Interview with Robin Domeniconi, CEO/Founder, Threaded Tales

Robin was on top of the world...and then she broke...and breaking was a gift that led to true happiness. Listen to her story.

Learn more about Robin’s story at

Podcast transcript:

Julie Roehm: 00:00 Hi. So, today I am excited to be able to introduce to everybody my friend Robin Domeniconi. She, in addition to being my friend, is also an amazing individual. She's an award-winning marketer, strategist, brand builder. She's currently the founder and CEO of a company called Threaded Tales, which is a mission-based fashion brand empowering female artisans around the world.

 I'm reading that to you, but I'm also.. And we'll try to get a photo if you're looking at this on the podcast or on my website, I'm wearing a pair of jeans from Threaded Tales. I will let her explain the whole game behind this. But it's amazing. I get comments on them every time I wear them. And I feel so good because I know I'm doing good while feeling good. So I won't tell any more. I'll let her tell you later.

 But before launching Threaded Tales, she was the chief marketing officer at (RED), which I think most of us are very aware of. And big branding, I remember it at Gap, I remember it as an iPhone case. This is a division of ONE, the campaign and advocacy organization working to end extreme poverty and preventable disease around the world.

 Prior to (RED), she was the CMO for the e-commerce destination, Rue La La, another one near and dear to my heart, and the chief brand officer for ELLE and ELLE Decor. She oversaw US marketing and advertising for Microsoft. And she also launched the Real Simple magazine.

 So I don't know where you went wrong in life to have that little set of credentials. But it's really crazy. I remember the first time that I met you, we had so many people in common, and we'd heard each other's names. In fact, I was thinking about that when... It just a couple of years ago, again, we were supposed to be together on a panel in, I think...

Robin D.: 02:10 St. Louis?

Julie Roehm: 02:11 No, New Orleans.

Robin D.: 02:12 New Orleans. That's right.

Julie Roehm: 02:12 In New Orleans. And for some reason you couldn't make it, you had something come up. I went and I reached out to you like, "Oh my God, we have all these people in common. I can't believe that we're missing each other again." And so we just made a plan to be here in New York City and we were going to get together. And it's been as though we've known each other our whole lives since then.

Robin D.: 02:34 It's true. It's so true.

Julie Roehm: 02:35 So will you share with us a little bit? I love to start with people's childhoods. Where are you from? What's your early story?

Robin D.: 02:46 My early story. It's so funny how we all evolve into the people we are today and you can never forget where you came from.

Julie Roehm: 02:54 Right.

Robin D.: 02:55 But going back to me meeting you, yeah, it was like meeting an old soul mate. I had known your name for years and years and years in the business. And when I saw I was going to be on the panel, I was excited too. And the biggest disappointment that I couldn't make that panel was not being able to meet you. So I'm glad we did that.

Julie Roehm: 03:07 Yeah. Right, yeah.

Robin D.: 03:09 My childhood. So, born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Yeah, I know, right?

Julie Roehm: 03:09 Oh, I didn't-

Robin D.: 03:14 Yeah, I'm like a redneck from the South.

Julie Roehm: 03:16 Wow.

Robin D.: 03:16 Yeah, I have family and friends still there. I left Jacksonville and went to Atlanta and lived there for about 10 years. Was working with a magazine called Art & Antiques. Came to New York to launch it in New York. And that's where my traditional media world took off with working at Meredith and et cetera.

 But, yeah, I grew up, a really middle-class, wonderful childhood. My best friend today, just left yesterday, from since I was five years old. So those kinds of connections are just incredible when you grow up in a small town.

 That said, you know...

Julie Roehm: 03:57 What'd your parents do?

Robin D.: 03:59 My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and my father was in the men's clothing business. He owned men's clothing stores. He was studying to be an architect when he was in college and his father was hit by a car-

Julie Roehm: 04:06 Oh my God.

Robin D.: 04:07 -when he was in school and killed, and his father owned these men's clothing stores. So my father had to leave being an architect to go run men's clothing.

Julie Roehm: 04:16 Oh my God.

Robin D.: 04:17 I say that because all his life, I saw a man go through his life depressed because he wasn't doing what he wanted to do. He just took over what he was supposed to take over, his father's business, and he never got out of that.

