Follow Your Heart: What I Learned From Robin Rotenier
I recently had the pleasure of touring the Rotenier Studio and spent some quality time speaking with Robin Rotenier-the man behind the cuff links (and not just cuff links anymore, mind you!) I met Robin through his participation in last season’s Vanguards Gallery at MRket; a large part of my job includes assisting the Gallery exhibitors, and Robin, along with his really great new collection were a lot of fun to spend time with. Once the markets were over, I wanted to learn more about what he was up to, so I walked a few blocks over to his studio to check it out.
Robin in his Showroom
It was an inspiring trip on so many levels. His work is beautiful, and watching him work couldn’t have been more exciting. However, I have to say that the underlying message I took away from my trip was the most motivating: follow your heart. Robin initially studied marketing and worked in the advertising business; but after carefully listening to the little voice inside (the one we all know all too well) decided to pursue his dream of designing and sculpting jewelry–becoming a third generation designer. 20 years later and he has accomplished quite a bit: you can find his cuff links known for their whimsical nature in many high-end men’s apparel shops, he has created custom pieces for big-wig executives as well as two of our presidents and even collaborated with Disney. This season, he is launching a very cool new section to his brand which features more downtown aesthetics (skulls, beaded bracelets, gorgeous stones and more.)
His studio is of a dying breed as most of the process all takes place in his studio (the casting is handled elsewhere in the city) allowing Robin to keep a close eye on every piece that has his name on it. He embraces fun and whimsy, keeping his childhood car collection and various toys and knickknacks around to lighten the mood and inspire him and his team. (A team with some members who have been with him for 17 years!)
Robin’s newest collection: Atelier Rotenier has been quite a departure from his standard pieces, but has opened up his business to be both “Uptown and Downtown.” While his team was unsure at first, the risk has been proving worthwhile.
While I am intrigued and excited by Robin’s successes as a result of following his impulses, I am more inspired to see the joy that it inspires within him and all of his employees. There is no denying that he has created a business built on what he loves and that his philosophies ignite excitement within whomever comes into contact his business–even his customers.
Oh, and that amazing tie he is sporting? It’s Armstrong & Wilson, remember them? Also apart of our Vanguards Gallery, these guys launched an amazing line of ties to accompany their signature squares.
I have more posts coming, so be sure to come back, but in the meantime, check out Rotenier at www.rotenier.com
Adam Thomas Eisenhut