & Cynthia: Where are you now: your industry, your business, your personal life, your heart?
Robin: I am thrilled that New York Magazine, REAL SIMPLE and other publications tried to help consumers “vote with their wallets” and our firm was listed as a business that consumers need to support. One day, a ton of orders started pouring into our www.robinwilsonhome.com website for sheets and other home décor items.
I was overwhelmed with the support and worked hard to turn my home into a shipping department. What a thrill to see customers return to make second purchases! I am hopeful that more consumers will understand that as the one of the few lifestyle brands sold nationwide – owned by a black woman – we have had many challenges over the past 20 years. I hope to see my business continue to grow. My personal life is always that – private – and as I watch my little girl growing up, it makes me see so many things in a different light.
Hope & Cynthia: Now the big question: What do you see coming next and where do you think we are going from here?
- For your industry: Design will become more virtual and consumers will continue to watch TV shows for ideas as there are fewer shelter magazines.
- For your company: We are launching a new brand in Q4 2020 or early 2021 that will expand our line of textiles.
- For yourself: I will hope to find more work-home school and life balance. Hahaha …
- For the country: It is my hope that people start talking and stop being pundits – we must communicate more to try to understand the viewpoint of others.
- For the world: We must find a way to eliminate some of the plastic pollution in the waterways.
- For women: We must eliminate domestic violence and create a national registry that allows people to know “who” before they date the wrong person and become a victim.
Stay tuned for our video and podcast interviews with Robin, coming soon! In the meantime, be sure to check out Clean Design — the latest book from this Truly Amazing Woman!