Less than six months after Duncan Robins launched a dream -- a community-based business with the edgy name of Boldt, underscoring the energy he would derive from the business and also put into it -- Robins has decided he has to pull the plug.
Boldt received rave reviews at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market where Robins' line of four headlamps turned heads (sorry) for its innovation, wearing comfort and affordable prices (his hydration line was nifty too, but the headlamps drew the most ooo's and ahh's), and retailers along with press predicted great things for the company. But Robins began to realize his business dream was not meshing well with his family dream.
"I am absolutely not afraid of hard work," Robins told SNEWSÂ®, "and the business was very much on track. However, my life wasn't on track, resulting in my having to make a very painful decision for me. I now understand that I am not willing to commit myself emotionally, physically and financially to a path that would devour me and take me away from my family during some very important years."
Though Robins is not sure what he will do next, he is very sure that he is ready for the next challenge in his life.
"I believe that I am a strong leader and good business person," Robins said. "I would enjoy running another mid-sized company, and I hope that will be in the outdoor or sporting goods industry. I understand that this path will also require long days and weeks; however, I am more comfortable with the associated demands and consider the work and stress to be more predictable and manageable."
As for Boldt's future, Robins is unsure.
"I would like to see the Boldt visions live. This may involve selling and/or licensing the product designs, tooling, technologies, etc."
We asked him if he would consider selling his dream to someone else to own, but still allow him to run the company, but he nixed that idea.
"If I bring someone else in as an investor, the entrepreneurial job still has to be done, meaning if I ran the business with someone else's money at stake, I'd still be doing the same things but now with no ownership," said Robins.
Robins added that what was most important to him right now was to wind up his business by personally contacting every retailer and rep who had done business with him.
SNEWS View: While we are saddened by Robins' decision from a business standpoint simply because he was exciting, fun and inspirational to watch and be around, we completely respect and admire him for making a decision that places family before all else. There are quite a few of us who could page through Robins' book of life as a way to live ourselves. Family first and always -- how can anyone possibly fault that! With two children, ages 8 and 5, we understand his pain at missing family. We received a number of emails from folks over the last few days, several asking, "If Robins can't make a go of it, who can?" Admiration for the man aside, we know of quite a few folks, men and women, who could make a go of what Robins did. Trouble is, many of them are also now divorced as a result of growing similar dreams. It is very hard to marry marriage to a spouse with marriage to a business dream. Some are able to make it work, while many others can't or aren't willing to make the choice. Robins had the courage to let go of one dream to hold onto another. For that he deserves all the respect in the world. As for Boldt, Robins' ideas and products were top notch in every way. We'd be very surprised if a forward-thinking company does not come along quickly and snap up what Robins has created thus far and make it work the way Robins envisioned. For those who want to stay in touch with Robins, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We won't say this about too many folks, but Robins is one person the SNEWS team would be honored to work for and with. We expect his next calling will find employees and team members echoing the sentiment.