MEET ALLISON TAYLOR-MOSELEY:
1. Many women dream of starting a business from a creative passion they have, but aren’t sure how to get started. You have actually started (2) businesses and are able to divide your time and run them side by side. What advice do you have for those wanting to take the first step? How did you get started and take the leap?
How I got started: Before I started jewelry & personal styling, I was selling software. And, although I was successful at it, it still felt like something was missing. I told my husband about my dreams of becoming a fashion designer and he suggested I quit; so I did the very next day. I didn’t ease into it; I LEAPED! About 3 months later I realized I hated sewing! So, I thought, “I’ll try jewelry”. (I honestly don’t know what I was thinking because I had never made any jewelry before.) But, I took a 2 hour class at a local bead shop on how to wire wrap and by the time I got home I knew I had a business.
That same year, I started a style blog. (I highly recommend you start a blog that relates to whatever business you want to start. Completely immerse yourself in your field and write about it.) My style blog quickly turned into more of an advice blog like, “How to wear the latest trends” and “How to dress your body shape” etc. And, after a few years of writing about styling, I began actually styling people. I thought, “Wow, I know a lot about styling. I should do this.” I thought it would be a great side income. It’s got a low start-up cost, so I leaped again.
I’m always looking for new opportunities; even now, with 2 businesses, I’m thinking about what’s next. Never be stagnant, never be satisfied. What can I turn this into down the line? This keeps it interesting and helps me grow. When I get an idea in my head, I move forward with lighting speed and I don’t think about failure- ever.
If you want to take that leap:
- #1 most important thing: Educate yourself! No matter where you are in your business (just about to start or 10 years along) you must continue to learn (you’ll never know everything), be pro-active (not reactive), and know your strengths and weaknesses. Play up your strengths and find ways to make up for your weaknesses. I’m blessed to have the artistic side and business side. But, I also read a lot about business and entrepreneurship. I take free webinars on stuff I don’t know anything about, like marketing, PR, social media, blogging, branding, etc.
- Understand that running a business requires a lot of sacrifices and everyone has to be on board. My husband and I had to cut out all the shopping, we decided against the expensive condo and bought a practical house instead. We cut back on eating out and taking trips. It’s all worth it in the end, but it does take sacrifice of time and money. I had to learn to say “no” things and people. I work a lot of hours! I’ll take it easy some days, and then I’m working 12-14 hour days for 4-5 month straight. If you have a full time job, stop going out on Friday nights and start waking up at 5am on Saturdays to get things done. Don’t let your full-time job hold you back. Make it a priority. It will happen faster than you think, trust me!
- Surround yourself with a network of supportive people! When I first started, I got weird comments from “friends”. They didn’t think I could do it. I used that as motivation and stopped hanging out with them right away. I made friends with other jewelry designers and business owners and did whatever I could to help them out. Help everyone. How did I find these people? About 6 months into my business, I started selling my jewelry at a local outdoor market where people sell their art on weekends. This was so helpful because I was able to start earning a little money and make friends with other artists doing the same thing I was. Don’t make the mistake of thinking other people in your field are “your competition” or “your enemy”. I have seen this happen. You’ll get SO much more from networking with your peers. And, if people are snobby to you, brush it off. People like doing business with honest, positive people. Be one of those people.
- Participate and put yourself out there as soon as possible! Nobody is going to pluck you out of a crowd and offer to pay you money for your services or your art. You have to put yourself out there and actually be doing it. That first couple of years, I participated in everything I could, like jewelry contests, festivals, and art events. I attended style-related activities, like Austin Fashion Week and trunk shows at local boutiques. Even though I wasn’t close to being ready for a showroom, I contacted one anyway and asked if they would represent my line. These experiences taught me where I needed to be, what I needed to change, and how to get there. It also gets you SO motivated.
