If you’re passionate about something, it makes it a lot easier to do

Norwich’s coolest jeweller – Carol Robinson

In this first episode Carol and I dive into how she got started with One of a Kind Club and how personal tragedy pushed her to make a change in her life, and that of her whole family.

Carol is now dedicated to celebrating each and every one of us, how we are one of a kind and helping us to celebrate our uniqueness.

Carol has kindly offered our listeners a 10% discount from all purchases made through Oneofakindclub.com so please use the code “Paul” at checkout

Check out One of a Kind club on Instagram – the jewellery is fantastic!

Episode Transcript

Paul Thompson  0:01  

Welcome to Episode One of the flying high podcast. I’m Paul Thompson, business owner and finance broker for almost 25 years, I’ve met hundreds of inspirational business owners over the years. And Carol Robinson is one such entrepreneur. I was so pleased to catch up with her for this chat. 

This podcast has been made possible by Acorn.finance – that’s my business. So please check us out at Acorn.finance, or on social. The links for this, and for Carol’s business – One Of A Kind Club, are in the show notes. 

So let’s get on with episode one. Since leaving a 20 year career in advertising in 2019, my guest today Carol Robinson has created and grown her own jewellery brand, One Of A Kind Club, but not satisfied with that Carol decided to reframe what jewellery is, how wearing it makes us feel, and how the right jewellery can help the wearer feel more confident. We’re thrilled to welcome Norwich’s coolest jeweller – Carol Robinson. Carol, thank you for joining me today. 

Carol Robinson  1:01  

Lovely to be here, Paul. And yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever been called cool in any other aspect except for in the EDP local paper. But I am honoured to be here. I made a radical change from working in advertising and marketing in London, moving with a three day old baby and coming to Norwich to basically inspire confidence through the power of jewellery. And I’m not saying that jewellery will make everything perfect, but it if it puts a smile on someone’s face, then I’ve done my little bit towards the world.

Paul Thompson  1:32  

We’re in the process of moving with an 18 and 21 year old. So with a three year old, I do three day old – sorry anything that moves…

Carol Robinson  1:42  

Yeah, it was a three day old and a four year old with the aim of having more flexibility and agility and work/life balance and for him to start – for the eldest to start – Primary School, which he finishes today. And also for the youngest too. And so I could actually spend more time after having a bit of a roller coaster journey, as I’m sure we’ll talk about shortly.

Paul Thompson  2:04  

Yeah, absolutely. So after you were working with some huge names in advertising, really top top end stuff, why on earth would you want to give all that up to start a business almost from the kitchen table?

Carol Robinson  2:21  

I think it’s just, you kind of work and everyone thinks that advertising was the likes of Mad Men’s really glamorous, and then it’s really, really cool… And it is, it is fun. I think especially in your 20s and early 30s. It’s really an amazing place to work, you work really hard, you play really hard. I just got a bit disillusioned by it in terms of the fact that it was, I was approaching my 40s when I left and it was – I’ve never been a size 8 or size 10. Not that there’s anything wrong about it. But I was always a larger person. And sometimes it is more about looks still and I know that’s something that people might not stating any particular organisation that that happened to me, but it is you kind of felt like I’ve got the – I’ve got the experience and I’ve got the value, and I’m not being put in front of certain clients. So actually, I decided to, and I’ve had my confidence knocked, the elephant in the room is I did have a few ups and downs with work teams. And I did have a miscarriage quite badly and had nine weeks of work, which was a big mental thing for me as well as a physical thing because it was something that you don’t wish on anybody and nobody talks about it. And I didn’t think I’d have another child. So when I luckily got pregnant with my daughter Poppy, who is nearly three, I just thought I’ve got to change my life. I don’t want to be the person who works 60/70 hours a week, and is commuting all over the place and not spending time with my children and not spending and not inspiring others to have more confidence about themselves. because Mums, we go back to work and everyone expects you to be back to normal and back to the way that you were before children and actually, it’s not always that easy. So I decided that I needed to change it for me. And also, I’m on a mission not to work for somebody else. I’ve worked for likes of Jaguar, Land Rover, I worked for Dove, I’ve worked for Slimfast, I’ve worked for like Barclays Bank, and I’ve worked for like I worked in financial services for like eight years with an amazing company. And I’ve done really big things. But actually there’s nothing more important than actually like being your own brand and championing what you’re passionate about rather than working for other people

