Rebecca Taylor is a well-known name when it comes to outfitting modern women. Her refined, feminine designs are found in boutiques and department stores worldwide and regularly worn by It girls like Alexa Chung and Kate Middleton. But long before she had a flagship on Madison Avenue, Taylor arrived in New York all the way from her native New Zealand with little more than hopes of being a designer.
Taylor attributes much of her success to the blind optimism that accompanied her to New York back in her twenties. Not long after arriving she decided to launch her namesake label with a business partner, and the two did everything from sales to shipping themselves. More than 15 years later, that namesake label is as well known as the famous fans who wear it. Hot on the heels of her Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Fall 2013 collection, we caught up with Taylor eager to find out how a girl from across the world (literally) ended up building a multi-million dollar business here in New York. Here’s what we learned…
What was your relationship like with fashion growing up?
I always had an interest in sewing, my mom sewed our clothes for us growing up, so that sparked an interest in clothing design for me.
Tell us about what brought you to New York all the way from New Zealand.
I was really young and green. I was actually on my way to Paris, but fell in love with the energy in New York and decided to stay. I came with my boyfriend who was working in the industry and he got me a job freelancing at a label.
What made you decide to launch your own label?
I met my business partner Beth at a label where we were both working at time, and she encouraged me to pursue my dream. The timing just felt right. I was in my twenties at the time, and probably didn’t realize the challenges of running your own business, but I also think that blind optimism worked in my favor.
What were some of the early obstacles early on?
Well, Beth and I did all the packing, shipping, production, merchandising, sales–pretty much everything in the beginning. So it was tough, but we really enjoyed it, and I guess it paid off in the end. We have been really lucky and feel grateful to have arrived where we are.
What is the ethos of the brand?
Creating clothing for the modern, feminine woman.
What has been your ‘I’ve made it’ moment?
I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of those moments over the years, but being nominated for the CFDA Perry Ellis Awards for Emerging New Talent was a really great moment for me in my career. Also, seeing Kate Middleton in one of my designs was sort of a dream come true as I’m a huge fan.