When and where did you first begin?
EY - The initial idea was creating a product range of 9 things every woman needs from a handbag to a purse, a lovely notebook and pen, and the perfect cashmere scarf. The first part we looked at was the handbag and then we decided this is where we should focus and we wanted to create a range of soft, understated, luxury handbags and the idea grew from there. It may sound like a cliche but it was literally a chat around the kitchen table, Mum was throwing out ideas and said do you think we can do this? I said yes, why not? And off we went.
KY- We officially Launched Taylor Yates three years ago. Although fashion and retail surrounded me growing up, I never felt it was an option for me. I went on to do my degree in Business and Marketing and then went to work for a large manufacturing company in Northern Ireland. The job helped me build up a wealth of experience in both business and fashion and I knew it was something I really enjoyed. It was Ellen’s enthusiasm that gave us the push to turn our conversation into the brand Taylor Yates is today. We are so lucky to get to work together and although it can sometimes be a challenge, the combination of Ellen’s fresh ideas, her understanding of current trends and my experience of design, manufacturing and running a business means we can usually make good choices together.
So how did we begin, a t-shirt business, a lecture in ethics in marketing, a changing world where people need brands to be more transparent. The realization that I was looking for something that was missing in the market. A conversation with Ellen, and the design of the first bag.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
KY- Taylor Yates Bags are all named after the strong women that surrounded me growing up. The attitude of these women inspired the essence of the Taylor Yates brand and they have inspired us throughout our design process. They were always doing something, creating, working hard and looking after their family. The first collection was made up of the bags we both wanted to carry but couldn’t find - a soft tote, a stylish hobo, its’ mini version, a sporty drawstring, and the perfect pouch. Therefore, Alice, Doris Clutch, Mary, Mavis, and Tilly were born.
Like these women, each bag has unique characteristics, but they are all related through their understated, timeless style. For example, Alice and Tilly from our original collection are inspired by Karen’s nana and mum. You can clearly see the special mother-daughter relationship when looking at these two bags side by side. They are both transitional from day to night as well as from one season to the next. They have been thoughtfully designed to complement any wardrobe and add a statement of understated luxury.
EY- Our colour range and fluid shapes are inspired by the stunning north coast of Ireland that we live on. It is hard not to be influenced by the beauty of the sea, sky, and land that produces some amazing natural hues!
Describe your brand in 3 words.
Authentic, socially conscious and sustainably focused.or A Beautiful Purpose?
What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
KY- We are still quite a new business and as a start-up, that means every day will bring something new and a new job title to add to the list! I still work full time running my marketing consultancy business and Ellen has just returned to University to finish her degree after taking a year out to develop Taylor Yates. It takes determination, resilience and a lot of hard work to be in any business today and together we share the workload, working late into the evenings and weekends as it’s our passion. Just recently, We’ve hired our first new team member Adrianne, to help with design and product development! We are really excited to have a new skill set on board to help us create beautiful products with people, planet, and purpose at the center of our design process.
Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
We love the development process, colour also plays an important part, there are often long debates about whether shape or style will work in a specific color. Sampling can be expensive and as a small business, so sometimes we have to just go with our gut feel and hope our customers love what we pick! Managing the cash flow is our least favorite.
Do you have a mentor?
KY - I have been lucky to have a few mentors in my career, thankfully I have a large network of friends and colleagues and never have to travel too far for advice.
How long did your latest collection take to create?
It is hard to pin this down to a specific time frame as our ideas are constantly evolving to create something special. Over the last 3 years, we’ve worked hard to develop our core colours and styles into hopefully a look that becomes iconic and timeless. For 2020 we have introduced Mocha as our new colour and Elsie and Norma as our new styles. We don’t develop collections based on trends or seasons but rather we thoughtfully gather inspiration colour and shape inspiration from the stunning north coast of Ireland that we live on.
We are currently loving Cognac tones and are pulling together mood boards that will help us develop a colour true to Taylor Yates’ brand DNA.
What are your future plans?
KY - We are currently working on our first circular economy collection using the waste leather from our main collection, which may include some menswear pieces. Ultimately, we would like TY to be known as a brand with people, planet and purpose at the centre of everything we do. We would love to be able to create a capsule collection of clothing at some point in the future too.
EY - I think the development of our circular economy collection will be so great when it is finished and it will let us expand our audience more. I want to see us grow our following and to create a real community of people all over the world. I also want us to have a presence in New York and London as well as at home whether that’s through other retailers or in our own locations - it would be amazing.
Which pieces do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?
Honestly, it depends what day it is! The great thing about all of the colours and styles in our range is that they are understated and timeless. We love Mavis and Agnes for day to day, they are both so easy and big enough for a laptop which is very important for us. Tilly, Doris, and Frances are brilliant for going out to dinner or to a wedding. Our current favorite colours are definitely Petrol and Storm but again it all depends on the outfit too!
What attracted you to The Clothing Lounge
We really love how The Clothing Lounge curates ethical, independent and talented designers from across the globe. It’s a fantastic platform that allows customers to seamlessly shop unique fashion and accessories that you wouldn't necessarily come across without this space. At Taylor Yates we hold ethical values and thoughtful design at our core so to be able to sell our products on a platform that shares the same values is very important to us. We are very excited about this new collaboration!