Robin

This woman's story is pretty incredible. 

I first met Robin at a wedding, her company Style by Bravura was doing hair and makeup for the event and she new my roomie Neil. We became friends and later she helped me pull off a shoot of my own. When I posted that I would be coming through Chicago she messaged me asking if I would want to photograph her, giving me full creative license to do whatever I'd like. Oh the pressure! 

When thinking about her the biggest thing that sticks out in my mind is the stories Neil had told me about how much she has accomplished over the past few years. She is the kind of person that really goes after what she wants and isn't afraid of the risks. She's such an inspiration to me. So here's her story- 

We all have those gigs that were a little rough. I know I've been through more than my share of the paycheck to paycheck work, and Robin has too. At 20 years old she was working in a hair salon, on break from college, and 216 pounds. Before going back to school for a business degree she switched jobs a couple times, including one where she cut off part of her index finger. Ouchhhh. 

 

"I didn't know what kind of business I wanted to open, but I always knew I would. A lot of people will tell you they didn't need a degree to start their business. This may be true... But I wanted to significantly cut my risk and have some clue about what I was doing. I'm glad I went. It taught me discipline, and most importantly, how to think about complex issues. 

From the time I'd left serving to when I was back in school I'd lost about 50 pounds and got the crazy idea that it'd be fun to help others do it. I applied and was hired by Jenny Craig to be a weight loss consultant. I was there for 2 years and I really loved it. That's where I lost the rest of my weight.

I ended up getting recruited by one of my then clients,  taking a very high level consulting position with Better Business Planning - where I've been ever since. They created a training program for me because, seriously girl, they put that spreadsheet down in front of me for the first time and my head spun. I didn't even know what a deductible was and here I was about to be a "Benefits Consultant". He saw the sales person in me I guess... knew the rest was just details.

I was 24 when they hired me and the only female at the table. All of our Producers (technical title) are men. They're over 40, white, and homogeneous in every way. It was intimidating to say the least. I came from a very liberal, Democratic family and here I was on the other side. Furthermore, I had to go out and convince business owners that they should trust me with one of their biggest expenses! Woah.

It ended up being the best experience I could've gotten. I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business in 2011 after I worked and did school full time with an hour commute"

Then Robin then was asked to style hair for a wedding, then another, then another. And her new business, Style by Bravura, was born. 

"I never really wanted to be a cosmetologist, I just took the opportunity my high school gave me to get the education they would pay for, and would hopefully make a decent living while I went to college and avoided waiting tables. Clearly, that did not happen. I thought I'd be done with the salon world forever when I left that last one in 2006.

In 2012 we had 6 weddings, 2013 we had 12 and an event. This year, we will finish out with 40 weddings and are booking into next year now. I won the Under 30 CEO Entrepreneurship Mashup in 2013. I transitioned from Employee Benefits Consultant in March 2014 when I wrote the agency a proposal for a marketing position and am now "Director of Marketing". It's really hard for me to say no to opportunity so I also participate in things like Entrepreneurs Eve and leading a women's professional development group for a year. I started hosting a web series on Meet Advisors where I have a channel... it's pretty bizarre, dude. Awesome, but such a change."

With all of these things in mind I wanted to create an image that had something to do with evolution and growth. We decided on a cocoon them because, as Robin said herself, "I can tell you there will be a lot more change to come. That's the fun part though, right?"

Happy 30th birthday to this beautiful lady. I can't wait to see and hear about the big things she will accomplish in the next decade!