“When you shoot a movie like Die Hard, it’s critical that Bruce Willis has incrementally more blood stains in scene 273 than in, say, scene 225, even though the scenes are not shot in numerical order. One of my jobs was to make sure that happened.”
There’s probably no typical iced tea company founder, but whatever you think that might look like, Robin Squibb is about the farthest from. A descendant of Rhode Island heritage tracing back to the Roger Williams era, Robin spent the bulk of her professional life – some 35 years – in New York City working as a script supervisor on huge Hollywood films.
Over the years, she rubbed shoulders with actors and directors with names like De Niro, Willis, Smith and Stone. And yes, that’s Robert, Bruce, Will, and Oliver.
“They called me Squibby,” she recounts with amusement.
These days, Squibby sells tea. Starting with a locally popular family recipe her grandmother began brewing in Saunderstown in the 30s, and then tweaking it to perfection, Robin conceived Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea.
That was 6 years ago – having returned in ’03 to Rhode Island – and she hasn’t looked back since. Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea is now sold in 250 stores throughout New England.
Quenching the thirst of thousands every month is a monumental feat for a one-woman operation … even a woman who once went toe-to-toe with the likes of Oliver Stone. Robin explains:
“It was on Any Given Sunday, and Stone was blowing through script supervisors like dandelions in a squall. I was a few days into my first week, and it looked like things would be fine. But Oliver liked to sit in a black tent. And the thing about tents is, you forget there might be people inside who can hear everything. When he overheard me betting with a friend over how long I’d last, he had me fired instantly…. I was gone in minutes!”
Squibb had a stellar reputation – how could she not after 35 years in the business – and getting fired by Oliver Stone she figured might even improve her résumé. She continued to work on films like Will Smith’s ’05 blockbuster Hitch, and because she was unionized, she made out well financially from the ordeal. “The company paid me an arm and a leg” she recalls, with a detectable degree of bemusement.
If that’s not a snapshot into the entrepreneurial spirit, we’re not sure what is.