I stumbled across the lovely Robin Roadnight on Instagram and then purchased one of her pieces of art – Horsepower. I love what Robin creates, so much so I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her business and what she does… and she’s this week’s ‘a few minutes with…’ focus…
Tell us about you and your background
I grew up very influenced by my incredibly creative Mum, who also shares my passion for horses. From as early as I can remember, I spent every spare moment at the stables. Financially my own horse was never an option until my early teens, so I would ‘work for rides’ every weekend, and before and after school. Around the age of 13 I found a wonderful little competition yard near home, run by a very supportive and talented family, who enabled me to keep and compete my own horses. Immersing myself in that world fuelled a lifelong passion for eventing and showjumping that has inspired my work.
What made you want to start your business, Robin Roadnight Equestrian Art?
For me I think I have always worked best on my own, where I can give my imagination a completely free rein. I started painting commissioned portraits around the age of 12, and I’ve always known that this was what I wanted to do.
How is your business different?
I think my business is very different in a way that equestrians in particular may recognise. Although my passion is centred around horses (well anything equine!) my work is inspired by equestrian sport, and every painting or design is a considered study of that. I remember growing up, you would find ‘horse’ inspired designs, paintings and fabrics everywhere, but so rarely would I see anything that captured how I felt about showjumping, eventing or dressage.
What makes your products special?
I work very hard at it, and I hope that fellow equestrian sport lovers can feel the spirit of their sport is captured in my work.
If you had to sum up Robin Roadnight Equestrian Art in five words, what would they be?
Inspired, Classic, Spirited, ‘Country’ and Uplifting.
Do you have a motto or ethos?
I hugely value my customers, and find it really important to action everything swiftly and keep people fully informed. I think the buying experience is as important as the product itself.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?
To take the plunge and keep at what you feel passionate about. Don’t worry about what others think, you are not alone, if you believe in something enough, there are many others that will believe in it with you, and appreciate your work!
One thing that helps you run your business more effectively
I spend an awful lot of time keeping everything meticulously organised, if I feel that everything (within reason) is completely under control, I find it hugely enjoyable, even if I’m frantically busy! My work space has dozens of perfectly sized shelving units and cupboards, to keep everything visible & organised (thanks to my very handy step father!) and as much as I prefer using my iPad, I still can’t move away from my giant laptop, I have a folder for everything, and although my paintings are done on the easel, they are all scanned for the fabric designs to be worked on in Photoshop and Illustrator, the two key things I could not work without!
Best thing about running a business?
The complete freedom to be as creative as I like. I never have to run my ideas by the boss to get the go ahead!
Worst thing about running a business?
You never really clock off, my poor husband will second this, even on a Sunday evening with a glass of wine and Poldark on tv, I will still be answering emails, taking orders and running back and forth checking stock numbers. Switching off is much easier said than done!
Top business blog you follow
I wouldn’t say a blog specifically, but Instagram is my go-to for inspiration. I could spend hours on there!
One thing we might not know about you
Not uncommon with artists I’m sure, but I’m incredibly introverted, as much as I love meeting wonderful people, I could go on forever in my own company, and will often shun a get together in favour of a good book or a lovely day in the garden!
Top business achievement
I used to think my art didn’t count unless it was hanging in the best gallery, but nothing has felt like more of an achievement than starting from nothing and growing to over 30,000 loyal Facebook followers. I often receive emails and photos from happy customers showing off my work in situ, and there is nothing more humbling or motivating than that.
Where can people follow you or your business online
I can be found on Facebook, and I have recently started Instagram, where I am really loving sharing more lifestyle and inspirational photos, together with my new designs as they’re released. My website is updated almost daily too www.robinroadnight.com