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Heather Taylor: The Champion
Jenny, we had Heather Taylor on our show.
This was a big one for us.
She couldn’t have been more loving and supportive of us.
She was so kind and generous with her time, with her spirit, with how supportive. She had all these great suggestions for us and offered to help us in any way she could.
She is part of that women community in LA that has each other’s backs.
They have each other’s backs and they’re doing cool artistic, ethical things, whether they’re making clothes or jewelry or shoes or textiles.
We’re still lucky and she was so open about sharing how she got to Heather Taylor Home.
Her story is beautiful because I feel that each step along the way fed nicely and naturally into the next thing and also how brave she is. She’s never afraid of rejection, never afraid of the answer is no, never afraid to put herself out there. It’s a good motto to live by and we took to heart what she said, “Better good today than great tomorrow.”
It’s great advice in there and also, staying in her own lane and knowing what she is good at and focusing on that.
We hope you enjoy this episode with Heather Taylor of Heather Taylor Home.
This is exciting for us. I don’t want to make you feel weird, but we’re big fans and we think you’re the coolest.
That is extremely nice. Thank you, ladies.
This is a big time for us. We’re very thrilled that you’re here. Thank you.
Thank you. I’m so happy to be here.
When I was looking you up and we were talking about you, it seems like your career, you’ve done so many things and everything has blossomed off each thing. I’m sure there was tons of work behind the scenes, but it seemed everything came beautifully and organically. After college, you were a gallery intern, is that right?
Yes, and during college, I was also a gallery intern.
That’s where you drove 75 miles.
It’s true. Right after college, I got a job working at a gallery as a gallery assistant, a front desk girl in New York City.
Did you move from California to New York?
Was it a gallery that you already like?
No, I knew nothing about it, but I worked pretty hard during my senior year of college as a gallery intern, driving into LA from Claremont one day a week. I tried to make a good impression and be the best intern in the world.
Obviously, it worked.
It might have worked because then when I was ready to graduate, I asked the owner of that gallery if she had any leads for me for a gallery in New York and she made some calls and got me an interview. I moved to New York and then had that interview within a couple of days and got the job. It was such a good first job out of college because it was challenging and hard. It was very exciting to be in New York doing that job and very scary. I cried the first few days afterward and said, “There’s no way I can do this,” but it was great.
I read that you wore a lot of hats in that job. You did many things.
It was a small company. There were three people working there. I did everything like taking out the trash, answering the phones, emails, which was a whole different thing back then, it was more like faxes and running credit cards. I’ve always been pretty ambitious and looking to push myself. Very quickly I said, “I have an idea for a show I’d love to curate. Can I start writing these press releases?”
You were super proactive about that.
Where did you get that ambition?
I’ve always had it. I’ve always had big dreams and wanted to get out there and try new things and challenge myself.
I admire that. I also read that when you had your own jewelry line at ten that you custom-printed your cards. I feel like this is deep within you.
When I was maybe fourteen or fifteen, I was in a photography class in high school and I approached a local coffee shop and had an exhibition.
You had this entrepreneurial spirit, fierce and go-getter.
You are not afraid of no.
I’m happy to ask and then, whatever happens, that’s fine.
My brother is like this. He was talking about it in the context of girls because he always had the most amazing girlfriends. I’m like, “James, they’re always beautiful, accomplish and nice.” He approaches them. He fully does the work. I said, “Are you ever afraid they’re going to turn you down?” He’s like, “No means no today.” That is how he feels because I crumble in a pool of rejection.
I have to think about it and think about it until I can ask. It’s terrifying to me. Knowing this is very inspiring.
There are definitely moments when it’s harder or a little bit scarier, but overall I try not to think about it too much.
You’re like, “I have a great idea for a show that I would like to do,” and what was the response?
I don’t even remember, but it was yes and it was fun. It was my first foray into the exciting world of putting yourself out there.
Was it an artist or a photographer or painter?
After I got pretty good at writing the press releases, I started with that because that was definitely outside of my responsibilities. I had finished college where I was writing essays and loving it and I was missing it. I was in this exciting New York art world as a gallery assistant. I thought this would be a good way to show them that I’m very serious. I had this idea for a show, it was photographed by the photographer Berenice Abbott and it was all of her friends. She had photographed all of her friends in Paris and it was cool. We put it all together. It was called Berenice Abbott Circle. I remember it vividly. I was 21 years old.
