If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably heard of Robin Verrier. As an art director, prop stylist, and commercial photographer, her incredible imagery brings brands like Le Creuset, Tory Burch, and J. McLaughlin to life. She mixes vibrant, saturated colors, elements of the natural world, and a touch of ‘grand-millennial’ styling in her art direction. Her mood boards and flatlays could inspire an entire room, and, as the Charlottesville, VA-based founder behind Verry Robin & Co., her ads have become instantly recognizable because, well, they’re works of art.
So, how did she establish her place as the creative mind behind beautifully styled advertising images for some of the world’s most recognizable brands? We caught up with Robin in the midst of a Virginia-to-Texas road trip and picked her brain on creativity, blending art and science, carving out a career where a blueprint doesn’t exist, and going all in to launch a company you believe in. Meet Robin Verrier, our newest FACE of the South!
Let’s start at the beginning. What did you study in school, and did that lead you towards this unique career in art direction and photography?
I went to VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University), their arts program for fashion merchandising. It’s half business, which is great for learning accounting and marketing. When I graduated, I didn’t want to be a buyer; I wanted to be a part of the visuals. I worked at a publication for two years doing styling and photography and realized that’s where my heart was. I recognized a need for commercial styling and photography, I knew that was my strong suit, so I decided to give it a go.
When I started Verry Robin & Co. back in 2016, I didn’t know what I was doing! I knew there weren’t a lot of people who could do what I do — styling, photography, editing, and production — but I had to make my own rules, my own pricing. I had to figure out what I was going to offer and what I could do for people.
You launched at such a young age! How did you know you wanted to go out on your own rather than climb the ladder as an art director at an agency or in-house at a brand?
I’ve always known I wanted to do my own thing. Certain people are good at leading and managing. Others prefer structure. I wanted to take the reins, and I wanted my own hard work to be under a company that has my name.
You mentioned that you didn’t know what you were doing in the beginning. How did you create your own blueprint in those early days?
In the beginning, I listened to what businesses needed and had my ear to the ground. I asked, “What do you guys need? What will help you succeed? What will give you a return on investment?”
The common thread was they needed to do business in a beautiful way and needed to stand out. There’s so much competition right now — we’re constantly inundated with screens and images. To get a consumer’s attention, you have to think outside of the box. Through trial and error, I created a secret sauce for how I can help brands.
Additionally, I had people in my proverbial tool belt who I knew I could bring in to help. You want to be known for being good at what you say you do — I didn’t want to promise what I couldn’t deliver. I wanted to do art direction, styling, and production, but I didn’t want to say I could do graphic design or websites. However, I do have amazing professionals I work with on those.
Your mood boards are iconic. What’s the secret sauce to your unique, layered personal style?
I have always been in love with the arts, archeology, and the natural world. Mother Nature plays a huge part because I’m such a science nerd — it could be the changing of the leaves or the ocean or the waves or the colors of a seashell.
Also, my family has good taste! They shaped what I love, what I was exposed to, and they fostered this creativity. I like color, sophistication; I want things to be both elevated and approachable. I believe art should be for everybody and everyone should be able to be inspired.
Charlottesville, where I grew up, also plays a role in what I’m drawn to.
Tell us more about the creative community in Charlottesville.
Charlottesville has an awesome community where everybody does something different. I’ve found such an incredible network of people who live and work there. The artists who come out of Charlottesville are incredible — there’s something in the water to bring so many amazingly talented people together, and it’s a city that supports small businesses.
From seashells to florals to vintage items, how do you source props and where do you find inspiration?
I source props 90% of the time from antique shops and estate sales, and that’s where I find inspiration. In Virginia, we have such an amazing network of antique stores, and I take advantage of that. When you’re shooting an ad, you need to make it as exciting as possible to stand out. So, if you can include original props that no one has seen, that makes it that much more exciting. I don’t want it to look like anyone else’s! I go as often as I can, and I often joke antiquing is my favorite sport.
What was the first big client you landed where you thought, “I’ve made it!” Do you have a dream client on your radar?
I don’t think I’ll ever feel I’ve made it! There’s always more I can do! But, if I had to pick one, it’s the holiday shoot with Tory Burch. There was website imagery, Instagram, video ads — seeing all of that and thinking, “That’s my work!” was incredible.
Who do you consider the most exciting Southern entrepreneurs right now?
Riley Sheehey is wonderful. My friend Erika Jack is fantastic — she does insane web design and graphics, and she’s an interior designer, one of the best. Venita Aspen is so great. Lucy Cuneo is a photographer, Natalie Steen of The Nat Note has a great newsletter, and Ellie McNevin has a PR firm called Birdie Publications.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve given or received?
My dad would always tell me when I was growing up that I should work hard, play hard, and create the life that I wanted. And that’s always stuck with me. It’s simple, but powerful, and oh-so-true. Funny sometimes how parents tell you something, even if it’s simple, and it sticks with you for the rest of your life!
What are you reading right now?
I do this weird thing where I read four or five books at one time. I like to read something for every mood I could be in. Right now, those include the second Bridgerton book by Julia Quinn, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and Sapiens [which is] on human evolution, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m also reading, I.M., Isaac Mizrahi’s well-written and funny memoir, and Heart Talk by Cleo Wade is sitting on my desk as we speak.
Beyond faith, family, or friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
My black lab, Holly, coffee, and books.
Thank you, Robin! All photography courtesy of Robin Verrier.
Read more interviews with our inspirational FACES in our archives!