Where Are They Now: Robin Butler, Miller Fashion Forward Scholarship – 2018

Robin Butler

2018 Sydell & Arnold Miller “Fashion Forward” Scholarship Winner

As she worked toward earning an undergraduate degree in economics, Robin Butler learned that the first rule of economics relates to balancing supply and demand. After graduating college, Robin put her newfound degree to work in the beauty industry, where her salon, The Curated Curl and Company, in Durham, N.C. is supplying the market’s demand for curly hair experts. Below, she shares how two seemingly unrelated topics – economics and curls – are coming together in a beautiful way.

How did your degree in economics evolve into a career in beauty?

I’ve always enjoyed the art and creativity of beauty. And I like the freedom of being an entrepreneur. My background in economics helped me think through how I could supply an unmet demand in the market. I saw there was a need for experts who could confidently work with textured and curly hair. I like the practicality of beauty – executing the theory through hair design and color.

What did you do to turn your dream career into a reality?

It was a matter of laying the foundation brick by brick. The first step was going to beauty school. Then I started thinking about how to differentiate my services in a big ocean of salons. I became a DevaCurl curly hair artist – providing me with a point of differentiation in the market.

What surprised you about beauty school?

How much fun it was! I loved being able to use the right side/creative part of my brain and balancing it with the logical left side content I’d learned in college. I found out I enjoy the creative, intuitive and artistic processes involved in painting hair, more than I enjoy looking at analytical regression models! But it’s not all about having fun. Building a business requires patience and lots of work to build a successful brand.

How do you see your career evolving?

I really want to disrupt the beauty industry. Consumers need information to be educated about how to maintain healthy hair. I want to help them preserve the integrity of their textured hair while allowing them to work versatility into their look. My salon is helping clients find healthy solutions to care for their curly and textured hair.

What advice would you offer to others pursuing a career in beauty?

As the commercial says, “Just do it!” But be strategic and have a plan in place.  Establish a nest egg before you leave your nine-to-five. Set a six month goal and then identify what steps need to happen to reach that goal. Consider what part of the business you want to work in, whether behind the chair or for a product company. If you want to open your own salon, save up some capital to get started. But just do it!

How has beauty changed your life?

This career has given me the creative freedom to create the life I want to live. It allows me to connect with others and inspire them to live the live they want to live. At the end of the day, this career has helped me find a job that doesn’t feel like work!


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