Paul Thompson  4:28  

Absolutely. I get that having worked my own brand and built it up over 24 years…

Carol Robinson  4:33  

and I am two years in and it’s sometimes harder when everyone goes, Oh, you’ve got a marketing and advertising background. Why isn’t your social media looking amazing? And designs? If I don’t, right, I’ve got 24 hats on every single day. And actually if I get social media posts out there and I’m consistent and then I’m authentic, then that’s actually more important. I’m not a graphic designer, although I might be a jewellery designer. I’m more of it actually – it’s about getting what are the pain points of my ideal client. They’re busy women who are rushing up to the school run and just want to pop the pair of earrings on or necklace on, to make them feel good, or they’re going, they’ve got 55 different things going on their lives, and they just want to have a little pick me up to make them feel better. 

Paul Thompson  5:12  

So, you know, obviously, that was a difficult time for you. And the pressure of work must have been horrendous. How did you view your future at that point, the pressure of work going to pressure of working for yourself having more hats to wear rather than less.

Carol Robinson  5:30  

I think it’s because just you learn things if like, if you always have an easy life, it actually the correct dull, and I’m not sad, I’m not I didn’t feel that at the time. It was a it was a challenging time. But you’ve got to have something really momentously go wrong for you to go – actually, I’m right at the bottom. And so I can’t go any lower. And I’m not saying that in a  depressed, depressed way. But it was just more than that, that I am ambitious. I’ve been surrounded by – I went to an all girls school, I am individually competitive, mainly with myself and with others because of the way that I was brought up. But my values are to to inspire others and to actually really to make it a success. And I don’t want to be the person who’s making a few 100 pounds here, there and everywhere. Like my mother-in-law jokingly says it’s a hobby business. And because a lot of jewellery businesses are, but actually mine is a brand. And it is going places its own its own in its second year. But I’m really ambitious. I’m so passionate about it. And I think if you’re passionate about something, it makes it a lot easier to do. 

Paul Thompson  6:32  

Absolutely. But even so though it must have been quite a difficult decision to make the jump. I know, you talked about the sort of circumstances around it, but and you said that you were suffering from a lack of confidence. So then to jump into something that needs massive amounts of confidence…

Carol Robinson  6:51  

I think it’s just more than that I think I’d had in the scenarios I’d been in, I lacked confidence. I was confident in myself, but being put in front of a group of other people that were highly, highly confident means that you question your confidence. And like mentally, I had my confidence knocked and physically, but it was just more about actually, you’ve only got one life, you just need to jump ahead and do the things that you love. If it doesn’t work, you can always do something else. But I think it’s such a big thing. And I want to inspire other people to be confident. So I hate not hate, that’s a strong word, I don’t hate anything, but I dislike the confidence coaches that come up and say I’ve had a really perfect life, and I’m instagrammable, and I’m amazing. Whereas actually a lot of real people won’t, won’t relate to that confidence. So I’m actually part of, well, I’m hoping – that part of my charm is the fact that I’m relatable and that I’m not perfect. My Instagram posts aren’t perfect. I wish I had all the time in the world to look amazing and live in a filtered world. But actually, it’s just about real life. And I think the people who inspire me so the likes of like Mary Portas and Holly Tucker and other people that are just they’re just themselves and people buy from people. So it is a massive jump. But I’ve always – I aim high. But I’m not aiming to do world domination through confidence. But if I can make people smile, and then that makes me happy. And that’s more worth it than then earning a fortune and money isn’t everything. Although I am a proper business and I do have I’ve like I’ve broken even within the first six months of business, and I’m making a decent profit. But I’m not going to be on my like five figure salaries yet in my second year of business, but I’m so much happier. And that’s what makes it a lot easier for me. And next year, I want to be on that money. But that’s next year.

