A Scituate entrepreneur’s stylish lifestyle brand is an ode to New England.
Story and Photography by Kate Rogan
Scituate resident Robbin Mangano is a natural storyteller. Whether bringing a client’s story to life via her public relations and social media marketing company, Wave Collective, or documenting her life on the South Shore to her more than 45 thousand Instagram followers, she has a knack for creating inspiring content. Most recently, she and her husband Jeff Mangano launched a quintessentially New England lifestyle brand—The Golden Cod.
With its name inspired by the first industry established in Massachusetts (cod fishing), The Golden Cod brand offers a curated collection of thoughtfully designed jewelry, apparel and home décor. Signature offerings include hand-carved and gilded cods, designed to adorn homes and serve as a symbol of the region’s rich heritage. Similarly, their custom-designed gold coin pendant necklace features a delicate cod design, allowing the wearer to keep an elegant symbol of New England close to their heart.
We recently sat down with Mangano to learn more about her growing businesses, her popular social platform and what she loves most about living on the South Shore.
What was your goal for The Golden Cod brand?
My vision for The Golden Cod is to create a lifestyle brand that is synonymous with New England. Years from now, I’d love for our products to be “must-have” items for any New Englander and visitor.
Do you have a favorite Golden Cod product?
My favorite product from The Golden Cod is our coin pendant necklaces. This is the product that actually inspired the entire brand. I own a coin pendant ring from Italy that I never take off, and when I saw and learned more about the gold wooden cod carvings I saw on homes all throughout New England, and cod fishing in general, I thought it would be interesting to incorporate that into a favorite piece of jewelry. The goal was to create a piece of jewelry that locals and tourists would love. I have absolutely no background in jewelry design, so I worked with Jessica Ricci, an amazing jewelry designer based in Providence, Rhode Island, who helped consult on the entire design and manufacturing process for our jewelry. To this day, she still works with us and we’re currently developing a few new pieces that we hope to launch later in 2021.
Your first business, Wave Collective, was founded in 2016.
Can you tell us more about the business?
Wave Collective, formerly known as R Public Relations, specializes in public relations, social media, content creation and influencer marketing. We are based in the Boston Seaport, so I commute a few days a week up to our office. Pre-pandemic, I loved taking the ferry from Hingham every day, and hope to get back into that routine again one day.
You have a strong personal brand, boasting over 45,000 followers on Instagram alone. Can you tell us how you found your voice?
My social media voice has always just been my real life voice. I write like I talk. I post photos that I take and love. And my Instagram Stories simply show a behind-the-scenes look of my life, just a bit less filtered. Thankfully, I’ve been able to relate to a lot of people who share a common interest in our region, which helped me build the audience I have today.
The word influencer is often used when people amass a large following. Would you describe yourself as a social media “influencer” or “content creator”?
I’d describe myself as a business owner that just happened to build a social media following, using all the strategies that I implement for my own clients. If I had to pick between the two terms though, I’d consider myself a content creator, because of my love for photography and storytelling.
Did your Instagram presence grow organically or was it more strategic?
When I first started growing an audience, it was all purely organic. When traveling with my husband on the weekends throughout New England (pre-kids!), I’d document the entire trip and put photo guides together through my Instagram and blog of things we enjoyed seeing and doing. Whether it was a seaside clam shack in Maine, a sunset boat cruise out of Vineyard Haven, or an oyster tour in Duxbury, it seemed like this was the type of content that my followers started to gravitate towards. Over time, larger social media accounts would share my content, while also tagging and giving me credit, which would then drive their audience to my account. I started to see this happen over and over again, growing my audience by hundreds each day, and that’s when I started to be more strategic. I’d look at what photos performed well (and which didn’t) and would then create more content that people gravitated towards.
Can you give some advice to individuals or followers who also want to build their personal or business brand on Instagram?
The two (business vs personal) would be completely different, since I'd recommend that a personal account should not be started with the intention to monetize it, whereas a busiess on Instagram is of course trying to make money from the account from day one. But, for both personal and business, a few of the most important things you can do to grow an organic audience is be consistent, provide value, create and post quality content, and let your voice shine through your captions. Over time, you audience will find you.
When you're not working, what are some of your favorite places to spend time on the South Shore?
Oh, there are so many, but a few that are my tried-and-true spots are Lucky Finn Cafe, Erich's Clam Shack, Island Creek's raw oyster bar, boating out to The Spit, beach days at Minot, Donovan Wildcat Trails in Norwell, visiting Scituate Light, and craft beers at both Untold Brewing and Vitamin Sea Brewing.
As the owner of multiple businesses, you wear a lot of hats. Can you give us a peek into what a typical day looks like for you?
Every day is so different from the last. But most days consist of a mix of Wave team catch-ups, pitching clients to local and national media, reviewing social media calendars, overseeing photoshoots for both Wave clients and The Golden Cod, coordinating influencer partnerships, conceptualizing the creative for a brand partnership I'm doing for my personal Instagram, brainstorming new product designs with my husband Jeff for next season of The Golden Cod, and more.
You’re also a parent. How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
It would be a lie to say I had everything all figured out and that I’ve learned how to balance being both a mom and a business owner. The first step was finding a good local daycare that my daughter enjoys and thrives at. There were a few weeks where we didn’t have daycare during the pandemic and it was nearly impossible to get work done. I know a lot of working parents felt the same way this past year. You want to do it all: be a good mom, a good spouse, a good business owner, and boss. Eventually, it catches up to you. And for me, it meant really learning how to delegate, determine what was important to work on, and what could wait until later.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Hitting the five year mark for Wave Collective. There were many, many ups and downs with the business and a number of setbacks that could have ended the business. But through resilience and building a team of skilled professionals, we were able to get through a lot of hardships, including the pandemic. It was by far my greatest accomplishment that Wave was able to get through 2020 with our entire team that we went into the year with, plus more team members.
Have you mapped out your goals for 2021?
A large focus for me this year is building The Golden Cod, as we were set back a bit by the pandemic. I’m excited for opportunities that this next year will present for the brand. Fingers crossed, hopefully by the summer, we’ll be able to travel throughout New England again to introduce The Golden Cod to as many New Englanders as possible.
5 Quick Facts About Robbin Mangano
Favorite mantra? I don’t have a specific mantra I live by, but I’m an extremely vision-oriented person. I’m obsessed with the idea of manifestation and often, anything that Wave or The Golden Cod has been able to accomplish, has been from months and years of manifesting and then taking the proactive steps to reach those goals.
How would you friends and family describe you in three words?
Creative, driven and caring.
What are five things you cannot live without? My family, books, my phone, coffee, and my camera.
What advice would you give 20-year-old Robbin? That nothing comes easy, and that you’re going to grind it out to accomplish what you want. There’s no such thing as overnight success, no matter how appealing that idea might be.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Always be kind, in both your professional and personal life.