Charlotte Schmidt is the VP of Robbins Brothers Stores, a well-respected jewelry business based in Azusa with 14 shops nationwide. Robbins Brothers boasts more than 100 years in business, with a focus on beautiful bridal jewelry and a steadfast commitment to customers. Learn about Charlotte Schmidt…
Follow at: @robbinsbrothers
Hometown: I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and spent some time in Iowa before we moved to Pasadena when I was a teenager. I spent 25 years in Arcadia and have spent the last seven years in San Diego.
First job: I did some babysitting, but my first official job, where I received an actual paycheck, was newspaper delivery. I was 13 years old making $5 an hour. Having to lug the Sunday papers up and down hills in the snow and rain taught me character and the value of hard work.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: I’m a very active person. I used to compete in bodybuilding and fitness competitions, so you can usually catch me working out at the gym in the early morning. During the pandemic, I redid my backyard and really got into gardening (it’s such a great stress reliever). I enjoy anything outdoors, like hiking and running, and love going to the movies or trying new restaurants with my two kids.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: My biggest accomplishment is reaching the pinnacle of VP of Stores for Robbins Brothers! I’ve been in retail for more than 20 years and have worn many hats. I started at Robbins Brothers two years ago, and it was my first time working in the jewelry industry. In that short time, I learned the industry inside and out, ran a flagship store and was able to move up to VP. Retail is retail, but learning an entirely new industry wasn’t always easy. I had to learn the product, the selling structure and the people all in one. It’s a completely different dynamic as well when you have a team who is working for a commission. I’ve been blessed to have a team of leaders and direct reports who supported me in my growth, and it has been extremely rewarding to leave a legacy and get to know my team on many different levels.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: The biggest obstacle I’ve overcome is learning who I am as a leader. I’ve had to learn and relearn how to lead people over the years, it’s ever-evolving. The obstacles and challenges are learning/knowing my audience to unlock their best and drive them to want more and be better. I have had to learn it can’t always be my way, especially if I want to be the best for my people to help them and myself grow.
Someone who inspires you and why: My mom inspires me. She got married and had kids young in life. She ultimately decided to leave Louisiana for California to make a better life for my sister and me, a selfless decision in my eyes. She was a single mom and worked extremely hard facing a lot of adversity for us to have a better life. My mom has always been tough but always so supportive and such a great listener. My mom is unapologetic about who she is and lives her life on her terms, which at this stage in my life I see as amazing and inspiring. Now that she’s retired and I’m in Los Angeles more for work, we are spending time weekly together and I have this new appreciation of just how fantastic and inspiring she truly is. She is kind, thoughtful, feisty and extremely courageous all in one package, and I feel blessed that I get to call her mom.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Never give up. Set goals, work every day at achieving those goals and strive for more. Be self-aware, accountable and disciplined in everything you do when working toward those goals. Always remembering nobody else can be held accountable for it except you and the choices you make. Learn that every good and bad thing that happens in life is teaching you a lesson, stay present to understand what the lesson is that you are supposed to be learning. There will be bumps (in any job, not just retail), value yourself and stay consistent in life’s journey and you will be successful. If you’re a leader, love your people and find what makes them tick.
Favorite quote: “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.” – Thomas Payne
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I prefer to watch a documentary, history show or movie over reality TV any day! I read leadership and motivational books almost every day to keep inspired and learn how to be the best for myself, my family and my teams.
What makes someone fabulous: Authenticity, genuineness and a great infectious smile. When someone has those three qualities, you can’t help but be blown away and want to be around the fabulousness they radiate.