Kimberley Robinson’s journey has been so interesting to our readers as she combines mental wellness and sustainable fashion; we thought it would be great to check in with her at the end of mental health awareness week here in the United Kingdom. We asked her to share with us the story behind Keep Real and it’s future direction. Read below to get the scoop on how her idea grew into something with a very real impact on our community.
Although my business hasn’t launched officially, it’s been around and developing over a number of years. This encapsulates it’s change of direction. Its surprising how certain you are of an idea and seeing it grow to where it is now.
Initially, I had the idea of an illustration platform, collaborating with other artists naming the company ‘KR Collective’ in 2012. I was toying with the idea of creating a business that involved my initials ‘K.R’ and wanted it to reflect my ideals as a person. I think if you’re trying to figure out a name for your brand, it is honestly a lightbulb idea. You’ll know the name is right when it hits you. ‘Keep Real’ encompassed everything I wanted my business to stand for. As an artist, I personally love old school traditional styles of illustration. The saying ‘Keep Real’ and ‘Stay True’ have been fundamental ideals to which a lot of people have cultivated over the years. It just so happened that ‘Keep Real’ also had my initial K.R in- so I guess you could call it fate.
The first launch online was ‘The Keep Real Collection’ in early 2014, which was a condensed selection of art prints as well as the first shirt prototype, made. During my time evolving Keep Real with art exhibitions, craft fairs, commissions and online sales, I was working two part time jobs and studying my Bachelor of Science Degree in Counselling.
I started a wellbeing blog called ‘kimmykeepreal’, putting my degree to its uses and sharing my knowledge/experiences of mental health. This matured into a slight following online, and led to the opportunity to discuss teenage mental health on BBC Radio 4’s programme of All in the Mind in London, United Kingdom. I wanted to inspire wellness and started to look at wellbeing as a whole through sustainability and slow fashion. I also felt the desire to pursue my work in illustration. An amalgamation of the two required research, resilience and a complete devotion I was readily welcome to take on. Doing something good in this world and improving others wellbeing has always been, and will always be my sole motivator.
Fast forward to the present, and it is now a brand launching this year here in the United Kingdom. Inspiring wellness through sustainable and ethically made clothing and goods, as well through a blog dedicated to wellbeing- from mental health, to the health of our clothes.
So where do I see Keep Real going in the future?
In response to the research, a lot of the people interested in Keep Real are actually interested in products that will enable them to be creative, and aid them in their everyday life. Keep Real is first and foremost a brand aiming to improve wellbeing- so products that reflect our ethos is something vital to the business. Clothing and accessories are seen as an extension of ourselves; so are books, stationary, homeware and everyday items.
I see Keep Real becoming a sustainable lifestyle brand. We’re looking at doing eco-friendly homeware, but I think for now- we’re going to focus on the launch and see where that takes us.
About the Author
I am Kimberley, a mental health blogger and owner of the upcoming goods movement ‘Keep Real‘ based in Yorkshire, England. I also have a BSc (Hons) Degree in Counselling Therapy, with experience of mental health problems personally. Anxiety used to be quite a huge part of my life in my teenage years, you can find me discussing it onBBC Radio 4’s broadcast of All in the Mind, as well as in an article forRethink Mental Illness! From my passion to raise awareness of improving well-being, I have started my own business- and aim to spread a lil bit of happiness to all you beautiful souls!