Paul Thompson  8:45  

Yeah, I think happiness is way, way more important, work/life balance is way more important than how many figures you’ve got come into the bank.

Carol Robinson  8:53  

And I’m not saying it in a woo-woo way, I’m not at all Wwoo-woo, but it’s just like actually, it’s about spending, for me my priorities are my children, my husband, my friends, and actually inspiring others to feel good about themselves. And actually, if that makes me money, then thats an extra bonus then I am. My mum is quite economical with money, and so I am quite economical in the way that I spend things or even if I’m investing in myself, I’m still very calculated from a business case scenario in my own head as a business owner, which a lot of people are a lot more throwing money at things, whereas I want to do it well. And if I learn along the way, then that’s the way forward.

Paul Thompson  9:33  

Yeah, fantastic. So I’ve got the three things down here. So my next question is what’s your Why? Why do you do it? I’ve got three options, but I don’t want to tell you them now because I was going to give you options. But what would you say your main reason for doing what you do is?

Carol Robinson  9:51  

This is really tricky, very clever question, Paul. I – selfishly – it’s for me, as in to prove people wrong about the fact that I wouldn’t be a success, but in a altruistic way it is to give people confidence. And if people give, if I give people confidence, then that makes me more confident. So it is a selfish reason. But I do have a mission to inspire confidence in others. So I think it’s not just I’m not doing it from an egotistical, arrogant perspective, but I’m doing it in a in a helpful and kind way. 

Paul Thompson  10:25  

Yeah, yeah. And that was definitely one that I had. The proving success thing was, yeah, that’s a bit of a curveball in a way for me.

Carol Robinson  10:33  

Now, I think it’s just everyone kind of like, you go to school, and you go to university and you get your graduate management jobs in the way that you are supposed to live your life and you’re supposed to have the BMW car, and you’re supposed to have the house with the driveway and everything else like that. And I’m being very stereotypical, but it’s the way that I was brought up in the way that you compare yourself to other so unless you’re going on holiday 17 times a year, and you’ve got your holiday home in wherever, and you’re driving a car and I mean, I drive a Vauxhall Zafira  is a seven seater, but it gets me out to craft markets and it gets all the kids and all the family in it. So I’m not although I would love like a convertible VW Beetle, but that’s just me. But that’s on my vision board if I had some where to park it. But I think it’s just – it’s more the fact that you kind of like, you do compete with other people. And that’s what the curveball and I just I want other people have said things like, oh, Carol, she’s a doer, not a thinker. And that kind of puts a pressure on you to kind of go well actually, I do think I am a doer in terms of I love organising, and I love getting things actually. But if you don’t have a doer, what’s the point in having lots of thinkers around because nothing will actually ever get done? So yeah, it is a mechanism to kind of go against the people who’ve put me down in the past, which is again, inspiring confidence in myself.

Paul Thompson  11:50  

Yeah, you should be doing men’s jewellery as well in that case, I come from exactly the same sort of situation where going through school I wanted to be a pilot, hence the Flying High thing. And they were telling me No, you’ve got no chance. You’re not this, you’re not that. And I went and joined the Navy and flew helicopters. 

Carol Robinson  12:09  

Amazing. 

Paul Thompson  12:10  

But did I do it to prove somebody wrong? Yeah, possibly. I did it because it was a lifelong ambition. And but I think ‘they’ telling me I couldn’t, made me more determined and more… 

Carol Robinson  12:20  

Yeah, and that’s partly why I’ve got my gremlins, and I’ve got like, my mindset work that I do, and I have learned an awful lot. And I think specifically, recently been doing a lot of that growth mindset Dr Dweck’s book about looking at what holds you back, and what makes you go and actually having a positive mindset about you can do things rather than saying you can’t do things because we’re both gonna, we’re everyone’s gonna think both things. But actually, if you think I can, rather than I can’t then it is the way forward. I’m not always this positive. By the way, it might just add, I am real, perhaps I have my rubbish days. 

