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Isabella Rose Taylor is a thirteen year old from Austin, Texas. She’s also a fashion designer who got her namesake line into Nordstrom and showed at New York Fashion Week. She talked to Like A Boss Girls about starting her fashion line, taking college classes, and the dream boards that inspired it all.
What was the first item of clothing you ever made for yourself?
The first item that I ever really patterned and sewed was actually an apron for art. I was so proud of it that I never actually used it, because it was the first big thing I ever sewed — I actually still have it. It’s pretty cool to look back and see it.
What was the first thing you ever sewed for someone else?
I think it was a shift dress, for one of my friends. When I started sewing, I did a lot of shift dresses, because it was an easy thing to sew and I like playing a lot with fabric.
How did you get started selling your clothes?
Well, it started out just as a hobby. I would go to trunk shows or sell to family friends at first. It started very small. I eventually got a website and started selling online, and it slowly got bigger and bigger, leading up to Nordstrom, which is my first big dealer.
What were the first steps you took to develop a fashion line?
Well, it sort of started, because I got a good reaction from people whenever I would wear my own stuff. I realized, “people actually like what I’m making!” So I started the website and sold a couple pieces here and there, and then slowly as demand increased, it became a business. And I had been selling my art for a few years before that, so I kind of liked the idea of sharing my work, which means selling it, and getting to see other people wear it on the street and things like that.
You’re taking college classes, right? How do you balance that with running your own fashion line?
I’m taking classes at Austin Community College right now. It gets a little hard to juggle things, with a travel schedule and missing classes; that’s why I’m taking all of my classes online this semester. It’s a little more flexible — I can work ahead and travel, and balance everything and make it work.
You create dream boards of your goals, right? Can you talk a little about that?
Yeah, I do that every year. They include my goals for the year and for the future (long term, short term). I get to see them every year and see what I’ve accomplished — and add things and remove things that I’ve completed. I’ve been doing it for quite a few years now. I started when I was really little. It’s just so helpful to look back at old dream boards and see what I’ve accomplished. It’s really nice to see it visually every day.
What tips would you give someone who has never created a dream board before?
Just have fun with it. I mean, there’s no rules, no specific ways to do it. I used to cut up magazines. You can make it really visual, or you can just write out all your goals. I would just say have fun with it and make something you want to see every day. I’ve made so many different kinds of dream boards that look so different, from ones that are purely collage to writing them out with pictures in the background. You can really do anything with it. It’s just something to see every day to kind of motivate you.
What’s at the center of your dream board now?
My biggest goal is definitely to be a global brand. I have so many different kinds of goals, like traveling (I really want to go to Italy) and meeting other designers (like Marc Jacobs). So I have such a variety of things on there — from things that are for my business, to travel, to health and more.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own company?
I would say find a mentor. Learn as much as you can about the business you want to be in, but I think finding a mentor or mentors can be so helpful. I’ve been so lucky to meet so many wonderful people who’ve helped me. I’ve met amazing designers, and I’m also a member of DWEN, which is the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, which connects female entrepreneurs and business leaders, so I have quite a few mentors and great advice from that group of women.
How important is social media to your brand?
I think social media is very important to pretty much every business. I think having a presence and posting consistently on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram is so important, because I’m targeting girls my age who are on social media quite a bit. That’s also why I started a YouTube channel, because I think YouTube is such a great platform, and it’s so much fun. I’m trying to figure out what to post and I’m having a lot of fun with that, too.
What’s next for you? What are your plans for the future?
I’m going to be going to India in a few weeks to speak at TEDxNewDelhi. I’m really excited to be a speaker. I did TEDxHollywood, and it was an incredible experience. I’m so excited to be going to India, where I’ve never visited before.
I’m also hoping to expand the business to other areas, like accessories, so I can actually complete my looks. I’m also really interested in shoes. (I’m a shoe lover myself.)
I also want to inspire and mentor other people interested in fashion, because as I mentioned before, I’ve had so many mentors who have given me such good advice and I really want to pay it forward and give that advice to someone else.