I had the pleasure of speaking with Z Robison, the owner of Curating the Cool. His background is as diverse as the collection of items in his store. Before opening the shop, Z was the Assistant Dean of Admissions at Naropa University in Boulder. In college, he dabbled in limo driving and retail management and started a business selling Beanie Babies. (Fun fact: profit from the stuffed collectibles paid for all of his expenses outside of room and board!) The business owner shared with me how he became a curator, along with some awesome insight for aspiring entrepreneurs. Enjoy!
Inspiration: Z believes that a person’s work should be something they love. He wanted to put his skills to use to benefit himself and his wife, while doing something that brought him pride and joy. Z was always a slightly “obsessive” curator of a variety of items, so the store concept was a natural extension of his collection and passion. Plus, he recognized an untapped niche opportunity to combine unique antiques with new, locally-made, cool items.
Benefits: Simply put, owning a business allows Z to do what he wants. He says that with every business achievement, he feels a full sense of accomplishment, knowing that he was responsible for the outcome.
Challenges: He’s a Big Picture Thinker, like most entrepreneurs, and has to be conscious not to skip over the small details of projects.
Advice: Z says that every day, in business and life, opportunities present themselves but people are often too scared to act. He credits his success not to having everything figured out, but rather to seizing opportunities. Z’s key to reducing stress is to live in the moment. He’s found that when he focuses on the present , rather than fretting over the past or worrying about the future, there’s not much left to be stressed about.
Community Focus: Z and his wife, Mary Ann, spend their money where they live and frequent other small businesses in Lafayette. Whenever his collection overflows, Z donates items to nearby charities. He says that it’s important to recognize the struggles of individuals in your own community and support them however you can. Z says that even little acts of kindness hold a lot of weight, so don’t underestimate your ability to positively impact someone’s life.
If you’re looking for the coolest gift for a friend, or want to add to your own collection, make sure to visit Curating the Cool here. You’ll get lost in the awesomeness, in the best way.