I love it when interviews are fun, and that’s definitely the word I would use to describe my interview with Robin Verrier, the founder of Verry Robin & Co. There’s always the nervous excitement on my part when it comes to phone interviews, but I truly enjoyed talking with someone who is so passionate about what they do (and shares my love of color!)
I first found out about Robin via Instagram (where I find many of the amazing people that I have the immense privilege of interviewing) and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share about Verry Robin & Co here on the blog today.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a commercial prop stylist and photographer?
I worked at a magazine before I started this business (Verry Robin & Co.) When I joined the team at the magazine I was actually on the editorial team and I wasn’t doing styling and photography at the time. One day they asked if I could go and take an image they needed for project. I’ve always been into photography, and when they saw the images I took they were impressed because they didn’t know it was part of my skillset. After that my job morphed into doing all the styling and photography.
After 2 years I realized I wanted to do this for myself, under my own brand. It was something I always wanted to do, so I just took the plunge. I’ve being doing this for almost 7 years, and my fourth year on my own.
Before starting your business 4 years ago, you worked for a magazine. What was the hardest part about transitioning from the ‘corporate’ world to having your own business?
Something that I always like to tell people, is that owning a business is extremely hard and I don’t think people talk enough about that. There are challenges and responsibilities that you have to take on when you own your own business. It took a lot of learning and hard work. There wasn’t a rule book for this kind of business, so I kind of carved it out for myself. I love having my own business and being my own boss.
Another thing people might not realize about working in this field, is about 20% of the business is the final beautiful product and 80% is the hard ‘nitty-gritty’ which includes things like prop sourcing, invoices etc. It’s not pretty.
I guess the hardest part about transitioning from working at a magazine to having your own business is juggling all the responsibility of being your own boss. You have to accept all the successes and all the failures. I think it takes a special kind of person to go into business for themselves and be their own boss.
Now that I’m in my fourth year I feel like I’m really hitting my stride, and I’ve learned how to talk to brands and what to say.
What was one of the first brands that you worked for?
Stephanie Fishwick, who is an incredibly talented calligrapher. She did the calligraphy for Gywenth Paltrow’s wedding and she also lives here in Charlottesville. She was one of my very first brands that I worked for.
My first really big project was for Thurston Reed, a luxury home decor brand. For the project, I rented one my friend’s home (she’s an interior designer) and she let me come shoot at her home.
What is the largest project you’ve worked on for a brand?
One of the bigger projects was Loeffler & Randall, a brand that sells handbags, shoes and accessories. I also recently did a mood board for Brides which was a really cool project to work on. So those are two of the largest projects I’ve worked on with well-known brands.
Loeffler & Randall
At what point during the styling process do you come up with a mood board?
I actually use a mood board for styling a clients product at the very beginning of the styling process, when I’m brainstorming and trying to get a feel for the aesthetic of the project. They (the brand) will come to me and tell me about the product and what they’re looking for so far as color scheme. When I create the mood board I’ll actually have a picture of the product, the color I’ll be using for the backdrop and a few inspirational images.
The reason why I do the mood board at the beginning of the project, is because people are often able to understand more through images than words. It’s a visual brainstorm.
What are the most important things to remember when styling?
I call them my three C’s. Color, Contrast and Composition. I think these three things describe my work in a nutshell and I think it’s what my work is known for. I’m absolutely obsessed with color and how you use the elements of contrasting colors and how composition can affect the way your eye travels through a photo.
Which camera or cameras do you use for your photography?
Nikon. I’m obsessed with Nikon…always Nikon FOREVER.
What would be your dream project?
Bergdorf Goodman. I would love to create massive window vignettes for their 5th Avenue store. It would be my absolute dream project.
How do you categorize your prop library?
I don’t really. I do have a lot of clear bins that are labeled with my paper and smaller items like color swatches and photos etc. All of my big stuff I have in this huge Ikea shelf with all these cubbies. They are huge and open. The ones are on the right are shells and the rest are laid out in way that I can see everything. There is really no organization to it. No method to the madness.
What is the most unique/favorite prop you’ve ever discovered for a project?
I think a favorite was from a shoot where I was sourced some of these amazing antique books for a vignette. In one of the books was a four leaf clover and it was ancient. It was one of the coolest thing I’ve found within a prop. It’s the little things, you know?
Favorite color scheme you’ve worked with?
I love color, but my personal favorite colors are a dark eggplant or a shade of purple that also has a bit of coral or a reddish orange in it. Honestly those colors in different shades, and that color combination is so striking to me.
As a lover of all things related to the ocean (especially sea shells) I loved the collection of shell and coral finds that you recently shared on your Insta-Stories. Where is your favorite spot to find shells for your collection?
Everywhere. It’s funny because people ask me that a lot. Something I like people to know is that I rarely buy anything brand new for a shoot. Everything is from an antique shop, thrift store or estate sale. They are all antiques. I really find the best stuff in the most unexpected places. I did go to a shell shop recently, but that was actually the first time I’ve done that. I normally find everything in an antique store.
One of you recent mood boards is in the June/July edition of Brides magazine. Your work has also been featured in publications such as Vogue, Architectural Digest and Southern Living. What do you enjoy the most about seeing your work in print?
The excitement will never get old. That’s always going to be so exciting and humbling every time. It will never get boring. I’m so honored every time I see my work in print.
Mood board for Brides
Keep up with Robin through the following links…
All photos in this post are via Robin Verrier.