Mom Muse | Robyn Tosick
Robyn Tosick has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. And, she has an obvious passion for adventure and experiencing life to the fullest. Her latest business undertaking, OKIINO, merges her interests and skills together, plus gives Robyn more flexibility to focus on her nine-month-old son, Tanner. It’s an exciting time for this new mom on so many levels! Not to mention, OKIINO is poised to become the next big thing in the athleisure arena. Their land-to-sea, perfect-fit leggings are a must-try — we are obsessed! Of course, we have secured a special 20% off discount for our readers — simply enter MOMSTYLELAB at checkout on the website through 5/22/17. Read on for Robyn’s inspiring story and approach to life.
Raised in Tucson, Arizona, Robyn spent her childhood exploring the desert, and then stayed in her hometown to study marketing and entrepreneurship at University of Arizona. She shared with us that “as long as (she) can remember (she has) been an entrepreneur — from selling candy and novelties in elementary school and hosting lemonade stands in the summer, to starting a digital event photography company in college, which was cutting-edge at the time.” After just a year, another multimedia company acquired the business. While celebrating the close of the deal on vacation in Hawaii, Robyn met the owner of a brewing company who offered her a marketing job in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to work for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, climbing the corporate ladder from entry-level sales to National Account Executive. Her time was spent working 60+ hour weeks, training for triathlons, and keeping up with a jammed social calendar. Shortly after her 30th birthday, Robyn told us that she “started feeling a need for change, but didn’t have the time or space to determine what (she) wanted. (She) decided to push the ‘pause button’ on (her) San Francisco life.” She quit her job, rented her house, emptied her inbox, and turned off her cell phone. Then, Robyn and her fiancée, now husband John, spent the next year traveling around the world.
The Tosicks tie the knot in Bali.
The couple began their journey in Bali with their dream beach wedding. From Bali, they set off on the ultimate yearlong honeymoon, exploring 12 beautiful countries of Asia, Africa and Europe with no set agenda. Robyn spent a lot of time surfing, doing yoga, and hiking, “allowing (her) mind the space it needed to determine what was next.” It was then that she set a goal of creating a more cohesive lifestyle for herself by connecting her career with her passions.
Robyn ready to surf in Nicaragua in her OKIINO leggings.
Robyn taking in some scenic yoga. Photo Credit: Pena Photography
Robyn teaching stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga in Sausalito, California (wearing OKIINO leggings, natch!).
Surfing and yoga are two passions that have played a major role in changing Robyn’s life for the better. When she and John returned from their year of travel, she started working for a company where doing yoga was part of the job, lululemon. Robyn again started at the bottom in a new industry, but this time around she had her eyes open for entrepreneurial opportunities. In addition to teaching both land and sea (stand-up paddle boarding) yoga, she noticed right away that she could help yoga and wellness professionals develop their business savvy, so they could find ways to make a living doing what they love. Robyn also made time to volunteer by hosting fundraising events, and leading volunteerism retreats with the non-profit, Surf For Life. She was enjoying her work and flexible lifestyle. When Robyn and her partner Angeline had the idea for OKIINO (which means “the land that fronts the open sea” in Japanese), she realized this was her chance to tie all her passions together along with her desire to give back. Now, Robyn is living out her dream — balancing motherhood, leading OKIINO, and being part of the community. To paint an even prettier picture, the family of three and their wiggly boxer Ulu live in the Sunset district of San Francisco in a bungalow by the beach. Sounds perfectly dreamy to us.
The Tosicks at Gray Whale Cove in Northern California. Photo Credit: Sprout Photo
The Tosicks’ Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco.
Sunset at Ocean Beach in Northern California.
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
Vibrant, beachy, unique, sporty, effortless.
MSL: Tell us more about the inspiration behind OKIINO.
It all began on a surf trip to Mexico in March 2014. We arrived to perfect waves and surfed until sunset, but woke up the next day to extremely sunburnt legs and bums. To unwind from our travels, I led a yoga class for our friends after which we were eager to get back in the water. As achy as we felt, our sunburns weren’t going to stop us — we decided to keep our yoga leggings on and paddled out. Instantly, we loved the function of the leggings in the water; we felt protected, no bikini bottoms riding up, no chaffing from our boards, no adjusting every time we went underwater. But, the fabric and fit were not ideal. By the last day of our trip, we noticed other women were surfing in leggings. They too, were getting burnt, and were inspired by our solution. That’s when we knew our impromptu idea could turn into something more.