Julie Roehm: 04:33 How old was he?

Robin D.: 04:35 Yeah, in his 20s? Late 20s?

Julie Roehm: 04:38 Wow.

Robin D.: 04:38 Yeah. And did that until the day he died, yeah. But definitely seeing that has played a role in my life with knowing I don't want to be in areas of my life where I'm not happy, and can you change it without getting stuck in a pattern of being unhappy or doing what you're supposed to do. The shoulds and the musts, right?

Julie Roehm: 04:57 But I was going to make the connection with, he was in fashion and you've had such a-

Robin D.: 05:02 Yeah, he was

Julie Roehm: 05:02 A thread, no pun, of fashion, that now knowing this backstory, I'm surprised that you weren't turned off from it because it represented an anchor versus a...

Robin D.: 05:14 Yeah for me, fashion though is creativity. And that's what drives me. When I was younger, I didn't know this, but I struggled in school and I didn't know why. And my father would always say to me, "You're my smartest child. Why are you making CS?" I was a straight C student, and I just didn't get school. I didn't like it. Years and years and years later I had my son. My son was struggling in school when he was in kindergarten and we got him tested and he was profoundly dyslexic. And when you're diagnosed they say, "Okay, which parent is dyslexic?"

 And we're like, "I don't know, I don't know." And we test it. I write backwards. I don't know if you've ever seen me. I write backwards. I mean everything, my patterns in my mind are completely different than anyone else's. And I did not know I was dyslexic until my son was diagnosed.

Julie Roehm: 05:58 Oh my God.

Robin D.: 05:58 And it was like this light bulb. I cried my eyes out. Not because I was sad that I was diagnosed as just being... Because I was like-

Julie Roehm: 06:06 A relief.

Robin D.: 06:06 I was like, "Oh my God. That's why."

Julie Roehm: 06:09 "I'm not stupid. I'm not [crosstalk 00:06:11].

Robin D.: 06:11 Exactly.

Julie Roehm: 06:12 Oh my gosh.

Robin D.: 06:12 And it was-

Julie Roehm: 06:13 That's a Holy shit moment. That's a ho-shi-mo if I ever heard one.

Robin D.: 06:16 It really was. And to the fact where I still... My son today remembers a conversation I had with him when, when he was struggling in school, when he failed the test. And one of the questions... And I was trying to explain to him, I don't care about your grades, I never will care about your grades. I care that you try. I said, "Because what happens is the way that we think, being dyslexic is that we have..." Some of the things are that you have word retrieval problems. So if he says, "Mom, where are my Adidas?" Because he couldn't find the word shoe quickly. "Where are my Adidas?" I'm like, "They're in your closet." But when you're sitting down to take a test and they said, "What do you wear on your feet?" And you put down Adidas, you fail.

Julie Roehm: 06:52 Right.

Robin D.: 06:53 So I try to tell him, "It's not that you're stupid, it's that you're actually thinking harder and you have to work harder so that when you get older, work becomes so easy. Because you've multitasked your brain so much to find the words and the stuff that you'll see one day that it serves you to the better." There's a plus side to this, even though it's a very painful, hard, difficult thing as you grew up in school, in the traditional system.

Julie Roehm: 07:14 Wow. That's amazing. And I didn't know that. I mean, I have not seen write. I've only seen-

Robin D.: 07:14 The creativity.

Julie Roehm: 07:19 Yeah, I'm only looking... People can't see this as a [inaudible 00:07:22] but I'm looking at my jeans. She'll explain them. But it's images. And I'm wondering now hearing that story, did you as a child or even a young adult before you learned about the dyslexia, did you take that energy and say words aren't my friend, but pictures are?

Robin D.: 07:41 100%. It's so find that you say that. I remember listening to John Denver songs when I was young. And I say John Denver, because his words, he's such a poet, he was just a really creative writer. And I used to draw to what I felt because I wasn't a good reader or it took me too long to read. And so I would just draw and draw and draw and I was in.. And here's another aha moment now that we're talking about it. I was in college and I was going to get a degree in graphic design and when I was in my sophomore year, is that your... my junior year. My professor said, "I know you love creativity but you're just not that talented and you should find another degree."

