Our new series celebrating women who inspire us.
Photo by Emma K. Morris
“I met Irma Robinson at Southside, her restaurant and coffee shop. I walked in and was instantly taken by the space's skull wallpaper. I reached out to find out where it was sourced from; Irma and I instantly connected over design and style, and the rest is history. I'm so impressed with the way she thinks and everything she gets done. She's exceptional.” - Linda
What do you identify as (photographer, designer, artist, dreamweaver, etc- no limits!):
A favorite memory from my childhood was the occasional trip to the Dolly Madison Bakery outlet with my mom, where she would allow me to stock up on my favorite sweets like zingers, donuts, and fruit pies. Kids at school always brought sweets for lunch and I wished so badly I had them in my lunch, too. I've always cherished sweets of any kind and continue to explore them wherever I am. I consider myself a connoisseur of sorts, particularly with pastries. In my adult life, I have taken it to another level having dined at many fine dining restaurants including Alain Ducasse in Paris. The candy cart after dessert was amazing! It's all about the experience they created around the art of the meal.
What propels you forward in life?
The opportunities and experiences that fuel creativity propels me forward in life. Where will I go next that will spark a creative idea for my dress style, home decor, design at our cafes and food & drink. What artwork or creative piece such as a coffee mug or table cloth. An artist designed and staged a piece that speaks to me, and it gets added to my collection or memory to be pulled out at a future time.
My faith has always calmed my soul in moments of uncertainty. When I lived in Australia in the late 90's I felt alone at times and far away from my family who was my support group. I would find a Catholic Church and realize I was never alone as long as I had my faith. I knew my family and I were connected and sharing the same comfort and peace in the same place regardless of where we were. Faith is there whenever you need it.
What city or place best encapsulates who you are?
I would have to say San Francisco. It's where all of my experiences began including my hometown of South San Francisco. I first started to experience grit there, which is why I persevere in challenging times. It's also where my first memories of food developed, including meals prepared with love by my mom. She cares for her family by always having her frijoles and salsa on hand. As a kid, local favorites included Papa Joe's pizza, La Victoria Mexican bakery, shopping on Union Square at Macy's and the outlet stores like Esprit and Gunne Sax.
What's your all-time favorite piece of advice/quote?
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. -Thomas Edison
Who are a few "mujeres" you admire?
Mi Madre - Gloria Aceves "Tita" Matriarch of our family who has always led the way for our family with faith, love, and endless support.
My Daughter - Ariana Robinson "Ari" a force to be reckoned with who leads with creativity, courage, and talent.
Mary J Blige - Music Artist, Actress, Entrepreneur. All done with style and through challenges.
Who would you want to have drinks with and where?
I'd like to have NA drinks with Rob Lowe in Santa Barbara. I've been a fan since I was younger and had a crush on him. Now, I am a regular follower on his podcast Literally.
What would you tell your younger self about life and the road ahead?
It's good to have fun and not take life so seriously when you are young but don't let good opportunities pass you by. It will make things a little easier down the road!