Did your friends and family fly to New York to come to see this?
They didn’t, but I had a lot of friends there and I had some family there too. It wasn’t a giant success, but it was great and it was a big personal success. It was a passion project but I knew this wasn’t going to be the best art show of the year. It wasn’t going to get a New York Times review, but I was excited to dip my toe in and do something that I thought would be fun and exciting and a little bit outside of what I was supposed to be doing and seeing how it felt to curate a show.
How long were you at that job?
I was there the whole time I lived in New York. It’s for about two years.
You came back to LA and you were an assistant.Putting everything on Instagram can be beneficial for artists. Click To Tweet
I came back to LA and I was a little bit disillusioned with the art world, which was something that I went back and forth on for the entire time I worked in the art world.
Are you going to galleries the whole time and keeping up with the new artists, painters, photographers, all of those?
At that point, I was. I was looking for a job, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I was applying to everything, all jobs in art, fashion and also the film industry. I grew up in LA and I thought maybe I could be a producer, having no idea what that meant, but I think maybe I could. Maybe I could get a job as an assistant. I was applying for those jobs. In the meantime, I was interning at the Getty and that was a cool experience at the Getty Research Institute. I did that for a few months and then finally, I got a good job. It was as the executive assistant for a big-time film producer and businessman.
Was it hard?
It was hard.
I’ve done that job twice and it’s very difficult.
This guy was an older gentleman who was a self-made billionaire and a big businessman who was getting into this world.
Had he made any movie?
He’d made a couple of movies maybe fifteen years before. He was a serial bachelor who’s like 80 and he had married this woman who was about 55, so younger than him. She said, “Let’s move to LA. You should be a producer.” I worked for him. It brings up a lot, especially with the #MeToo situation, because he was a very old school type of person who was extremely inappropriate. That added this whole other layer to it, but I dealt with that in my own way. I always say it’s like The Devil Wears Prada because he has never heard the word no. He would say, “It’s 10:00 AM. I want a takeout from Spago.” I’m like, “I know they don’t open until noon. I know they don’t even do takeout at this point, but I will get you that salad right now.” I learned how to do every single thing in terms of work demands. I always feel like now that I have two daughters, I’m like, “It doesn’t matter what career you want to go into. Having at least a year where you have a demanding boss who is going to teach you that you can get anything accomplished, you can do it.” I still use those skills.
I feel that I do. I’ve been an assistant. I’ve been a waitress a lot. I’ve worked at the front desk at that time, a very fancy and elite private members club in London and dealing with difficult people. Those skills have served me well forever.
It’s a good foundation. I was an assistant too and I was bad at it, but those tools were good.
I was good at it. Now that I have my own business and it’s amazing overall, but there are moments when it gets hard, I’m like, “I should go back to being an assistant. I was the best assistant.”
You’re like, “I can do this. I know I can get this done.”
I use those almost what I would call “hospitality skills” with many of my customers when they’re shopping with me. They’re like, “We’re in from Ohio and we want to have a great day in LA. What should we do?” I’m like, “Let me make some calls. Let me get you in. Have you been to this restaurant?” I’m writing it out. I was a complete concierge.
Those skills have served me well and you as well, Mondi. It lends a certain amount of being able to deal with difficult personalities sometimes nowadays. If I had a nickel for every time some man was inappropriate back in the day, I would be so rich right now.
One of my bosses would come and rub my shoulder and I worked in a corporate setting. I wish I knew what to do back then. He’s like, “You’re so nervous.” It’s a good experience. Everyone should be an assistant to something.
To your point about your daughters, that’s true.
It sets you up.
You were his assistant while you worked for him, did he do a movie that you had to work on?
I was getting those Spago salads. He put several movies into development while I was there. It was a full-blown film production.
He didn’t just come and think, “I’ll think about this?”
No, he hired good people. It was a whole legit operation. Maybe there were 30 to 40 people who work there. There were a marketing department and development.
He did it right.
I think so. He did the job and again, mostly my experience was salads, but it served me because I turned out not to be going down the film producer route. I was going down the route of being able to get anything accomplished in my own entrepreneurial ventures.
That’s better than any degree I can think of.
It was valuable.
When did you decide that, “I’m good with this experience?”
I was there for about two years, then after a year and I was thinking, “What is next? This is not going to be my future.” I’m not going to be a professional assistant, even though sometimes I do daydream about it. I don’t think I’m going to go into this business. It didn’t feel right. During that period of time, I reconnected with my husband, then boyfriend and he was working at an art gallery.