Julie Roehm: 08:21 Wow.

Robin D.: 08:21 "If you want to make money." Right? And so I did, I left that and I went-

Julie Roehm: 08:25 Were you not crushed? Wait a second, were you not-

Robin D.: 08:29 I was totally crushed and I was working on a... I remember I was working on a sculpture at the time when he said that in class. My dad always kept that sculpture in his house because I got a C on it.

Julie Roehm: 08:29 Of course you did.

Robin D.: 08:37 But my dad thought it was so beautiful. Yeah, straight Cs. But yeah-

Julie Roehm: 08:42 C students rule the world.

Robin D.: 08:44 They really do. Right? I now look at it and I'll think about him saying that to me. Was I crushed? He was right. I wasn't as talented as the other people, but I had a different take on it, a different kind of... And so I've used it in my career, and even now, when I really want to lose myself, when I'm really in the flow, I am creating with my hands. But none of my success has been from that. My success in business has not been from creating with my hands. It's been from business or marketing or branding and understanding and being able to see different patterns in a way that other people can't.

Julie Roehm: 09:19 Well, so he was like, "You should think of a new degree." So what degree did you switch to?

Robin D.: 09:25 Journalism.

Julie Roehm: 09:26 Shut up. You went into the words... Oh my gosh.

Robin D.: 09:30 I went into communications and journalism at University of Florida.

Julie Roehm: 09:30 Oh my gosh.

Robin D.: 09:33 Yeah, because I figured, that was creative too. And I could write, just reading is a tough thing for me. Now I love reading, but I have to know what kind of books I can read because if they're too literary or dense, it takes me too long. It's too much work to concentrate on it. And in work, one of the reasons I think I... the way dyslexia supported me.. Like for my son, it's like, I see he's worked really hard and now he's very creative in what he's doing. But for me, how it helped me was it made me very vulnerable and where this vulnerability is now the in thing, and Brene Brown, I was like, Oh my God, that's how I felt.

 Because I used to say to all the people that I worked with or worked for me, "Look, I don't have all the answers. If you put a 10 page document in front of me to read it, it's going to take me too long. I want you to understand my assets, my... Here's what I don't know. Here's what I need you to help me with. And then we work on this together." I never was afraid to show what I do and what I don't know cause I don't have all the answers. But I always displayed my vulnerability for dyslexia so that it wasn't something I had to hide.

Julie Roehm: 10:38 Yeah, right. So being able to talk about it. Okay, so you finished that and you have the laundry list of the... And you've got such an interesting mix of obviously things that are success in a very corporate environment. Certainly the Microsoft, that makes sense. But you also... Your background is littered with this, both entrepreneurial, because I think about when you started Real Simple, even Rue La La, which is very early stage when you did that. And then of course you made the philanthropy move with (RED) and Threaded Tales. How did that progress were there any moments in there that drove you?

Robin D.: 11:25 It's really interesting because I was walking over here today and thinking about sitting down and I've heard some of your podcasts and I know some of your questions. And I was like, "Okay, how am I going to answer that?" And one thing popped up to my mind that I think... It's a strange thing and I'm almost embarrassed to say it because I can't say it was confidence because I wasn't aware or woken up to know that I'm confident in this area.

 It's like I went through life just not questioning whether I could do something or not, just saying of course if I want to do that, I will do that. And it didn't dawn on me that I couldn't do what I wanted to do, or rise in the ranks at wherever I was working until it did dawn on me. And I broke at one point in my career, which we'll talk about in a moment. But I think success from Real Simple, it was an incredible time. It was so innate to me and the ability to be able to come up with a brand that makes your life easier. And I worked with a bunch of people that we just trusted and it was just this incredible success. Not that it came out of the gate successful.

 We had a lot of difficulties. I remember Martha Stewart called us Real Stupid and years later she tried to hire me and and I love her and I said, "Yeah, I just want to show you the newspaper article that came out where you called Real Simple Real Stupid and you want to hire me. I love this." But so the success of Real Simple was so incredible. But I think what happened is because I was so in my flow with what I wanted to do and how we did it in the people I worked with. And from that moment on, my career took off so much, and this may have happened to you, I don't know, that success became my greatest failure in a way. And that's because I never stopped and said, "Wait, is this what I want to be doing?"

