Taylor Jay of the Taylor Jay Collection — Trust your skill, trust your intuition, Trust YOURSELF, and take action!
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor Jay.
Taylor Jay is the vision and pulse behind the company. A bay area native, Taylor Jay has worked in the fashion industry for over 12 years. As a high school graduate and aspiring stylist, Taylor moved to Los Angeles where she studied fashion merchandising at the California school of fashion design. And it’s in sunny Los Angeles that Taylor opened her first boutique at the age of 23.
With business thriving and upon returning home to the bay area to open a second boutique, Taylor created her first collection, the Taylor jay collection, inspired by her own journey and body challenges. The clothing she designed impressed local customers and boosted demand encouraging Taylor to pursue her very own brand full time in Oakland, now home to the Taylor jay atelier.
Taylor Jay is more than just a fashion entrepreneur. Tough challenges early in her life only fueled Taylor’s pursuit of her fashion dreams. She has not only become a role model for her daughter, but for many black women entrepreneurs on the rise. She is often featured as a panelist to share her story and perspective. She hopes that her experience and designs can inspire other women to walk confidently and comfortably towards their dreams.
In her words, she will “…continue to design beautiful clothing that lasts a lifetime and makes every woman feel and look amazing.”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I had no plans of becoming a fashion designer. My dream was to open a boutique filled with unique timeless pieces. It wasn’t until I had a significant amount of weight gain that I realized the need for women to look beautiful and feel comfortable in every stage of life. My dress size went from a size 3 or 4 to a size 11 within 6 months. It was as if I became someone new instantly and I remember the challenges I experienced during this time with confidence, comfort and style.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Wow!! Yes, it was this year actually! One day we receive a direct message via Instagram from someone asking us to identify the mask that Prince Harry is wearing in a photo. Apparently they were trying to find out what type of mask he was wearing. We obviously confirmed it was ours and instantly everyone wanted the Prince Harry masks! This was pretty unusual and amazing at the same time.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As I try to think of a funny story. I really can’t because in business we think every mistake is the end, but once we get through it we can then identify the lesson that needed to be learned. I’ve learned from manufacturing , to trade show mistakes.. I am just thankful to push through every obstacle and challenge…
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our unwavering commitment to allowing women to be their best self in every stage. Our clothing makes women feel comfortable and confident even when they don’t necessarily feel that way. Our clothing transforms their mental and physical state of mind. We speak to the transparent woman who needs clothing that can accommodate the many layers of her life. These women desire and seek clothing that can and will go the distance with them. Having clothing that will carry you through your journey and always leave you feeling amazing is just necessary. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 or 10 years, Taylor Jay is built to last.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
WFH by taylor jay (work from home) Mini collections designed to make you feel good while working from home. We will be highlighting our real customers via video.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Trust your skill, trust your intuition, Trust YOURSELF, and take action!
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Be authentic and inspirational and clear about the vision. Your team must believe in you FIRST…
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve had some amazing supporters along the way, but I will say one person that I am always grateful for is my dear friend Paula. She has been in the fashion industry as a pattern maker for many years. We were studio mates, and she really taught me a lot about the design process. I am a self taught fashion designer so many things I’ve learned on the way! I am grateful for her friend/mentorship.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
By making women feel comfortable from the inside out. There is something about contributing to a woman’s journey that has a lasting impact and touches many. I know my story has and will inspire many.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be done…
I am a virgo, and this means I struggle with perfection. This can cause delays in terms of getting things going. This is something I tell myself on repeat (daily).
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Oprah Winfrey… we have similar childhood experiences, and when I was around 14 I wrote her a letter during one of those heavy patches in life. I would love to speak with her to talk about triumph.
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