Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Stephanie Taylor. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Stephanie, appreciate you joining us today. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Quite simply – I love handbags! In particular, I love how a great handbag design can inspire women. I also have a great appreciation for the details that designers incorporate into each handbag, just as an artist does with a particular painting or piece of art. For many years I thought about creating my own design that would marry “fashion with function.” In 2019 I began designing the Cameron – a tote that consists of the highest-quality materials yet is functional for today’s busy woman “on the go! My motto is “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” as the interior of the Cameron is the real selling point. It features six unique pockets to hold everyday items such as phones, wallets, keys, sunglasses and even laptops. I am also proud that I manufacture all my products in the United States.
Stephanie, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am a wife and mother of two precious teenagers and one awesome golden retriever named Gunnar! In the past, I worked in marketing for various multi-national financial firms and Fortune 100 companies. The creative side of me kept wanting to design something or to launch my own business. In my free time I kept sketching various designs of handbags with beautiful and timeless designs, while also focusing on exceptionally unique interior compartments with creative, layered pockets. I wanted to marry “fashion with function.” One day, I finally decided to take a leap of faith and bring my sketches to life. I began to build a sample of the tote that I was envisioning. The Cameron tote – named after my precious daughter, was launched in 2019 with the motto “it’s what’s on the inside that counts!” and reflects my desire to create a high quality tote bag for today’s modern woman that helps keep them organized while also injecting an element of fun through brightly-colored interiors!
Today, I am proud that I have been able to show my family, in particular my kids, that it is never too late to switch gears and follow your dreams. It has not been an easy path building a product from scratch but I never thought of giving up. It has been a fascinating learning process regarding all aspects of designing, sourcing and manufacturing. I am also very proud to say that we manufacture our totes in the United States. Even though it is much more expensive to build my products domestically, it is important to me that my totes are manufactured by skilled artisans making fair wages and I believe in supporting American industry.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
Starting a business of any kind is never as easy as it seems and often times there are several hurdles to overcome. For me, launching my line during a global pandemic was very challenging and tested my resilience. Shortly after launching and as the impact of the pandemic became clearer, it became painfully obvious that there were going to be so many things that were out of my control. I loved what I was doing so much that I chose to keep moving forward, one step at a time. My access to manufacturing and sourcing slowed down as we watched the world shut down. Thankfully, I had stocked enough inventory early on that I could launch my Cameron tote with confidence that I could meet initial customer demand. Also, I decided to take this time to work on refining marketing and social media strategies and to work on other design ideas.
Can you talk to us about manufacturing? How’d you figure it all out? We’d love to hear the story.
I am proud to say that I manufacture my handbags in the United States. It was important to me to support manufacturing jobs domestically. It took several months of research to find the right manufacturer but I finally chose a great partner based in New York. The most important lesson I have learned is how important diligent, upfront research was to the success of building my business. From sourcing to manufacturing, choosing the right partners has helped bring my ideas to life.
- Website: taylorbags.com
- Instagram: @shopstephanietaylor
- Facebook: @shopstephanietaylor
- Linkedin: Stephanie Taylor
I have all rights to my images as the owner of Stephanie Taylor Handbags.