 It was job title and money, and come run Microsoft, and come do this. And I never looked for a job. They just, headhunters... And I'm not saying this to brag, I'm actually saying it the opposite way. That I wasn't awoke enough to say, "Wait a minute, you take charge. Why are you letting someone else?" Until I woke up one day and I was at the end... This was after success of Rue La La and Microsoft and Elle and everything was great. And I was actually at Rue La La and I was traveling every week to Boston from New York and my 11 year relationship was breaking, and there were a lot of issues there with me trying to save some very dysfunctional situations. And I was the one that broke. And that was after I had worked and succeeded and been a mother and all of a sudden one day I woke up in the successful, confident... I didn't know I was confident, it just came that easily... person started questioning things and I never questioned.

 I always used to say, "Wow, why are you insecure? Just like act like you know what you're doing and it will happen." I just couldn't understand-

Julie Roehm: 14:19 Fake it till you make it.

Robin D.: 14:20 Fake it till you make it, was just an innate ability for me. Until one day I started questioning it and then it all crashed. And yeah, I quit Rue La La. The relationship ended. I sold a beautiful town home we had and I bought a one-way ticket to Bali and it was the first time in my life that I ever-

Julie Roehm: 14:40 Eat pray love, you just went to the pray.

Robin D.: 14:43 Yeah, I wasn't eating because I was heartbroken from my relationship. I certainly wasn't loving. I was just like, yeah, give me all this. And I was just going there to pray and really sit still still for the first time in my life and question... Because it was just on this roller coaster of success and ease. And I don't mean that in any other way other than, time to take stock in my life and figure that out.

Julie Roehm: 15:04 I totally understand. And I'm so happy that you're sharing this story. We do. I think, just adding to it, there's a naiveness, especially if you are... Now we are women of experience, but 20 years ago there weren't a lot of successful... Those were the people that were spoken about because it was the exception versus the rule. And I think when it happens, just like you said, you're called, you're the princess and things just kind of come and it's different for all of us.

 When something happens that naiveness goes fully away.

Robin D.: 15:45 Oh my God.

Julie Roehm: 15:45 And you become so aware of everything and it could be the external forces or to your point, those internal demons, but it can be soul crushing. So-

Robin D.: 15:59 It is. I was reading some the other day, it said you never learn on the top of a mountain. You only learn when you're at the bottom of the mountain.

Julie Roehm: 16:06 So true.

Robin D.: 16:07 And the lesson... Oh my God, I've got so much empathy and compassion for people who are now insecure. I just didn't understand it before. I didn't understand not being able to make decisions. When someone described me, it was, she's decisive, she's confident, she knows what she wants. And I couldn't even make a decision. It was just like I was just questioning everything.

 And I think there's something really important about questioning things, but I also think that you want to mold it with the ability to be able to still feel your gut and the innateness of making decisions and feeling confident about it. So after taking time off in Bali, and I remember sitting with my, at the time my boyfriend and I said, "I don't even know passion or joy anymore. I don't know what makes me happy anymore." I was always this easily... So when I went to Bali, I started... this is going to take us to Threaded Tales. I started just going back to my graphic design. I started drawing things that brought me happiness when I was a child.

 So my dad was a professional backgammon player. I used to be on the diving team. I love scuba diving, I love my Jeep Wrangler, all the things that bring me joy, I just drew. But the only thing I had to draw on when I was in Bali was a pair of jeans.

Julie Roehm: 16:07 Oh my gosh.

Robin D.: 17:18 So I drew all over these pair of jeans, just things that made me happy. For the first time I traveled by myself. I'd never traveled. I'd always been in a relationship. I'm there not knowing what I'm doing. I'm going to meditate every day. I'm doing yoga every day I'm drawing, trying to figure out what's going to bring me happiness. Who am I now? I was this power couple. I was this founder of these great things and who am I now? I have nothing. I have no relationship, I have no job. Who am I really? And as I drew, I literally... my life. It sounds so cheesy, but my life and my passions and who I was came back to me.