We spent over a year researching and developing our first product – high performance sun-protection leggings — making sure everything from fit to fabric to functionality was just right. We elevated style, infusing unique artist-created prints and strategic body mapping. Then, we got feedback from waterwomen, yogis and athletes around the world, resulting in the ultimate multi-functional leggings that were just as great in water as on land. A product that takes you effortlessly from sea to street to studio.
Behind the scenes of an OKIINO photo shoot in Hawaii. Photo Credit: Jim Russi
Pro surfer Emi Erickson checks out a sea turtle during an OKIINO photo shoot in Hawaii. Photo Credit: Jim Russi
MSL: What do you enjoy most about running a start-up? The biggest challenge?
I love giving my energy to a mission I totally believe in and having the autonomy to be flexible and creative everyday. So many challenges and obstacles arise with things that are out of your control, like production being delayed waiting on fabric from Italy. You just have to constantly be agile, persistent and very patient. Our mantra is “do it right, not rushed.”
MSL: What are your long-term plans for the company?
Our OKIINO mission is to create multi-functional apparel that enhances lives and empowers community. I would love to see every woman wearing OKIINO leggings and feeling confident, stylish and empowered. We plan to continue searching the globe seeking out the best performance fabrics, collaborating with new designers, and innovating elevated essentials. We have just launched the OKIINO Design Lab — empowering our community to help choose future product innovation by crowdfunding their favorite new designs and providing feedback. Down the road, we would love to collaborate with other fashion brands and already have some exciting things in the works.
OKIINO Ambassador Laura Burkhart models the latest leggings. Photo Credit: Samuel Henderson
OKIINO Ambassador Laura Burkhart. Photo Credit: Samuel Henderson
MSL: As a new mom, what’s your favorite part so far? Any moments of “why didn’t someone tell me this”?
My favorite part of being a mom is watching Tanner’s curiosity and how quickly he learns — everyday is something new. Actually since I have family and friends with kids, I felt prepared for “what to expect” about the challenges. My house is definitely messier than ever! But, I think the biggest realization is how precious each moment becomes. Tanner is really helping me be more present and not be too caught up in stress.
A seven-months-pregnant Robyn looking gorgeous and glowing.
Robyn toting around Tanner.
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without?
Well, honestly it is my OKIINO leggings. Like many moms, I lead a multi-dimensional lifestyle — working, taking care of my son, daily walks to the beach or Golden Gate Park, hot yoga, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, socializing and traveling. More than ever, I want my clothes to fit my lifestyle, still be stylish and comfortable, and make me feel confident. It is amazing to have this opportunity to make the exact apparel I want to wear. I live in leggings and now I have created the perfect pair.
MSL: Top three clothing items or accessories you’re buying for summer?
1) A great one-piece swimsuit in a stunning print
2) I’m obsessed with flowy dresses, always on the search
3) Sun protective clothing for Tanner (not finding exactly what I want so OKIINO might have to make it)
MSL: Your favorite “me-time” activity? Favorite family activity?
My favorite “me-time” activities take me back to the “pause button” feeling I got from my year of traveling. When I’m surfing or practicing yoga, everything else melts away and I can connect to my truest self. It helps me be better in every part of my life. And, I absolutely love shopping! It is so much fun to curate the items to enhance our lifestyle. My favorite family activity is being outside — usually hanging at the beach or exploring Golden Gate Park. We simply enjoy being together seeking out new adventures.
MSL: What’s your best style advice for other moms out there?
Wear what makes you feel confident and empowered for your lifestyle. I used to wear gorgeous designer business suits and heels, and now I wear vibrant print leggings and Nikes. Also, a great piece of statement jewelry can make an outfit and serve as a great conversation piece. Style is a great way to express yourself — be bold, creative and fun!
*Don’t forget to order your OKIINO leggings (they have them for kids too!) and take advantage of our special 20% off discount by entering MOMSTYLELAB at checkout on the website through 5/22/17.*