A mother of three launches a family business
Back in 2015, Robbie and her girls packed everything up and moved from Detroit to Phoenix in search of better opportunities. A lively job market and the promise of a fresh start drew her to bring her young family southwest, and the relocation was inspired by Robbie’s own upbringing, when her dad moved her from her native Detroit to spend her formative years in North Carolina. “It ended up being the best thing my father could’ve done for me. What I got from my education was just at a different level compared to my peers back in Michigan,” says Robbie.
She had never been to Arizona before, and moved even before securing a job or place to live. “We winged it all the way,” she recalls. But Robbie found an apartment and a job within the first week after moving, and today, Robbie works at Turo on the Executive Support team.
“There was so much going on in Detroit at the time, when my girls were young,” she says. The successful move stoked confidence for Robbie and established a foundation for her family to flourish. “I wanted to continue that legacy my father created and put my kids in a better situation than they were born into. And let them know that there’s more to explore out there.”
Securing her Turo Seed loan
Robbie had lots of experience booking cars on Turo with her three girls, and she knew the marketplace well and was always interested in getting into car sharing for herself. “I like that I can turn to someone in my community for a car instead of some big rental service. I wanted to be that someone for others, and see what I could do with that second source of income,” she says.
But with her personal car being too old with too many miles to list on Turo, “for a long time I always thought, ‘Dang I wish I had the money to buy a car to put up.’ So when the Seed Initiative came out, it was almost like God had answered my prayers.”
As soon as she began crowdfunding on Kiva, Robbie was overwhelmed by the response. “It was shocking. That’s the best way I can describe it. Most of us think we don’t have a big support system, so even if we apply to things like this we don’t know how it’s going to go,” she says. “I got my Kiva loan fully funded in a week. My kids and I were monitoring the numbers as they went up, and we celebrated every milestone.” Incredibly, many people Robbie’s close with didn’t even have a chance to invest! “It was really eye-opening, and showed me you shouldn’t limit yourself based on things you assume; you don’t know what’s going to happen until you get out there and try.”
Starting a family business
Robbie did a ton of research before finding and purchasing a low-mileage pre-owned 2017 Nissan Murano, a practical family crossover with widespread appeal. Now that the car’s listed, Robbie has recruited her daughters to help run the show.
“One of my main goals in life, and with this new car, is for my children to see the full experience and get a handle on the fundamentals of running a business,” she says. “We didn’t have a lot of resources growing up in Detroit; we only learned the basics and nothing about how to survive after getting out of school, much less setting up your own business.” Her two oldest girls will be very hands on, helping out with cleaning the car, taking pictures and the like.
Early on, Robbie was worried about the demand she’d see where she lives in Buckeye, a more rural town on the western edge of Phoenix. But yet again, she jumped on opportunities that popped up when she tapped into the community and learned some tricks from more experienced local hosts. “It’s easy to limit ourselves. My biggest lesson from this is when we un-limit ourselves we can reach our full potential.”
For a young entrepreneur like Robbie with savvy and resources at her disposal, the biggest thing was a simple, but daunting change of mindset — something she advises anyone in a similar situation reflect on. “Untrain your mind from thinking you’re stuck in your position — you can lean on your community for help. When you just go for it you’ll be amazed at how many doors open up for you.”
About the Turo Seed Initiative
The Turo Seed Initiative is a program launched in partnership with Kiva to help address wealth inequality in America. Its goal is to empower aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in traditionally underserved Black communities, to jumpstart their entrepreneurial engines and start building a small car sharing business on the Turo marketplace.