 And then I was there for even longer, so I was like, well now that I've drawn all over it, I want to make these jeans really cool, and I went to the local store in Bali and bought a needle and thread. I've never embroidered a thing in my life and I embroidered of the entire pair of jeans with my whole life on them. So then you fast forward, when I came back to New York, I was-

Julie Roehm: 18:13 So how long were you there?

Robin D.: 18:15 About three months. About two and a half months. And so I came back to work at (RED). When I was there... Oh, I also didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew it was time to give back. I knew I wanted to start giving back. And so when I got the call for (RED), I was like, God, the universe is really listening to my meditations because here I was. It was creative. It was working for this incredible organization. It was giving back. It was tied to marketing and branding. And when I came back, I went to an event that Bono was being honored at and we went there to accept an award for him. I went with the CEO at the time and I wore these jeans that told my entire life story. I remember sitting in the hotel room. Am I really going to put these on? Because they're funky and crazy, but they also are vulnerable because they are my life. And I did. And people went crazy.

 I mean it started conversations. I connected with people I never would have talked to. They asked me things... And everyone wanted them. I'm like, "Yeah, it took me three months to do this. I can't do it for you." But what happened was as things play out when you're in the flow, I'm on the board of a company called Global Good Partners and we import fair trade product from artisans around the world. And the next day I came back and these napkins were embroidered. We were outside a board meeting and these napkins were embroidered by these Haitians. From the artisans. And I said, "Do they do anything besides napkins?" And they said no. And I said, "They've got such a beautiful skill. We need to do some cool things."

 And so we got a pair of jeans and flew to Haiti and said, "Can you embroider these?" I had drawn the same items on the jeans, and within three weeks they embroidered these most incredible jeans that tell your life story and you flash forward to today. We have Threaded Tales, which is basically... You answer 35 questions about your life. You then submit your questions with your favorite article of clothing, and your answers are then drawn into designs that represent your life on whether it's your jeans, your leather jacket, your backpack, your boots, whatever you want, sent to Haiti and hand- embroidered. And every item sends a child through one year of school.

Julie Roehm: 20:15 So when we met finally for coffee and you explained this, I was like, "Okay, so I'm totally in on this. I absolutely... I've got a pair of jeans I'm going to send them to..." And with the Haitians, and how those things came came together, I didn't know that backstory about it. But when that happened, was that before or after the big earthquake? Because I was wondering-

Robin D.: 20:36 Oh no, it was after, way after, yeah.

Julie Roehm: 20:38 So there was a lot of... I mean it's an impoverished country anyway, but it's even more so after.

Robin D.: 20:44 Yeah. And the area that I work in, it's called Haiti Projects. It's in Fond-des-Blancs, which is a four hour drive from Port-au-Prince and there's no electricity in a lot of the area, there's no running... I mean it is... Poverty is 60 to 80% and the education there. And so what we do is these artisans open a bank account. They have to open a bank account and we teach them how to have their money. It's a community of women and they are incredible artists and artisans and they do a lot of things besides Threaded Tales now. They do other things within Haiti Projects, but they all are self-sustained now. So their kids can go to school. If they're in a bad situation at home, a lot of them can't leave even abusive relationships. Now they can leave and they are supporting themselves and their children.

Julie Roehm: 21:33 Do you know... I'm putting you totally on the spot on these things. Do you know how many kids have gone to school as a result?

Robin D.: 21:38 Well see, because it's a part... 116. There's a lot of kids in libraries. They built a whole brand new library but it's not just Threaded Tales because they now do other things. Well they were doing-

Julie Roehm: 21:38 It's a cooperative.

Robin D.: 21:48 It's a cooperative. Exactly.

Julie Roehm: 21:49 Okay.

Robin D.: 21:50 So, but there's a a library for after school where the kids can go and have school, they get warm meals there.

Julie Roehm: 21:54 Yeah. Wow. So you've really changed people's lives.

Robin D.: 21:57 Well Haiti Projects has, yeah.