Did you know him from college?
He was my first boyfriend in high school and then we lost touch for ten years.
How long did you date in high school?
I was fourteen and he was sixteen. We “dated” for two or three months. He dumped me and then we lost touch forever. We reconnected on Friendster and on the phone because back then people did speak on the phone.
Now, people do not know what is going on.
I feel like I call people all the time and they’re so confused.
People are like, “Are you okay?” I’m like, “I’m fine. I just thought we’d talk.”
I feel like my friends who I’m close with are totally down to chat with me, but we reconnected. He was working at an art gallery and our whole social life courtship was going to galleries and going to art shows. It re-engaged me in that art world, but also specifically the LA art scene.
What a coincidence that he’s also into art and galleries.
We met in that famed photography class in high school.
You didn’t go to the same college.
He went to Santa Cruz and he did study photography. That’s how we had connected. It’s funny because when we were teenagers, that was how we connected in this amazing photography class. It had a huge impact on both of our lives. We discovered we were living four doors down from each other in West Hollywood and we started going to all these art shows, including many galleries in Culver City, five minutes from where we are.
Culver City was up and coming at that point.
This was in 2005. There were a couple of great galleries. They are not that many but clearly, something was happening. Almost every Saturday night, that’s where we would go to see all of these different shows. We would also go downtown and to all these little spaces and we started meeting cool artists around LA. At one of the openings at Blum & Poe in Culver City, it still is pretty much the biggest gallery in Culver City. We were chatting and one of the owners said, “You should open a photography gallery here. There’s a space right down the street that’s cheap and I know the guy who’s trying to rent it and I’ll connect him to you.”
Did he hand the space to you?
Yes, he connected us with his friend and we had these artists who were showing stores. They weren’t in “serious art scene.” I had some ideas based on what I had experienced in New York, working at the gallery and going to galleries all the time. I thought, “We could create a cool space.” At that time, there was a lot of, “Let’s open a gallery and a coffee shop and have this and that.” I’m very into staying in our lane. Let’s open a gallery but make it not that type of gallery where you’re selling pieces of art that are $1 million, but something less but also not $500. Something in the middle for the young professional who wants to dip their toe into art collecting. I had no experience with the press and anything.
You knew how to write a press release.
That’s true but I had no experience with the LA art scene. I would go to the newsstand and look at all the art magazines, write down the names of the editors, send them things in the mail.The way to exist within the art business is by being aggressive. Click To Tweet
You’re resourceful and it doesn’t surprise me.
A lot of people ask me like, “You must have a lot of press contacts. Your family is in the art world.” I’m like, “Absolutely not.”
That’s good to know because art and wine to me usually mean you have connections, family pedigree in that department. More and more I’m learning. It’s the same with wine, you don’t need to do that anymore. You can make great wine and be a renegade newcomer, so I like that.
Although, one of the many reasons why I left the art world eventually is because there is a lot of truth to that. We had our gallery, Taylor De Cordoba. In a nutshell, the gallery we had from 2006 to 2013 was a hard business right off the bat. All the entrepreneurial drive in me started to see very quickly that this is a nonbusiness. There’s such a limit to how far we can go with this. Also, the world was changing. Social media was starting to take over, Instagram and all of that stuff. Everything shifted, media shifted, marketing shifted. The Idea of a gallery is almost like a middle man. I started to see this will probably become obsolete. It’s not obsolete now but you can be an artist and put everything on Instagram and sell all your stuff.
Was your husband on the same page with you at that time?
We couldn’t even put any of that into words. We were thinking like, “This is a crazy business. This is a weird business.” I don’t see an end in sight in terms of how we can grow it. Now, that I understand the nuts and bolts, I don’t know what the game plan is. We’re dealing with crazy artists who are very demanding and you’re building the career of an unknown artist. As soon as they get big because you guys have worked together, they leave you. You’re dealing with people in other galleries who are real snakes. It’s aggressive types of person.
Do they poach?
They poach, they lie and we’re not like that. I could never be like that. That’s the other thing I started realizing like, “I don’t exactly have the personality for this to play a ball.”
There are other businesses like that too. I feel like with actors, they start with a small agent who pushes for them and nurtures them. As soon as they get something big, a bigger agency swoops in with all the shiny everything.