Paul Thompson  12:22  

You’ve got to get your positive head on for an interview anyway. 

Carol Robinson  12:55  

I know exactly. But I’m just I’m keeping it real for those people who go, Oh, it’s another person whose life is completely perfect. It is about going like – you only live once, it’s about grabbing those opportunities with a smile on your face.

Paul Thompson  13:09  

Absolutely, if that means finding a way to have more time with kids.

Carol Robinson  13:13  

And I also want to help, also want to help other people who’ve been in the same situation or similar changes whether they have had their confidence knocked, whether they don’t know what they’re going to be doing. So watch this space for probably next year in terms of doing things to confidence, inspire mums returning to work or setting up their own business and with the power of jewellery as well, obviously,

Paul Thompson  13:35  

Yeah, look forward to that. Coming from sort of a background in advertising that is very visual and very out there in that sort of respect, did you already have the idea of One Of A Kind Club? Or did you know, have you got a sort of a plan mapped out or did it all sort of fall into place?

Carol Robinson  13:54  

I’ve always been a believer in like, we’re all one of a kind and we’re all unique. And so I had the idea of one of a kind, but I didn’t know where it was gonna go. So from a brand perspective that I was actually feeding my daughter in the middle of the night when I kind of went actually we should all join a club like we used to do in our teens in terms of I went to the youth club. And actually people gave you skills to inspire and do things like that. And there isn’t an actual I constantly get asked, Is there a real club? Do you have to be a member and you don’t, it’s just that it’s basically it’s a group of women who believe in themselves or want to believe in themselves more, so from an advertising perspective, I had the name in my head I had a big – purple is my colour, hexagons are my shapes. So from a design perspective, it was relatively easy to come up with a logo because I knew that I wanted it to be that there’s lots of sides to every different person which is why the hexagon fits in well with it. The purple and blues, the design aesthetics with something I’m not a designer, but I know what I like and what I don’t like and I wanted it to be kind of a Scandi style on my events that I do, I have, like everything is white on the display because it’s about bringing the pops of colour and the jewellery out. And so it is quite modern, but it’s not alienating and it’s not hip, although I am cool – remember. But it is quite stylized. So I had a view and from a plan perspective, if you’d asked me this, if when I like 10 years ago, would I have set up a business and would have a monthly plan and a yearly plan and have all my goals written down and have everything done? I would just say definitely, yes. Whereas actually, life happens. And so I know what I want to achieve, I do need to do a bit more planning, but actually, I’m on the job doing it. So I’m doing podcasts, I’m doing events, I’m doing speaking things, and I’m actually making and selling jewellery every single day, and raising my profile. So I’m consistent with my posting on social media, I do need to do – we all kind of wish we could be this extra team. But when you’ve got 24 hats on as a business owner, sometimes you just got to wing it. And actually, it’s made me as an ultra-planner, relax a little bit, because it means that I don’t have to be as hard on myself to plan everything in minutia detail. I just go with it most of the time.

Paul Thompson  16:18  

Yeah, so do you find then that sort of the gut instinct comes in more now you’re on your own than when you were in your previous life?

Carol Robinson  16:27  

I think because you’re justifying things to yourself, like, I like people, I trust people, I want to see the best in everybody, which is a positive and a negative thing. So I need to learn to use my – to trust my gut a lot more. So I’ve had a couple of experiences in the last year where I’ve worked on projects with other people. And my gut was like, walk away, walk away, but then I’m like, oh, they’re such a nice person, I just want to do things with them. Whereas actually, I then became personally emotional about it, rather than it being a business gut decision. So it is definitely a lesson learned is to go with your guts. And actually, if something’s right, it will work for you. I just – I’m a big believer in other people. So that sometimes you’ve got to look after yourself more, especially as a business person, you’ve got to have those boundaries and that kind of sphere around you to protect yourself.