Julie Roehm: 21:59 Yeah. Yeah, with this. That's amazing. I will tell you, and you warned me when I gave you... Like, "Look you you are going to get stopped everywhere you go."

Robin D.: 22:08 My friends beg me not to wear them. They're like because you can't-

Julie Roehm: 22:11 Everywhere you go. How many times have I written you, like I have been, I don't know, randomly walking the streets, some other place in the country and somebody'll stop me and I'm like, Let me put you in touch with them."

Robin D.: 22:22 I know, it's crazy. I would say probably 80% of my sales come from that or-

Julie Roehm: 22:27 Word of mouth.

Robin D.: 22:27 Word of mouth. And gifts also to children or things like that. But you cannot wear those out if you don't feel like being social. Because everyone will stop you. It's crazy.

Julie Roehm: 22:37 I know everybody. Everybody. Everybody. And just to your point, I think, I do want people to go to Threaded Tales, if you go. And I will get a picture for the site for people to see. But these jeans, when you say these women are artists, they took... I don't know how to explain it, but when you see my jeans, you'll see. I can't even remember the questions that were asked, but clearly it's like favorite things, shoes, wine, jewelry.

Robin D.: 23:06 If there's three things in a box that represents you, what would they be?

Julie Roehm: 23:09 Okay.

Robin D.: 23:10 What's your favorite animal?

Julie Roehm: 23:11 A quote. Right? There was a quote.

Robin D.: 23:13 There's a quote, right.

Julie Roehm: 23:14 I've got a quote, and my quote was from Dr. Seuss, but just to give people a sense, it's not as though your pants are filled with embroidered words. I wrote this quote from Dr. Seuss and then on my jeans is the Dr. Seuss hat. And so just the interpretations were a surprise. It's sort of a gift in that you answer, but I don't know what the jeans are going to look like. I don't know... because you personally, you interpret the answers and then-

Robin D.: 23:40 Draw.

Julie Roehm: 23:40 Sketch it out, right?

Robin D.: 23:41 Yep, yep, yep. It's like you commission a piece of art and you have no idea, but the art is based off of your life.

Julie Roehm: 23:48 Yeah. Yeah. And so we tell... And even my kids, they're like, "So mom, what was that one again? What was that one?"

Robin D.: 23:54 And I get to know people so well, like I see, you like to work out. I know your favorite flower, your dog. You love fashion.

Julie Roehm: 24:00 Kick the Can.

Robin D.: 24:02 Yeah, Kick the Can. Oh my gosh. And when I did your jeans, it was so funny because I was like, "You have no idea how much your life's like mine." Kick the Can, nobody knows Kick the Can. I played Kick the Can growing up. I have a Jeep Wrangler. I know you're charismatic because I remember doing... weather. What was the weather one? You were looking at weather-

Julie Roehm: 24:18 Oh my God. Oh my God. That's what...

Robin D.: 24:20 So if you could do anything, a weather man, or weather woman.

Julie Roehm: 24:22 If you would do something besides what you're doing, I was like, "I'd probably be a meteorologist."

Robin D.: 24:26 A meteorologist, yeah.

Julie Roehm: 24:27 Because I'm a weather geek, it's so stupid, but I am. I couldn't turn off the hurricane stuff on Dorian. And those poor people in The Bahamas.

Robin D.: 24:33 I know, I know.

Julie Roehm: 24:35 This is, it's fascinating. Now I get the whole sense of... I got the fashion thing a little bit, the dyslexia. These are amazing. And now this giving back and Threaded Tales is there, but I also know you now well enough to know that that's good and that's running and that will continue to run and do all the good things it's doing. But that certainly will not satisfy you, and your bug. So what are you thinking about next? Or how do you live your life now as you're in pursuit of the next?

Robin D.: 25:08 Yeah. It's really interesting because someone said to me the other day, "Wow, you did this, you did that." And I was like, "Oh, I'm still in transition." I'm really in flow right now of trying to figure out, what do I want to do? I mean, this is great and it's now sustainable and they're doing this and the Threaded Tales, you can go online, you can order it directly. I don't need to be that involved with it anymore. I want to do... I love startups. I'm working on something right now with a good friend of mine. But the most important thing to me, even when I get calls today, and I'm sure you do too, still, it's like, I don't really care about... I do care. I want to make good money, but it falls down the list because what's so important to me is that I work with people I really, really like, that I can trust the environment, that I'm doing something I believe in and it's even better if I'm doing something to make the world a better place.

