Welcome to my reality: Taylor Made Volume 1

Posted by Taylor Barkin on

Welcome to Taylor Made Volume 1!
If you are reading this, it's likely that you've followed our story at Moore for a while and for that, THANK YOU. I can't even emphasize how much this means to me. If you're new to our story, welcome! I appreciate you taking the time and can't wait to take you on this wild ride with me. 
This past decade has been incredible and I'm grateful for every day of it. Through this time, we've experienced moments of glory and moments of defeat. For the first time, I'm excited to pull back the curtain and take you into my life as an owner. 
Brief history lesson
Our journey started in high school when we started screen printing out of Tanner's parents garage. Our first batch of shirts was dried in the sun on the driveway and were FAR from perfect. We started with right around $100 that I had saved from babysitting and bought our first round of shirts and supplies. We didn't have any option to put any more money into it at the time because we didn't have any. We turned that $100 over and over until we grew our business to generate millions in sales. Yes, I did just say we turned $100 into millions. No, I have never told anyone that and yes, I'm prouder than a pageant mom on TLC. 
Turning $100 over and over to grow organically has been a massive challenge and something we're really incredibly proud of. We're proud of our humble beginnings and I'm really excited to share our story and challenges with you to show you how we got here, what we've been through and what's next.
Any of you fellow entrepreneurs relate to this?
(Tanner is lol-ing so hard at my illustration skills but this one's my solo project so crappy illustrations it shall be!)
We've been moving like mad for the past decade. I don't think one week has existed in that period that didn't consist of working at least 50-80 hours a week to grow the business we are passionate as hell about. I never took the time to pause and self reflect until I forced a solo retreat in Belize this year. It was the most powerful and inspiring journey I've had in my life thus far. Tanner and I have been together 12 years. We've worked tirelessly together, traveled together and just done it all together. The independent woman in me was itching to run and do something on my own.
One day I woke up, looked at Tanner and told him I think I needed to travel internationally by myself so I booked the trip that day. He is amazing, he knows how I operate and gave me the full support to run off and go. So I did. 
Why should I care about this little trip of yours?
This trip was huge for me in many ways but the most amazing thing about it was the forced pause which is something I have never truly granted myself. I have always had the go go go mentality and that any time off was time away from growing our business, so I never took any. One day it hit me that having that mentality isn't healthy at this time anymore. It worked in my favor for many years because it allowed me to fearlessly go after building our vision. But I realized that this mentality is no longer a healthy way to run our business and I needed to force a pause before experiencing burnout again (more on that next month).
This forced pause inspired the hell out of me and the end result was about 150 pages of thoughts that I so desperately needed to dump somewhere. I spent an entire week sitting on the beach writing all day, every day. My definition of a "pause" really just means staring a new project I suppose. I felt the need to get these thoughts out into the world which is why I decided to start Taylor Made. 
What's Taylor Made about?
Every month I plan on sharing something from one of the following categories. I love community so if there's something you want to hear, please reach out to me and I'll see what I can do to include it or talk to you personally about it!
-Bits of our story through time
-Accomplishments and how we got there
-Failures and how we overcame them
-The challenges we go through daily as business owners
-Growing a business as a woman 
-What we've learned about optimizing our time and processes
-I'll show you the real human aspect of my life personally 
-Personal struggles (because none of us are alone in these things)
-A hell of a lot more 
I'm not afraid to talk about the hard shit. My goal is to build community and if I remain superficial and act like everything is easy and awesome then we can't grow from each other. Running a business is one of the hardest things I've done in life and I want to speak on the reality of that so that we can grow together, as a community.
Welcome to my reality
If you're like me, you probably follow some companies that you love really closely. If you are a business owner, you probably analyze them even more under a microscope. You might notice that most of them look like one day they exploded, or instantly crushed it out of the gate. If you're a business owner trying to grow your company, you might struggle looking at this because it looks like everyone around you is crushing it but it feels so hard and like such a long process for you. Guess what? They have all gone through the same thing. They probably didn't explode overnight like you might think and they are going through a lot of the same struggles you are, they just aren't sharing that part.
It's easy to take social media and put out all of the glamorous and the good, the things these companies are proud to share but rarely do you see what's under the surface. I'll be the first one to tell you that we're guilty of it ourselves and I'm aiming to change that and normalize the hard shit we all go through as business owners and really, just as humans in general.
People look at Tanner's art and wonder how he's just so naturally talented. The answer is that he is to an extent but our first set of designs was really quite crappy, it took a lifetime of practicing to get to where he is today. There were months where he hit blocks and couldn't create work he was proud of. 
People sometimes say that we've experienced luck when we've received massive purchase orders. While some of it was fate, the reality is that it took years of grinding, pitching to countless retailers, perfecting our processes to even handle volume and hours on hours of work nobody sees. 
This is the best way I feel like I can communicate my reality as a business owner in a nutshell:
Thanks for following Volume 1. The introvert in me is shaking in my boots a bit to open up my life but when it's all said and done, I'm really excited to take you into my reality. I hope to be a resource, I hope to motivate and most importantly show the reality of things you might also be going through to know you aren't alone. Whether it be as a business owner or simply just a human trying to navigate life.
Next month is going to be heavily centered around how we got to where we are. I'm going to take you on a deep dive into our past year. We grew by over 60% (WIN) but sacrificed a lot to get there (EEK). We went through things we never thought we would, good and bad. I discovered a lot about myself and went through some of the largest daily struggles that were new and shocking to even myself. It's going to be honest and it's going to get raw.

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