Robyn Hope Nicholl created her own digital marketing agency after studying at the University of British Columbia. She then founded Step with Rachel Rockowitz: an app to find, share and save all your favourite places with friends.
Where did you grow up?
Hong Kong, but I went to high school in the UK and university in Canada before moving to London for work.
Where did the idea for Step originate? Explain the app.
Step developed from a frustration around how convoluted it was to share place-based recommendations with friends. Rachel and I wanted to build a home for all the locations around the world we loved. The app is quite like Instagram in that anyone can set up a profile, follow other people and be followed. However, on Step the difference is you’re not sharing photos and videos, you’re sharing places on a map.
Do you have a five year plan for the business, or are you relying on spontaneity and agility?
Not really, we’re just constantly trying to improve the product and grow our user base. We try to go with the flow.
Favourite place to visit?
Lisbon. It’s a quick and easy journey, and the same time zone as the UK, so easy to work remotely if needs be. It also has the most amazing beaches with great surf, which is a big win for me.
If you weren’t living in London where would you be?
Probably Mexico City or Lisbon. Mexico City because I’ve never been and there seems to be a wealth of incredible art, culture and food. I’d love to fine-tune my Spanish.
Favourite restaurant, hotel and shop in London?
I like to eat at Angelina in Dalston, an amazing Italian-Japanese fusion omakase menu that is constantly changing but always spot on.
The Standard hotel. I love the mid-century modern building, and the pill-shaped elevator on the outside. It has the best bar on the top floor with sweeping views across London.
For shopping, I’m a huge fan of Couverture and The Garbstore, mainly for the men’s section. It has the best curation of international brands from Japan to Mexico and I always find a nice shirt or jumper on every visit.
Who are your mentors and sources of inspiration?
I don’t have a mentor but I’m looking for one! However, I’m constantly inspired by all the female founders I know. They are amazing sounding boards. Being a founder comes with a lot of stress and obstacles and feeling like you’re not alone on the journey is such a relief.
Key values that you look for in fashion brands?
Timelessness, great design, quality & comfort.
What is your most treasured possession?
A gold friendship ring my mum designed and gave to me. I never take it off.
What attracts you to issue twelve’s collections?
I know I could wear the pieces for years, they are beautifully made and designed. You can tell that Leah has paid attention to all the little details, the things that make the difference. For example, the depth of the placement of the buttons on her shirts or the width of the collar on a jumper.
What keeps you motivated daily?
Building new things in the business & connecting people in our community.
Last music you downloaded?
B.B. King - Deuces Wild.
Being awarded App of the Day on the Apple App Store three months after launching Step. That was huge.
Personal style signifier?
Oversized. I wear a loose shirt in the summer and an oversized jumper in the winter. I think people are always taken aback when I occasionally put on something tight!
Who are your style icons?
Chloë Sevigny & Freja Wewer as they both have really confident, distinct styles. Chloe is playful and Freja is quite androgynous. You can tell when style is natural as it’s effortless.
Essential ingredient at a party?
Chewing gum, for freshening up after dinner.
Best book you’ve read in the past year?
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, it is so beautifully written. Ocean is a poet first and foremost, and the prose as a result is wonderfully lyrical. Furthermore, the book is written as a letter from the protagonist to his illiterate mother. It’s incredibly moving.