By Molly Cerreta Smith
Robyn Halperin, owner and founder of Robyn’s Nest home décor boutique located at 24650 North Lake Pleasant Parkway in Peoria, has always had a flair for design. And while she had always wanted to own her own store, the dream had just been just that — a dream — for many years.
However, the idea was hatched when Robyn was a young girl. “For as long as I can remember, I was always into design,” she says. “I was always fixing up my room, changing the décor around and doing DIY projects.” After high school, one of her close friend’s mom asked Robyn to help design her home — and that’s when her love for design really took flight.
“That kick start gave me the confidence to move forward with a design career,” Robyn says. However, marriage, raising children and life in general took precedence, but she maintained smaller design projects on the side. One such project included decorating doctors’ offices, hotel lobbies, other commercial buildings and even some residences for the holidays in her then home state of Ohio.
As her children grew and her oldest daughter moved to Arizona to attend ASU, Robyn and her family considered coming out west. They had family in the area and would often visit. “Finally, we took the plunge,” says Robyn of her move out to Arizona from back East. “Once we moved, we wondered why we didn’t do it sooner.” As for how she ended up living — and eventually opening up her boutique — in the West Valley, Robyn says that she relied on a friend who grew up in the area and whose wife was a Realtor. “We looked all over the valley during three trips out here before moving,” she says. “But we loved WestWing. It was just developing at the time, but I loved the views, the green grass and the mountains — it was like a little bit of home — and it has a very small town, family feel. We got to know our neighbors and made great friends in the community.” Soon after she moved, her parents moved out to the area, settling into Vistancia.
A little more than five years also, Robyn’s dream of owning a designer home goods boutique resurfaced. Her husband, Scott encouraged her to pursue her longtime dream and in 2014 she purchased a flower shop as a stepping stone. “I had dabbled in floral design — it’s a lot like designing a room, and it was really fun,” says Robyn. “I learned a lot and the experience gave me a very quick understanding of how to run a business.”
Though Robyn enjoyed the flower shop, her true dream was still in her future. After about three years, an opportunity presented itself for a vacant space, the very same space which she and her husband had looked at when they were first looking for a spot to open the flower shop. By this time, Robyn had the experience of running a business under her belt and she was really ready to take the leap. “It’s a great area with shopping and restaurants on every corner of the intersection,” she says of the location, which is just a few miles from her home in The Meadows community.
Robyn’s Nest carries unique home goods including furniture, lighting, home décor and gift items that are unlike anything that can be found in the chain stores. Robyn enjoys going to the four major industry markets (High Point in the Carolinas, Vegas, which is Robyn’s favorite mostly for the convenience of the location, Atlanta and Dallas) to sleuth out furniture, home décor, gifts and other vendors to carry in her store. “It’s a great experience to go to these markets — there are star designers you can meet and workshops where you can learn about new trends for all over the country,” she says, adding that these trips are as much educational experiences as they are opportunities to meet other industry people and share experiences.
“I love what I do,” Robyn says, explaining how much she enjoys finding new items to put into the shop (much of which she gets inspiration from at the markets) and also that the boutique’s style itself has evolved since it opened. “I’m really drawn to a warm desert modern vibe,” she says, noting that transitional pieces and mixing different furniture can help people make their home a reflection of their personal style.
“In our homes and in life, we are always evolving,” she says. “Our homes should reflect what we need and what we enjoy.” Dubbing this style “functional design” Robyn’s transitional approach has led her to a very on-trend pleasant look that is largely represented in the products in her store. For years she has partnered with Robin Bruce and Rowe to offer customers a wide selection of pieces that can fit any lifestyle due to the use of the Inside Out, high performance fabrics. “They are great for families with children and pets because you can literally spill red wine or soy sauce on it and it cleans up with a Clorox wipe — without ruining the fabric!” Rather than selling beautiful pieces that will just sit untouched, the furnishings at Robyn’s Nest can actually be used and truly lived in.
And while Robyn’s Nest carries a wide array of items in store, Robyn says that if a customer is looking for something specific, she and her team will work closely with clients to help them find the right piece. “I have pretty much anything accessible to me,” she says, referring to vendors, “so I can help track something down or outsource if needed.” Robyn and her team also work closely with customers to share ideas about how they can use items in the store to create a whole new look in their homes.
“One of the really fun parts is working personally with our customers who are the people that live in the community,” she says. “We’re not just ringing up customers. We get to know them and they become friends.” And that makes the boutique’s special events that much more fun! Throughout the year, Robyn’s Nest hosts ladies’ nights and in the weeks leading up to the holidays, the boutique features the “Seven Weeks of Christmas” events that highlight a local vendor while guests shop and socialize.
In addition to using her boutique as a way to bring community together and advocate for the area through the Upper West Side PHX local grassroots organization, Robyn — along with her husband, both of whom are huge animal rights advocates — loves to collaborate with other organizations in support of animals, such as the Soi Dog Foundation, and particularly to advocate for elephants. “Animals don’t have a voice — so we have to be theirs,” Robyn says. Perhaps her dream of owning her own home furnishings store is not so far off from her passion — ensuring that animals have a safe haven of their own. After all, isn’t home truly where the heart is?
For more about Robyn’s Nest and their upcoming events, visit www.robynsnesthome.com.