 And then, yeah, let's see if we can get paid for it. But for me it's so much more about enjoying the community and the people I'm working with and building something. And it all goes back to when I think about it, Real Simple, and I lost that. I lost that thread, that narrative thread, of really enjoying building something. But it's really important to sit back. There's that book, "The Second Mountain". Have you read the...? It's Brooks, Robert Brooks, I think? David Brooks, the New York Times columnist. And it talks about how everyone starts out on the first mountain. It's kind of like, you climb your career, you're doing...

 And depending on where you are in your life, it could be that you had someone die earlier in your life. So it happens to you earlier. It could be that, for me it didn't happen till later in life where I got slapped down and realized, Oh my God. You basically break at a certain point in your life and you realize the first mountain's really not what it's all about. It's the second mountain. And the second mountain is more when we live our life more to who we are and our values and what really is important, and our true authentic self. And so I'm constantly making sure that I don't make any decisions right now. Even maybe fearful, I'm in New York, and what am I going to do and what's next? I can't make decisions based out of fear because you end up going back to a place where you're not going to be happy eventually.

Julie Roehm: 27:13 Right. No.

Robin D.: 27:14 It's hard.

Julie Roehm: 27:15 It's amazing. And I'm so grateful that you've come on here to share this because I think it's important. It's why I wanted to do these podcast episodes because I wanted people to see what others see on paper and in publications. And it's this amazing... If I just read your bio, people would be like, "Wow, she's clearly..." And you are, but where so much of that comes from are these Ho-shi-mos, these things that happen to you. And I think that for me, the lesson that I take from your story is that if you do these things that you pursue what's important to you. And you've listed what's important to you.

Robin D.: 27:55 Absolutely.

Julie Roehm: 27:56 The rest will come. Because I think it's hard for people to hear like, "Well, but I got to pay rent." If you do those things, tick those boxes of what's truly important for you, the money will come.

Robin D.: 28:08 It's funny, I was speaking on a panel once and someone said to me, "Yeah, I get that you can do Threaded Tales and you can walk away from it all, but not everybody has the money to be able to do it. So didn't you have to make the money first to walk away from it all?" And I said, "That's a really good question. And in my situation I did, you want to know why? Because they ended up buying the big town home and I ended up buying the car and I ended up starting a lifestyle that I had to then continue." But my son doesn't, he says there's no way he wants to wait for a second mountain. He's starting on the second mountain. He doesn't... So he's not building a lifestyle that he can't achieve. He's living his life from his passions and he's like, "I don't want to quit something to finally get to what I want to do. I want to do it now."

 I have fear for him doing that too, because like "Wait a minute, you know you're doing it backwards." But is he doing it backwards? Did we do it backwards? But it's true. It's a very scary thing to live... It's a very hard thing to live authentically and a very scary thing, but there's no greater payoff. And so when people will tell me, you know say, "Oh my God..." I am so lost in days. I'm still in transition. I don't have it figured out. And even when I think I have it figured out, you never do because the universe will show you something else.

 But my mother said, my mother and father have both passed away. But my mother said a quote that I will never forget. And when we launched Real Simple, I remember I started this quote in Real Simple, because it launched when I was turning 40. And the quote was, "I wish I knew how young I was when I was 40," and that was my mother. And she wasn't a quote. It was something she said to me. And it's true. We're never too old to start finding what we really want to do.

Julie Roehm: 29:46 Yeah. Amazing. Thank you for being so raw with your story. I think it's really meaningful. Certainly for me hopefully for listeners.

Robin D.: 29:54 Good. I really appreciate being on here and wow, the time went really fast.

Julie Roehm: 29:59 I know. It does, right? It's fun to have a conversation.

Robin D.: 30:01 It's great. I know.

Julie Roehm: 30:03 Thank you so much.

Robin D.: 30:04 Thank you. Julie.

Julie Roehm