Paul Thompson  17:27  

Absolutely. And if you don’t protect yourself and look after yourself, then everything else starts to fall apart around you.

Carol Robinson  17:35  

Yeah. And also like taking time off for yourself to do things that you enjoy. I know not everyone’s a mum, but like, I’m a mum, I run a couple of businesses. I am busy. But like yesterday afternoon, I took a few hours off actually during the day and had a had a message and it was and it did me a lot of good because I actually before the school holidays, and then seven weeks of juggling even more, I am – I just needed to lie down in a dark room and have someone massage my shoulders for a little while.

Paul Thompson  18:05  

Yeah, I can understand that. Yeah, we’ve always been absolutely exhausted with when kids are at school. By this time of year, you’re just ready to drop somewhere.

Carol Robinson  18:15  

And also doing things differently. So I’ve crazily signed up for like boot camp lessons to try and like get myself feeling more energised and losing the custard creams weight that I put on during lockdown.

Paul Thompson  18:28  

Yeah. So going back to the club thing, I answered one of my questions, which is why is it a club, but who are the club members then? Are they your customers? Do they automatically become members? Or is it a collective?

Carol Robinson  18:42  

It’s just a collective so it’s not actually officially a club club it might do in the future, but at the moment, it’s just so that people don’t feel like they’re on their own. So it’s just customers who they feel like they belong in something that they can engage in in conversation with me, I’ve built so many people’s confidence up or people come to me and go actually I’ve never been a big gold earring wearer but actually since I’ve been wearing them I’ve got a lot more energy and a lot more compliments which has boosted my confidence. So it’s just more of a collective of women who believe in themselves, and I love showcasing other companies as well as my customer. So Mary at ETD photography is an amazing photographer, we do quite a lot of collaborations. I’ve done I’ve made some earrings with Gemma {} a local artist, and it’s just about showcasing other people and like all my models are people I’ve met through Instagram who actually just – and one of them has had her confidence knocked and is now shining bright because she was like I’m not a model but you’ve featured me on your website because it is about a group of feeling like you include and that sometimes you do when you’ve had your confidence knocked because you do you feel like you’re on your own and that no one else is going through that thing whereas actually it’s we’re all here for each other.

Paul Thompson  19:54  

Yeah, absolutely. Anything that can boost people in that way, especially through social media, because social media can be one of the worst things…

Carol Robinson  20:03  

I know, it’s just about avoiding your trolls ,and support and being cheerleaders for the people, and actually, if they’re not being not being positive about you, they’re not your ideal client. And they’re not, they’re not worth engaging or rising to it, but it’s just learning about the way that you react to things. And I think, because I’ve done a lot of stakeholder management or crisis management in my previous role, it’s about, it’s a professional thing. And people who’ve had quite a lot of time in lockdown to be bored and be negative, whereas actually it’s about being positive and showcasing other people’s wins. So I do do a thing about what my Three Things a day that I’m winning at and then sometimes I struggle, but a lot of the time I don’t

Paul Thompson  20:43  

Yeah, I need to do things like that more – I’m terrible at that. So calling it a club and being about people’s confidence and things rather than being somebody who makes and sells jewellery, and that’s it – your sort of run-of-the-mill jewellery business, do you think that’s helped you grow and get to the level where you’re at now?