- Act like the company you want to be. My husband taught me this. If you want to be a company that sells to big retailers, then act like one! Get a linesheet, have a professional website, get your social media in place, record how much you spend/earn, create a business plan, etc. I started recording how much I was spending/earning from day 1. After a year, I looked back and realized I was spending way too much on materials. Cutting back just a little bit helped me be profitable and grow faster! Also, don’t be afraid to “lose” a little money. Don’t be wasteful, but understand that there are payoffs to investing in your company, like advertising, marketing, etc. Be smart; if you have literally no traffic to your website and no existing customers, spend money on new skills or growing your business instead of wasting money on a fancy website.
- Know how to sell yourself. Many people have the artistic skills but don’t know how to sell themselves. You have to be able to talk about why your product or why your service is the best (and really mean it). Something makes you different from everyone else. What is it? Figure out what it is and rock it! It’s something you’re going to have to get used to doing. Practice makes perfect.
2. Where do you find inspiration for your jewelry designs? I’m not a very trendy person; I love the classics. So, a lot of my inspiration comes from my own desire for high quality investment pieces that aren’t trendy. When I’m working on a piece of jewelry, I think to myself, how will someone wear this? What will it go with? It is versatile? I love that my jewelry looks great now and will still look great in 5 years. There’s a time and place for “fast fashion”, but for the most part, I think a piece of jewelry should be something you wear with pride.
3. Austin has a thriving music scene and film community, but what is the fashion scene like there? Such a good question! I actually think dressing “fashionably” in Austin is a little tricky because it’s so HOT (7-8 months of heat) & so CASUAL and everything takes place outside. So, wearing a $500 dress, 3 inch heels, and a sparkly clutch feels a little ridiculous when you’re melting in the sun. You don’t see a lot of flashy, designer clothing in Austin. There’s not a lot of fashion in Austin, but there is a lot of style! You have to be clever. I wear a lot of dresses, lightweight fabrics, flowy tops, and sexy sandals. And, I play up the accessories, hair, & make-up!
4. What is your signature, never-leave-the-house-without, accessory? Right now, its my long, gold, hammered, marquise necklace (found here). It literally goes with everything and makes the most boring outfits look super stylish instantly!
5. Whether it is styling your clients or creating stunning jewelry designs- you are helping women to feel more beautiful and confident. What makes YOU feel beautiful and confident? I think I feel the most beautiful when I am taking care of myself. Eating healthy, working out, and being balanced are key for me. It makes me feel in tune with my body and light on my feet. Heavy food weighs me down and makes me feel sluggish and depressed. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly indulge in champagne and croissants, but I keep an eye on it!
6. What’s the most exciting thing that has happened during your career? My husband and I traveled around the country for 1 year in an RV selling my jewelry along the way. It was an important life experience that I’ll never forget. I felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz…. I always wanted to know what was over the rainbow and when it was time to go home, I realized that everything I needed was right here in Austin. It was a beautiful experience and I learned a lot!
7. Where are you at now, and what do you have in store for the future? I just hired my first employee, which is really exciting. I also finally have a “real” studio that’s inside my home. Previously, I was working at my kitchen table, on the couch, and even in bed. It’s nice to finally have a professional place to do business (and WOW I’m so much more productive). I’m working on a new collection which will be ready in Spring 2014 and will be showing in a showroom. As far as long term? I plan to create a line of handbags and shoes! We’ll see where life takes me.
If anyone has any questions or wants to contact me personally, please don’t hesitate to reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org
WIN A STUNNING TAYLOR-MOSELEY CREATION
To enter the giveaway, follow these 3 simple steps:
- LIKE the Sanctuary Of Style Facebook Page.
- LIKE the Taylor-Moseley Facebook Page
- BROWSE the Taylor-Moseley Online Store then POST A COMMENT on her Facebook Page letting us know what your favorite piece is!
One winner will be chosen to receive the item of their choice from 4 options. (shown above) As a special added bonus for this giveaway, Allison will custom design the necklaces with your choice of stone color! Giveaway ends August 31, 2013 at 12pm PST. Winner will be announced that afternoon. Share the fun and tell all your friends!