The Indie Business Network was founded in 2000 in order to empower and encourage women to maximize their potential through small business ownership. Over the years, we have been true to that mission. In 2020, we initiated the Quarterly Indie Business Network Membership Scholarship which awards a year of membership and personalized coaching to at least one person. Today, I am pleased to announce the renaming of that scholarship to honor the woman who is the very reason for the existence of the Indie Business Network: Robin Meryl Greene Peel Turner.
How Robin Started the Indie Business Network
Robin was my best friend. She was also my Soror, having pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nu Rho Chapter at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Maryland.
She was smart, beautiful, poised, confident, funny, talented and graceful. She inspired me to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Indie Business Network would not exist had she not encouraged me to take the leap.
When I first learned how to make my own beauty and self-care products, Robin was my guinea pig. I gave her samples of everything I made: creams, lotions, candles, soaps, bath salts, lotion bars …. if I made it, Robin had a sample of it. I hand-wrote her name on many of the labels. Each creation was crafted specifically with her in mind. And while I knew that the quality of my creations back then left much to be desired, Robin adored every one.
Robin loved roses. She surrounded herself with them. She saved all the roses from various suitors through the years. There were dried roses all over her house. A huge stained glass rose hung from the rear view mirror in her car. Rose scented air fresheners were everywhere. Her license tag had roses on it. Her phone books and journals were covered in roses. Her check book and checks (remember those?) all had roses printed on them.
Of course, Robin's favorite fragrance was rose, so the items I gave her were always scented with rose fragrance oil.
On the day of her death in 1998, I was invited by her family to enter her home and gather her valuables and help search for important papers and so forth. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but also a task I was greatly honored to undertake. I decided to search the master bed and bathroom area first, and I discovered in one of the drawers all of the wrappers, ribbons, labels, jars, boxes and bottles from all of the products I had ever given her.
Robin had saved them all.
Even more unbelievable was the fact that tucked inside the same drawer with all of those items were many of the cards, letters, notes and palm print art that her children had given her over the years. That Robin had saved the wrappers from the products I had made for her in the same drawer where she kept treasures from her children was astonishing to me. It revealed to me for the first time how much it meant to her to have self-care products that were designed, crafted, labeled, wrapped and packaged by hand specifically for her.
I froze. My knees gave way. Robin was speaking to me from the place where she had lived and breathed just hours before. She was telling me that the products I had made for her were special. She was telling me to act. And so, I did.
I quit my job. I went to Africa for a year, and when I returned in 2000, with Robin's spirit by my side, I launched the Indie Business Network. And since then, because of her, thousands upon thousands of people have been provided with the education, mentoring, information, inspiration, insurance, networking, experiences, uplift and confidence they need to start, grow and manage a business of their own.
This means that thousands of women are encouraged to know that they do not need to rely on any third party — whether a person, a job, an inheritance or any other thing outside of themselves — to provide for themselves or their children. They can do it themselves because they can sell something they can make with their own hands.
It is because of Robin that any of this ever happened, and so today, we are re-naming our scholarship in her name.
The Indie Business Network Robin's Roses Scholarship
Unfortunately, Robin lived the last few years of her life within the prison of an abusive marriage. She was systematically physically and emotionally threatened, controlled, abused, and defeated by the man who promised to cherish her. While those of us left behind will never truly know the full extent of what she endured, here is some of what we do know:
- through it all, she managed to give two beautiful children an amazing start in life;
- she believed she could not support her children financially outside of the relationship she found herself in;
- she was desperately trying to find a job, and was selling products like Pampered Chef and Mary Kay, when she was killed by her husband, so she could generate enough income to leave and be able to provide for her children in a new home;
- she had consulted a divorce attorney for advice
- she had finally found a place with a friend who would to temporarily house her and her children, and she had begun to pack and make a plan
She almost made it out. She came so close.
But even though she didn't make it out, she left behind a legacy that is shining brightly in the faces of thousands of Indie Business Network members who are thriving in business today because of their membership in Indie Business Network and the friends, educational resources and supporters they have found here.
To be sure, if given a choice, I would much rather have Robin back. But since that's not possible, I consider it an honor to serve Indie Business Network members, and I know that Robin is excited because in ways I cannot truly explain, she is doing this work with me.
There is more good news as well, in the form of her beautiful children.
Kraig and Leah: Robin's Most Enduring Legacy
Robin's children were just nine and two years old when their mother was taken from them.
Kraig and Leah are now grown, and I am pleased to share that they have given me permission to re-name our scholarship in honor of their mother. For 25 years, I have waited for the right time to ask for their blessing, and it brings me great joy that they have given it.
Kraig and Leah have been through so much, but they are brave, and strong and resilient — like Robin. I know she is here with them and so proud. Soon, I will introduce you to Kraig and Leah. They are looking forward to meeting you in the near future.
Robin is Proud
I also know that Robin is proud of all of you — our dear and wonderful family of Indie Business Network member entrepreneurs. I know you work hard and your labors are not always easy.
I hope that as you lead your business and grow yourselves in the process, you remember that in the background, there is a woman named Robin who is cheering you on. You will not know her personally, but every hard thing you do and every product you make and sell is an opportunity to stand for her and for all other women who tried really hard for themselves and their children, and who almost made it out.
Keep going. Don't stop. And always know that Robin is rooting for you. I hear her every single day.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. And those are just the reported statistics. I can tell you that there are many more that go unreported.
In Robin's name, and with her children, the Indie Business Network will soon offer additional programs and services to help people who find themselves in situations like this.
If you or someone you know or care for is in a domestic violence crisis, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or visit The Hotline.org.
Apply for the Indie Business Network Robin's Roses Scholarship Today!
If you would like to apply for the Indie Business Network Robin's Roses Scholarship, please click here to submit your application. Existing members and non-members can apply.
At least one scholarship is awarded quarterly.
Each scholarship is for a year of membership and personalized business coaching in the Indie Business Network.
The deadline to apply is September 29, 2023.