I understand that, but the way for that to exist within that business is also to be aggressive. I knew I couldn’t do it. I struggled with this for many years because we were in it. It was such a part of our identity.
Did you say 2005 to 2013?
2006 to 2013.
That’s seven years. That was a good long time.
It’s how everyone started to know about us and me. People started to identify me with that. I felt I was going to lose my identity if we lost it. I also had worked so hard, we’d worked so hard and traveled all around the country doing art fairs. That’s another thing that started happening once we open the business. The whole gallery business model became very dependent on art fairs and that’s a different way of seeing art. You had to rent these booths for $10,000 to $20,000. It was crazy and it wasn’t for us.
It’s like, “We already rent a space, why we now have to rent a booth?”
How often did you have to do these art events?
Several times a year and it was never enough. The artists wanted us to do more. I also started not wanting to see art anymore. We became very bummed by the whole scene. I thought I’m not ready to let this go. I don’t have the courage, we need to keep doing this, but let me make it more interesting. Let me try to find a way to be more creatively stimulated by this and satisfied. We started things like a reading series called Eating Our Words, which I started with Gaby and that was amazing. We brought in all of these incredible writers and it was powerful. It felt like we were contributing to the community in such a great way.
I felt that in the two readings that I did go to.
I’m glad to know that and that is the feedback that I got and it’s how I felt too. I also started a blog around that time, LA in Bloom, which was right when blogging was starting. I got in at that perfect moment and when I started it, I thought, “This is going to be something that my mom and sister read.”
Was that in 2012?
No, it was much earlier. I don’t remember exactly when. I think it was 2008.
Your blog became successful.
I guess it did. I never thought about it as a business. It was a different time than it is now. It wasn’t about ad sales or anything like that for me, but it became something that people were very excited about. I would travel to San Francisco and somebody would come up to me and say, “I love your blog,” which shocked me. It happened perfectly because it made me think, “All the gravitational pull is going towards this blog or towards this other thing that I’m doing.” People don’t care about the gallery. The way I don’t care about this anymore and this is not the best use of my creative skills. People are much more interested in the blog.
It also seems that’s where your heart was too.
That’s probably why.
I feel like when food has a heart in it or anything that you’re doing, all your energy goes there and it’s what people are drawn to.
What started to happen was a lot of my readers were reaching out saying, “We wish you had a product. We wish you had something, a cookbook or something we could buy.”
You did a great cooking webisode.
Looking back, it’s hilarious but it was early. It was way before Goop was doing videos like that or anyone. It felt fresh and I took them very seriously. A friend who I met when I worked at the film production company, he was my partner then and helped me. He edited and shot them and he did such an amazing job cheering me on. I remember the first time we ever shot, I thought it was going to be great and easy and I was speechless, stunned, stomach ache. I couldn’t speak and we had to work through it. That was also humbling and awesome too. It set me up for dealing with public speaking and new growth and that was so satisfying and fun. People were like, “You need a cooking show.”
Gaby, who’s a phenomenal cook, told me to watch your cooking webisodes. She was like, “This is the best thing I’ve ever seen.”
Something so cute that I think about as the mom of two girls is a lot of people would say, “My kid loves it. They love watching it. They find it soothing.”
That’s the best compliment.
All of my heart started going in that direction and I realized I’m very into being nimble and listening to people. I’m not the kind of business person who’s like, “We only do blue and white or whatever it is.” That’s all we’re going to do.
Those businesses tend to fail. The people who aren’t nimble and who aren’t ready to change with how everything constantly changes.
That’s what I experienced with my artists a lot. People aren’t into these giant sculptures of whatever. They’d say, “That’s all I’m going to do.” I’m like, “Be prepared for them to sell.” Lo and behold, when none did, they were heartbroken. For me, that doesn’t make any sense. I’m listening to the people. People want to buy something from me. Amazingly, some of those readers translate into gallery customers, but very few, like under five. We’re selling very expensive pieces of art, so that’s a whole different type of person. Also, I started to think “I don’t want to sell expensive things.” I want to sell less expensive things that most people can buy and do all the work once. Photograph it once and then sell it like a million times. I don’t want these purchases to be so emotional. I thought, “What could I make?” Maybe I don’t think I’m going to do a cookbook. That sounds a little bit crazy, but at that time I was taking a weaving class at Barnsdall Park and I was weaving table runners. As a person who loves to entertain, I had felt there weren’t good table linens that matched my vibe.
It seems like it’s all coming together.
