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FACES

OF THE

The Ring Bearer by Carine Umuhumuza Evin F. Robinson has three women in his life to thank for his success: an inspiring mother, an encouraging mentor, and one nagging teacher. Raised by his single mother, Robinson remembers watching her struggle to balance school and work. She eventually dropped out of college to spend more time with Robinson and his younger brother. “Growing up, my mother always allowed me to see that there was more in the surrounding areas,” says Robinson, who remembers going to the movies, museums, and vacations — things that were not common in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Robinson, 20, is the founder of

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InspiRING, a company that creates righthanded rings for women. The rings, crafted with gold-filled wire, hand-blown glass beads, and Swarovski crystals, symbolize female empowerment. Robinson caught the entrepreneurship bug in 10th grade. That summer, he won the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship business plan competition through an after-school program. Looking to honor his mother’s hard work, Robinson collaborated with three classmates in the program to create a product that would encourage others to be role models. He first learned to make rings through a jewelry-making class he took with his mother while in high school. The team’s idea, first named “Seek Within,” advanced them to the competition’s regional level. His partners did not want to continue on, so Robinson carried the company forward. After the NFTE win, Robinson renamed the company InspiRING and continued entering competitions. In 2008, he won the Growing CEO award from Merrill Lynch and Global Entrepreneur of the Year from Goldman Sachs. “That’s when I knew that InsipRING was starting to have the impact that I initially had for it,” he says. With prize money from competitions,

Robinson improved the quality of his product. “When we first started, the rings were really cheesy," he says. "We had this wire that turned your fingers green and the beads were really small.” Schools, community centers, and media outlets also became interested in the face behind InspiRING. Robinson, with his clean-cut look and friendly demeanor, used the opportunity to tap into New York City are high schools and talked to students about the importance of education. Working solo, Robinson spent his time trying to keep up with ring orders and speaking engagements. Robinson currently works with Syracuse University law students to tie up loose ends of the InspiRING business, including creating a trademark, signing releases, and writing legal documents for past and future promotional campaigns. InspiRING has sold 247 handcrafted rings. He plans to manufacture the rings and projects sales of 2,000 rings in 2012. “Everything I do in life, I try to connect it back to me,” Robinson says. “The most successful businesses are ones that you can connect back to something that is meaningful to you and that will have a larger impact on society.”

Volume 1: May 2011  

Page through a sneak preview of our debut issue, dropping next Wednesday at our new tumblr--get your adrenaline pumping with 4 summer advent...

Volume 1: May 2011  

Page through a sneak preview of our debut issue, dropping next Wednesday at our new tumblr--get your adrenaline pumping with 4 summer advent...

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