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I am a freelance writer for newspapers,magazines as well as a journalist for TV.
I am from Tokyo, Japan and have been living in Los Angeles since 1990.

#218- When Mr. Ron Robinson (a president of Ron Robinson at Fred Segal) was in high school…(@SENKEN-SHIMBUN /daily newspaper for fashion business)

As I promised with you in my previous post, I translated the article of Mr. Ron Robinson’s story about his high school period into English from Japanese.

Today (July 12th in Japan / Japan is ahead 16 hours of Los Angeles), the new teen magazine “Senken Petite-h” by Senken-Shimbun (major Japanese fashion trade newspaper) came out in Japan.

I wrote a special interview article about Mr. Ron Robinson (who is a president of Ron Robinson at Fred Segal / APOTHIA at Fred Segal / Ron Robinson Inc. in this magazine.


Here is my translation in English.

“Senken Petite-h” magazine
July 12, 2013 (summer issue)

Back in high school

“I got what I want by myself.”


The president of Ron Robinson at Fred Segal / APOTHIA at Fred Segal
Mr. Ron Robinson

Interview & Text & Photo by Yoko Fujimoto (A freelance writer in Los Angeles)

“Fred Segal” is a long time established, famous, celebrity endorsement boutique in Los Angeles (L. A.). They have stylish and fashion forward products such as clothing, accessories, lifestyle goods etc. This boutique is also popular for Japanese tourists.

While Mr. Ron Robinson (who is a president of Ron Robinson at Fred Segal & APOTHIA at Fred Segal) was in high school, he was into fashion and he was wearing Levi's 501.

Then he wanted to work in Los Angeles of his dream. He quit University of Texas at El Paso and he started working as a sales person at Fred Segal when he was 19 years old (in 1968). At his age 29 years old, he got his own store, Ron Robinson at Fred Segal. Since then, he is a president of Ron Robinson at Fred Segal & APOTHIA at Fred Segal.

I interviewed him about “when he was in high school what he was thinking about?” and “what he did in high school? “. Here is his story.


“I got what I want by own money.”

While I was in high school I was always thinking about “how can I get what I want”, because our family was not super rich and I am the first son of four brothers, so I had to get my favorite things by myself since I was a kid (in 1950's).

Around age 9 years old, I really wanted to purchase a cool bicycle (it was $58) at the department store “Sears”. So I played a slot machine (with my mother’s help) and I made some money, and I used the money for a layaway payment for the bicycle.

Around age 13 years old, I washed cages of hamsters at the pet shop (where my parents’ friend was the owner) after school and on the weekends. I just made $1 for a day at that time.


“I had fun to earn own money by our company with my friend.”

While I was in high school, I earned own money.

My hobby was to dismantle clocks and machines and my father was a store manager of the major chain store of stereo system at that time, so I and my friend installed my father's customer's car stereo into their car. My name and my friend's name's initials is L and R, so our company's name was “L&R Installation Company”.

Our best time was, when we worked on the luxury car such as Corvette. We said to our customer, “we need to test your car stereo system, so we are going to drive your car” and then, we drove to the hamburger shop and we had a good attention by girls. We charged each customer $80 at that time.

I had this business during my high school period. “Time is money”, I learned this with my business.

I wanted to meet girls, so I was also selling the lemonade, but I didn't get any profit from that business (smile).


“I wanted to be a rich and I wanted to do something I like, this was my dream.”

My superhero was a “Superman” (comics) and I admired a superman, so I wanted to become a doctor or a veterinarian to help people.

But when I visited at my classmate (who is the son of Farah / fashion brand)'s house, I was so impressed by his lifestyle, “Wow, what a luxury lifestyle!”, and I strongly thought that I would like to be rich by myself more than my family!”

By the way, my mother and my uncle owned the maternity boutique and my father used to work at the major men's suit boutique as a store manager, so I was into fashion business. I guess I was unknowingly influenced by my parents.

My next dream is, I am going to purchase a jet and I would like to fly around the world.


Mr. Ron Robinson’s profile:

He was born in Texas, El Paso. He graduated at Coronado High School in Texas, El Paso and he quit University of Texas at El Paso when he was in sophomore of the business major.

He worked for Fred Segal for 9 years and became a vice president and has owned stores with his brand RON ROBINSON and APOTHIA at Fred Segal (APOTHIA established in 2000. APOTHIA is developing in Japan as well.) for over 35 years.

Two photos are from his 18 years old period. (Photo captions are:  He was thinking about girls all the time / In a car, he just graduated from high school.)

One more photo is his present. (I took his headshot in front of his boutique.)


Do you remember how you got your first bicycle?

I do.

When I was 8 years old, I wanted to have a pink bicycle, so I wrote about my wish in my note book every day for two weeks (“I want to have a pink bicycle. I hope dad will buy me a pink bicycle!”), and then my wish came true! My father bought me a pink bicycle...

By the way, as I wrote about “who is a good business person?” in my previous post, I would like to add one more thing… “Treat an employee like your friend”. The fabulous business owners always treat their employee nice.

Mr. Ron Robinson is very sincere and kind. After our magazine interview, he introduced me to his young employee and Mr. Ron Robinson treated his employee like his friend. It makes sense that his store is always fun & positive, because of Mr. Ron Robinson.

I hope you enjoyed Mr. Ron Robinson’s story like I did.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles July 11, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Yoko Fujimoto

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If you don’t, you will enjoy my column on Senken-Shimbun (major Japanese fashion business newspaper) website.

Here is my translation of my column into English from Japanese.
Enjoy :)

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