I’ve gone through a lot of crying and confusing, but it did come together. I started to think there’s a hole in the market here. There are amazing ceramics out there that are totally the aesthetic of my friends and me. For linens, there’s no place to go. I was having a dinner party and I was like, “I guess I’ll go to Jonathan Adler.” That feels so weird.
You’re not even happy with the purchase.
There were a few good things, but it all felt trendy and I thought, “This is it.” I actually need it. I know how to do this because I’m weaving these things myself, so I understand the language.
I love that you have the epiphany in a weaving class that you’re taking at Barnsdall Park.
I was probably tuning in to a podcast. That’s what I would do. I would weave and listen to fresh air.
What year are we in?
It was in 2012 when I first came up with it and then I chatted with my good friend, Joanna Williams, who’s a creative consultant. She has this incredible textile studio where she will work with everyone from Anthropologie to Ralph Lauren to Ulla Johnson, little designers, giant designers. She helps inspire them and sells them these textiles and it’s incredible. She has a design studio for designers and she’s a great friend of mine. I told her my idea and she was such a cheerleader early on. We went to Mexico together. We started hatching plans for each other, but that was the plan that we were hatching for me. I then went on this big journey trying to find production, which I knew was going to be a hard part. It took me a while to figure it out.
We started producing in India, which I did not want to do because I’m a homebody and I’m not the kind of person who’s going to go to India a few times a year. Alex, my husband and I had been traveling to Mexico for years. We loved it. I’m like, “If we can produce in Mexico, which is a place where people still make things by hand, this will work.” Because we go there, we love going there. It works with our lifestyle. It’s very close. I couldn’t figure out the Mexico thing and I knew I wanted to start right away. I started with India and one of my big things is, “Better good today then great tomorrow.”
That’s a good one because it keeps you moving forward.
I feel that you can live by that, Jenny.The success that you can get from Instagram can be mind-blowing. Click To Tweet
I do feel like we have to move forward.
I started and then while we were working with the people in India, I was still going down to Mexico trying to figure it out and through a bunch of different meetings, connections and everything, I finally found the people who we are working with in Chiapas, Mexico.
You took us in on Instagram. I loved seeing that.
Alex and I went down to Chiapas for the first time in a few years because I’ve been pregnant or having little kids for four years. It’s a real Zika hotbed down there, so I had to stay away. Thankfully with Skype and all of those modern technologies, we’re able to stay in touch with the people who work with us there. It was okay that we weren’t going, but we knew we want to touch base with these people who work so hard to make our linens and check in. It was such a great experience. It was the first time that I’ve opened it up on Instagram and I went on a tour and showed everybody how these things are made. A lot of people were like, “Are you kidding me? I had no idea that this was made on a loom by hand.” Even though we’re totally open about it. Some people, if they don’t know what that means, it goes right over.
Seeing the artisanship, the hard work and the actual people.
For me, seeing that you have a connection with them, the owner, made me love your work so much more. It made me respect you. It’s a very important series that you did.
It was incredible for us to see the people who make it and to meet their families and to learn. There’s a waiting list to get these jobs in this town. Alex and I were in tears.
I would have been crying at that.
Even though as you guys can tell, I’m very motivated. It motivated me on a whole other level and like, “I want to continue to create more jobs for these people. I want all these people to have work. We’ve got to sell.” I felt a real responsibility.
This is how Heather Taylor Home is born.
I did launch Heather Taylor Home. A friend of mine who is an editor at Sunset. I’d met her on the shoot. She said, “I want to do this story in Los Angeles. I need a linen designer. Do you have any ideas?” I said, “I am launching this company and tell me when the shoot is. I will launch it by then.” That is what pushed me to launch.
She was like, “I’m doing a shoot, this is what I need.” You’re like, “I will have my company ready.”
How much time did you have?
A couple of months. We were there working hard doing this art fair. At night we were working our butts off on this website to launch in time when this magazine was going to come out. It was crazy.
You had three months roughly?
Yes, it was quick. We did the shoot and I had to have samples ready by then and then I know the magazine would come out approximately three months later.
That’s probably the best push you could ever ask for.
Being under that pressure, under the gun like that and to have a real date like, “This needs to be ready by this date.” I do think that helps to get things accomplished.
I’m also into the idea that they’re like, “Can you do 100 napkins by this date?” I’m like, “Sure, we’ll get that done.” Even if you’re like, “I have no idea how to do that.” Just get it done. Fake it until you make it. That was the true launch of Heather Taylor Home.