Carol Robinson  21:05  

I think it’s just about having a really consistent brand and saying, actually, it’s about having the content pillars or pie chart, or whatever you do from a social media, or from a content strategy perspective. It’s about going actually, what are my ideal clients? What are their pain points, what are they feeling and being really consistent and being helpful. So a lot of product based businesses go sell, sell, sell, sell, sell, and actually, every single post is, here’s another product with a price and this way you can buy it. But it is about having that right mixture of going, actually, I want engagement, I want the community and my engagement, I still might – I’m such a perfectionist about things – that my engagement still needs to be improved on, on things. And I’m constantly learning and evolving. Whereas the amount of direct messages I get because a lot of people aren’t willing to talk about confidence out loud, but the amount of private conversations that are being had about it are astronomical. And so I think it’s just it’s built me because actually people like buying from me and I do quite a lot of in life events now that we’re out of lockdown. And actually people get to meet the real people. And jewellery is such a tactile thing and a thing that people want to see that and there are I haven’t got 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of pounds of budget to spend loads of money on like Facebook or Instagram advertising. I do everything majority things organically and so I’m not I’m not a big big player and there are hundreds and hundreds of jewellers out there, I’m just differentiating myself by – you buy from me. And it’s and it’s my values. And it’s me that brings you and they’re slightly quirky. So I’m not a specialist in polymer clay or silver. But I bring a variety of things that are inspired by every day that will inspire an outfit for real people.

Paul Thompson  22:49  

Yeah, yeah. And so in the what three years that you’ve been trading, what are the highlights?

Carol Robinson  22:55  

In the two years I’ve been trading, there are probably two actually. One I’ve just been shortlisted, as one of the finalists for Muddy Stilettos Norfolk as jewellery store of the year and up against four amazing other jewellers. And so that was you get nominated for that. So it’s basically people are my customers have nominated me to be a finalist. And that’s a national campaign, although it’s just the Norfolk region, but there’s 25 different regions. And I’m just honoured to have been on that list of it. I’m a newbie, the other brands that are on there have been going for a very long time. They’re all jewellers I know. And so we’re all championing against each other. And it’s about collaboration, not competition. And the other thing that I’m proud about is just I see people out in the streets occasionally, and they’re wearing my jewellery. And it just, it just makes me feel like I’ve actually I’ve done something to help their days.

Paul Thompson  23:44  

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, the award thing is fantastic. And again, coming from a confidence point of view, it’s putting you alongside people who you maybe thought you weren’t alongside.

Carol Robinson  23:55  

Exactly. And it’s just that but it’s also like, I’ve won three awards last year, as well. But they were awards that you were like, actually, they’re not credential awards. So they’re just awards that people have basically the companies are trying to make money from you from advertising for them or paying for the logo. Whereas this is actually a finalist for something that I’ve actually been nominated for, rather than just being found on Google and trying to get money out of it. And having worked as part of the awards team in advertising, there are certain awards that you really, really want to get. And they’re all about merit, and the kind of credentials behind them. So like I’ve applied for Small Business Saturday awards, Small Business Owners award this year, and I probably won’t get it because they’re amazing, but that would be accredited one because you actually have to write a proposal to get even shortlisted rather than just Oh, it’s a pretty award. I don’t want to be named for just being for pretty things although the jewellery is pretty if I may add, but it’s just it’s more about the business side of things that I want to be known for and what I’ve achieved,

Paul Thompson  24:57  

Yeah, and it’s a big confidence boost anything like that. Again, back to the early days coming from, I don’t know, six figure/seven figure budgets and going to two figure budgets probably for things…

Carol Robinson  25:11  

about to say probably one figure

Paul Thompson  25:14  

Did that constrain you? I know, you didn’t take any finance, any startup loans, anything like that…

Carol Robinson  25:20  

I think you need to be a lot more creative about things. So it’s about having really solid  messaging, it’s about knowing where your ideal client hang out. So I did a pop up event in November 2019 at a vegan friendly restaurant here, which is quite cool. I actually went down with my daughter in the buggy, I went down to all the local trendy cafes and and vintage shops and streets around the area, and actually printed off loads of flyers and handed those out into like the shops that they could put in their notice board and actually gave them like a special offer when they came in. And it was the highest converting way of marketing, then actually all the social media posts that shared, because people like actually picking up leaflets now. I am old school in certain ways. But I think this is about what actually works, and actually, an Instagram post is going to last for 30 seconds. And it will be forgotten very shortly. Whereas actually doing things in a slightly altered across the whole marketing is a way of getting things through and had 14 different episodes of PR, and it doesn’t cost you anything other than your time to write it. I was in Country Homes and Interiors magazine, which is a national publication, I was in their gift guide last year. And that was just because I just emailed the right person at the right time, and then showed my product. So it’s about being really determined and not realising that you can do everything straightaway. And you haven’t got the big massive teams so actually, it’s the little wins that make you with a little budget. And it’s the best thing about being really creative. So organising things and looking at things in a different way and not doing the same as, as all your competitors.

