Designing Your Passion
By Lorna Oppedisano | Photography by Alice G. Patterson
When Annie Taylor planned her wedding, Pinterest-inspired, do-it-yourself festivities were not the norm. But Annie wanted her own creative, unique wedding invitations. So, returning home every evening from her job at Stonewall Kitchen’s in-house design department, she’d set up shop and get to work.
“I stayed up late every night doing them on my dining room table,” Annie said. “And I just loved it.”
Many of her friends were getting engaged around the same time. They loved Annie’s handiwork and asked her to make stationery for their weddings, too. Before long, she and her husband agreed it was time for her to take the leap, leave her job and make a go as a small business owner.
And with that, Annie Taylor Design was born.
Annie began by primarily creating wedding stationery, at “the dawning of the Pintestet era, when you wanted to make your wedding a lot more personal, and put your own touch on it,” she remembered.
Annie and her husband were starting their family, and the new business was the perfect fit that enabled her to work from home and be with her children.
She worked diligently for a few years after founding the business in 2005, but eventually had to put it on hold as her children got older.
After living in Maine for about 10 years, the couple moved back to Syracuse. They had the youngest of their three children, and Annie began to feel “the itch” to create again. When her sister-in-law asked Annie to design wedding invitations, Annie jumped at the opportunity.
A friend helped Annie redesign her website, and Annie Taylor Design was back.
In her hometown, surrounded by support of family and friends, she’d found the perfect place to reinvigorate her business.
“Moving back here, I had a whole new appreciation for Syracuse,” she said. “For me, I just needed to leave for a little while, to come back and appreciate what a great little city this is, and [that it is] such a great place to raise a family.”
Being a mother has inspired Annie and helped her expand the business, too. In 2015, she decided to take her design concepts in a new direction, shifting away from weddings and toward helping mothers and busy women make the most of their days. Now, she designs everything from specialized to-do lists for on-the-go women to daily checklists for their children.
Annie’s business decisions have been guided by changes in her own life. Like any small business owner, she makes mistakes, but that’s OK, she said. Annie Taylor Design’s growth has been steady, a sustainable fit for the busy mother of three.
Annie most enjoys the creative side of her business, she said. She’s not a salesperson or businessperson at heart, so the support of other local female entrepreneurs has been crucial to her success.
“[They] keep me accountable, and can totally relate to the craziness,” she said, adding that her business coach, Jen Liddy of Jen Liddy Coaching & Development, has been “a life and business saver.”
Being a small business owner has forced Annie, a self-proclaimed introvert, to venture out of her comfort zone. Since she doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar shop of her own, she connects with other local business owners, suggesting they carry Annie Taylor Design products in their shops. She’s seen success so far, selling her stationery at a number of local stores, and plans to add to the list next year.
“I love the trend that these locally-owned businesses are supporting other locally-owned businesses,” she said.
For any small business owners struggling with growth, Annie stressed the importance of continually finding your own niche. For her, it began with weddings. Now, it’s creating for busy women and mothers.
“Keep carving out what you’re passionate about,” she explained, “because you won’t have any longevity if you’re doing something that doesn’t give you passion.” SWM
Find Annie Taylor Design products online at annietaylordesign.com, and at the following local shops:
• Natur-Tyme, DeWitt
• Skaneateles 300, Skaneateles
• Paola Kay, Fayetteville
• Adagio, Syracuse
• Hair Habitat, Syracuse
• Indie Kids, Syracuse
Connect with Annie at her pop-up show on December 2 at Pottery Barn in Destiny USA. Check online for details about Annie Taylor Design’s upcoming open house.
Thanks to Adagio for Annie’s hairstyling, and A-list Artistry for Annie’s makeup.