What year was that?
It was in November 2013.
That’s when I got married.
We launched with a few items, a couple of napkins and a couple of runners. I wasn’t 100% about the designs, but I’m like, “This is good for now and let’s just continue to build and grow.” That’s what we did. I had many great friends who helped me along the way. My friend, Gina, was an incredible photographer and she’s an artist that represented the gallery. She was happy to collaborate and she did all my photographs for free in the beginning.
Do you and your husband run the business together?
That was always my little side hustle.
Now, you do this together. It’s grown and grown and here we are, 2019. You have a brick and mortar shop in Westwood.
That’s another one. I fell into our lap and we started it as a pop-up holiday shop because I feel during that holiday season, I am a traveling saleswoman. The trunk of my car is always filled. I’m going to our VIP’s houses and helping them with their tables. We should have a little shop and this beautiful space became available to us. At the end of the year, we’re like, “Maybe we should just continue here for a little bit longer. We’re still there. I don’t know how much longer we’ll be there. We might be there for a long time, we might not. There are other spaces that we’ve been looking at and we’ll see. It’s been great to have an actual space where people can come. Just like the nuts and bolts of Heather Taylor Home, we have home goods specifically table linens. Everything is handwoven in Chiapas, Mexico. We wholesale. We sell to a very small group of stores that I love all over the world, but not a lot. It’s not a big focus. It’s more a marketing thing for me. I’m like, “It’s great to be associated with these trends.”
Especially if your store is far so away, how would they be able to come to you?
It’s a great way for people to know about us.
You have partnerships too with other brands?
We’ll do collaborations for sure. We did a cute collab with my friend, Clare V, which was awesome. She’s also been supportive.
Your tablescapes are pretty magnificent. They’re like tablescape church. With your VIP clients, are they like, “We’re having an event, will you help us?” Do you help design it?
If they want me to because I can’t stop myself. I’m so into it. It’s not that I need to, but if they want me to, I can’t stop myself from chatting with them about the flowers and the plates. That is something I’ve always loved to do.
It sets the tone for the events.Better good today than great tomorrow. Click To Tweet
When things were rock and rolling, we were wholesaling but mostly direct to consumer on our website and at events. My friend, Crystal, was getting married and she said, “I wish I could buy 200 of your napkins for my wedding.” I’m like, “I should offer them for rent.” That’s the biggest part of our business. Every single month it’s growing so rapidly.
How does that work with stains?
That I always knew would be the biggest hurdle. In the beginning, I’m like, “I’m going to start with my dry cleaner and he’s going to clean what he can. Let’s see what happens.” If we lose this many, we’ll still make enough money where this makes sense or profits will be good enough. We are still working with him, but he has fine-tuned his skills. He gets our products and we have such a collaborative relationship.
There are magical dry cleaners and maybe he’s one of them.
He’s been doing this for 30 years. I love that he feels he’s part of our family business.
There was a story about a little boy in World War II and he started and he worked under a person who cleaned fancy clothes and knew how to get stains out of every single thing. When the French resistance came into Paris, he helped make the new passports for all these kids and he could stay in the pages. He could make anything look completely authentic. He was a magician with this stuff. Mondi, I feel like you have some great questions for Heather.
We spoke a little bit about Instagram, social media and how that’s made a huge impact on marketing and ad sales and everything. Do you have a love-hate relationship with social media? It has given businesses a direct and constant line to their consumers so it’s great in that sense. Do you ever feel it’s the window of what they can see is too much? I know you also open up your life and your family to that world. Do you ever feel you need to protect them?
I have a very love-hate relationship with it and this is the thing that I talk about all the time with my friends, with my other friends who own businesses. It’s a big dinner party topic for me. It feels the Wild Wild West and we have no idea what we’re doing with all this. Many of us, I feel addicted to it. That’s my main love-hate with it. I wish I could delete that app.
Even as a local business owner?
No, I have to.
The business owner in you can’t.
The successes that we consistently get for Instagram continue to blow my mind. Everything from people buying immediately or learning about our brand and becoming lifelong fans or I’ll have a big company reach out to me and want to meet with me next time I’m in New York and I say, “How’d you find me?” They say Instagram. It’s pretty constant, and those are just a few examples. There are many more. I understand how powerful it is, but in so many ways it feels like it’s taking over. I’m cautious about how I open up my life. I feel I’m not one of those super vulnerable people on there. I for sure have walls up and I’m not doing a lot of talking to the camera like me and my kids hanging out. Based on what I was doing when I had LA in Bloom this feels a continuation of that where I am opening up but in a limited way.