Paul Thompson  27:06  

Absolutely. And so looking the other way, then what does the future look like? Are you going to have the 10 figure budgets?

Carol Robinson  27:13  

Yeah, will do yeah, I will do but then maybe not this year, but next year. I think I’ll always keep it as a – I will always – I’m on a mission to inspire confidence. I’m on a mission to take it over, I think there’s only so many ways you can scale a jewellery brand, if I’m honest. And so I’ve already got retailers, I’ve already got wholesale kind of suppliers that I go to from a point of view of getting out into those retails, but it’s about mixing up so it could be that it’s there are things that come from a style or from a conference or from a colour or from bringing experts into a programme. So I think in the future it will be as well as doing the jewellery brand will always be a core of it. But it’s just about getting out there and doing things in a different way. So it’s a retail experienced way rather than it just being another online brand, though I am looking at lots of like I’ve already do quite a lot of pop up shops and things but I’m looking at making them more national and getting exposure, and I’ve already got suppliers in kind of in the northern areas and Norfolk and in the Midlands areas anyway, so and that’s quite good for someone who’s been in business two years.

Paul Thompson  28:22  

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I look forward to seeing you on a high street near me. I think the high streets are changing and…

Carol Robinson  28:29  

I think the high street is changing so so much if you look at like the work the Mary Portas does, and the work that Holly Tucker does, which I mentioned earlier on but they are and the like kindness economy, I think is more about experience and about pop up shops will become more we’ve just got to win over the people who rent their actual establishments, but it is about having events. It is about the experiences and having fun in those retail environments, and not being dominated by the high street shops. So more independent shops are winning in my opinion, because they are the people who are fighting to get customers to actually come out again rather than it being the 3am queue outside Primark when they reopened. It is about people actually going I want to support their local community and and that’s where I think it will go and keep going. We just need a bit more support from the wider organisation, those bigger retailers, to actually allow us to do it.

Paul Thompson  29:24  

Yeah, absolutely. I’m not sure that 3am outside Primark counts as an experience.

Carol Robinson  29:31  

I don’t. I’m not naming and shaming on that one. It’s just – it’s a fact that we have people out there and I was like just because they hadn’t adapted their model to go online during lockdown, because they hadn’t, they didn’t want to do it. And they stood firm on that decision, which is their decision to do but it was partly a PR stunt which worked because people will always shop then in these kind of shops.

Paul Thompson  29:52  

Yeah, absolutely. But yeah, we’re seeing changes and I think it’s a long term change because from the finance point of view, a lot of the high streets are owned by big pension funds, real estate investments, things like that. So knocking the rent of a high street unit from £150,000 to £50,000, which is maybe where it should be, it’s a big ask for them because their whole pensions and their whole business model is based on an M&S or somebody being in there paying them exorbitant amount of rent. When those people go out of business, and there’s nobody to pick it up…

Carol Robinson  30:29  

You see the likes of Debenhams stores closing recently, and then just being empty shops, and no one could afford to take over that big of a shop in terms of from a competition perspective, because you’ve got the likes of like Top Shop have gone, and even like some of the Peacocks or like M&Co brands, and I’m just thinking of like, I walked around a local town yesterday and it was quite interesting to see what was there, actually giving those opportunities of having it set up in a different way. But I agree, like from a commercial perspective, and from a financial services, I’ve worked in investment management myself, in terms of as clients and it does impact the fund value a thing or or pension value, say, but it’s got to have that right balance of the good old days when I grew up in the 90s,  it was you went down to the high street for the butcher, the baker and and that’s what the high street was about before it got taken over by bigger bigger brands, whereas I just think and yeah, we could talk a long time about..  But yeah, Mary Portas is a very good read for that she’s a big like retail guru and the kindness report, even if you get to see a snippet of it, because it’s like £300, is inspirational with the things that she should do. And she’s one of the UK top authorities on the retail trends, retailing brand communications having worked – she made Harvey Nichols cool as their creative director before setting up the Portas Agency. She’s a very big inspiration of mine, as you can probably gather.

Paul Thompson  31:52  

Yes, yeah, absolutely. I think it’ a bit like, in a rainforest when will the huge trees fall? Yes, hopefully not felled, but falls, the clearing that that creates, creates so much new life a new flowers, new colour. And if it can be done in that sort of situation, and it works. If the whole forest is felled at once, then there’s just nothing. So closing question, which if I was to write a cheque and put a million pounds into your work bank account, your business account tomorrow, what difference would that make? Where would that go? And what would you do with it?

Carol Robinson  32:31  

I first of all say Really? Thank you, Paul, when that’s just exactly what I needed. But I would employ more people to help me drive this organisation and my mission further. So I would pay for people, for mums who are struggling to return back to work, by actually taking a team on to make and design the jewellery and do some of the other bits and pieces because I’d like to help people do that. I would also do a lot more pop up shops and get those out on a national basis. So I basically it doesn’t have to be a pop up shop, it could be a pop up bus, I would buy a bus and drive around the country inspiring confidence. And that’s probably doesn’t cost a million pounds. But I would that would be my small step it would be take people on, getting my tribe bigger than it is at the moment, getting the word out there. And I would just go on old fashioned bus roadshow around the UK. 

Paul Thompson  33:26  

Fantastic. I’m glad that it didn’t involve a BMW and a holiday home in Marbella. 

Carol Robinson  33:31  

No, it wouldn’t. To be honest, my holiday this year is in Norfolk and the New Forest. And it’s just about spending quality time with the people that I love rather than – I would like to sip a cocktail on a beach in Thailand on my own, for a few days or with my husband but children changes your life and I wouldn’t – we’re going to Peppa Pig world and I’m not sure whether I’m dreading it or excited about it. 

Paul Thompson  33:59  

Yeah, yeah, fortunately for me, all those things are behind me now.

Carol Robinson  34:03  

But I cherish every single moment of the things that they go through, so my son finishing infant school today. And it’s actually I’m just so proud of the things – how he’s inspired confidence in others and himself as well. And my two year old’s a diva and I love spending time with her because she’s just funny. She’s like a mini me without any fear.

Paul Thompson  34:24  

Brilliant. Carol Robertson, thank you so much for sharing your business journey with us. We’re all looking forward to the bus visiting.

Carol Robinson  34:31  

That’s fine. If anyone wants to check me out at www.oneofakindclub.com or on Instagram and Facebook or Clubhouse as @oneofakindclub  – then feel free to message me in any way. And I’m always here for a chat and jewellery.

Paul Thompson  34:45  

You beat me to that and very kindly you’ve offered our listeners, a small discount.

Carol Robinson  34:50  

Exactly. So if you use the code ‘Paul’ at the checkout and at oneofakindclub.com you get a 10% discount and that is live now and will always be live for you Paul.

Paul Thompson  35:01  

Fantastic. Thank you very much indeed, Carol. Thank you for joining us on this first podcast.

Carol Robinson  35:06  

Yay. Pleasure, absolute pleasure to talk to you and I will catch up with you soon.

Paul Thompson  35:11  

Thanks to Carol for such an interesting and informative chat. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening. Please subscribe, like and share the podcast and leave us a review to help other people find us. To find out more about us, check the show notes, or visit Acorn.finance. And if you know of someone who might be a great fit to interview, please ask them to contact me through Clubhouse or through social. Thank you for listening. See you next time.

Transcribed by the team at Podcats Media www.podcatsmedia.com