I feel like you seem very boundaried in a good way on Instagram.
I hope so. I fear that I’m boundaried too much. People want this open candor but I’m not interested in that. When I’m having a problem, I want to call my sister and my friends. If it’s a big problem, maybe my therapist. I’m not going to talk about that stuff on Instagram. It’s a no for me. I have such love-hate with it. I could talk about that for an hour.
In terms of the community though, that has been formed by social media. That positivity that it has created in terms of change in this day and age. Can you share your own experience with that?
For everything bad that I was saying about it, there’s such a flip side, which is probably the whole story with technology. The fact that there’s a small group of people who are watching what I’m doing and are interested and will ask me to follow up questions and perhaps be moved to act, that’s exciting. Right before the midterm elections, Alex and I took some days off when we were canvassing for Katie Hill and knocking on doors, which is something that sounded scary. It sounds scary to a lot of people Like, “What are you going to confront?” We did this and I was like, “This is all I am going to be putting on Instagram for the next few days.” People were like, “How can I do this? Where can I go? Is it scary? Were people mean?” I’m like, “DM me, call me if you want to talk about it more. Meet me out in Lancaster. Let’s do this. We’ll be there at 11:00.” There’s nothing more important to me than that and getting people to vote.
Using the power that your platform has in that way is amazing and wonderful. I don’t necessarily want to hear from business people some things super personal about some awful thing that’s going on, but that I want to hear about.
You seem very open to people Like, “Reach out to me if you want to learn more about this organization or this charity.”
I do that all the time. Any charity that I’m involved with or when we were doing canvassing, I’m like, “DM me. Let’s talk. I’d love to tell you more about this or I’d love to tell you why you should vote for Katie Hill.” It’s a tricky thing and a lot of my friends who are also business owners talk about this. How are you supposed to put your political views out there without alienating people? There are no rules and it’s too important. The stakes are way too high. I don’t know if that’s exactly how I was supposed to answer that question. The other part of this, which is also valuable, is having a community of business people on Instagram is also great. Only women for me. All the people in my life, we all pretty much own our businesses and are working hard. A lot of us are young moms. Not all but we’re all doing it together and seeing the other people who are hustling and you’re clearly doing it. You see it on Instagram, people all over the country who I don’t know, but I have these relationships with from the blog or from social media. It’s powerful. It makes you feel like you’re not alone because it can be very alienating to be building this business.
It’s inspiring. For Jenny and I, we talk about it to see women like yourself and the community of women that you have as friends support each other and building through your business as we are trying to build ours.
It’s a very supportive community. I think it’s a real LA thing. Maybe I’m wrong but this is my experience.
I see some of the people that look like you’re friends with online and they’re all so artistic. I love the work that I see going on with jewelry and Echo Park Craft Fair and clothing. You guys are making the world a lot more beautiful.
It’s supportive. It’s not driven by this big competition. That’s been helpful.
Heather, we have to let you go.
Thank you. This has been so fun.
Thank you so much, Heather Taylor Home.
Thank you for having me.
Thank you for coming here. Heather Taylor Home, her linens are so special.
Go shop at her store in Westwood. It’s gorgeous.
Thank you, Heather.
- Heather Taylor
- Heather Taylor Home
- Getty Research Institute
- Eating Our Words
- Taylor De Cordoba
- LA in Bloom
- Echo Park Craft Fair
About Heather Taylor
Heather Taylor Home is a line of home goods and textiles launched by Los Angeles-based Heather Taylor in 2013. Inspired by her love of travel and eclectic entertaining style, the HTH collection is stocked at numerous trendsetting retailers including Nickey Kehoe, John Derian, Cutter Brooks and Le Bon Marche. In Fall of 2018, HTH opened a brick and mortar shop, in a 1931 building in the middle of Los Angeles. In addition to linens available for purchase, the collection is also available for event rentals and is widely used to celebrate life’s most exciting milestones – weddings, baby showers, 1st birthday parties and 50th birthday parties, among other celebrations.
Heather Taylor Home has been featured in publications including Vogue, The New York Times, House Beautiful and Domino among others. The collection is designed in Los Angeles and handcrafted by artisans in Chiapas, Mexico.