We had the good fortune of connecting with Taylor Ooley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taylor, what do you want people to remember about you?
The sustainability and zero waste world can be aggressive at times. There is a lot of shame that is given out for people not trying hard enough or not succeeding in the unrealistic standards of a “zero waste” life. When I first started Totally Taylored and had to go out into the world to sell my zero waste products, I found that so many people weren’t interested in what I had to sell because they weren’t a zero-waste household. It took me by surprise at first, and then immediately altered into action. I realized that I have the ability to be a light in the zero waste movement that is not judgemental or shameful towards others. Instead, I work to create a space that is forgiving and encouraging. I never shame anyone into using my products to be environmentally conscious because it is not my place to do so. I want people to remember the feeling of being met where they are in their journey and given information that could help them create a more sustainable lifestyle. I hope that people can have this experience and even apply it to their own lives and show more compassion and acceptance for wherever someone is in their journey.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Totally Taylored is unlike most businesses I’ve seen! My business is completely focused on sustainability and all of my products are made from second-hand fabrics. My scraps are minimal because as I saw my waste, I created them into new products. Now I can use even the smallest pieces to make reusable cotton rounds! And those even smaller pieces get used to tie up some of my products. It was definitely easy to get started but has been a rocky road coming. It was 2019 when I first began my entrepreneurial journey. I had visited with my mom and she was given a ton of fabric from a friend but wasn’t sure what to do with it and had planned to put it in the trash. It took me totally by surprise and felt like a huge waste of textiles! It was right then that I asked her to teach me to sew so that I could make this fabric into reusable grocery totes. The next week she found a second-hand sewing machine for $20 and brought it up to my apartment to help me learn the basics. It was love at first sight and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I want the world to know that it doesn’t take bells and whistles to get started. I started my business in a one-bedroom apartment at my desk and now occupy a small warehouse! If your heart is in something then you have to see it through.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Athens and there isn’t a dull part of the town! I absolutely love my neighborhood of Five Points but never forget to swing by Downtown and Normal Town! I love spending my Saturday morning at the Athen’s Farmers Market and getting a sourdough cinnamon roll from Eno’s Baked (seriously, they are THE best). During the weekend evenings, my partner and I love to grab drinks at the Expat because they have the best french fries in town and I love their Corpse Reviver #2! During the day you can find some of the best thrifting at Dynamite while shopping other small businesses at Community and around the Broad Street area. Lastly, Sundays are best spent walking around the Five Points neighborhood and enjoying a biscuit from the Farm Cart. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people I could sit here and list for this shoutout but there are two imparticular that I’d like to share. First, Michael Meyers at the SBDC location in Athens. If it wasn’t for the Small Business Development Center, I d not know if my business would be here today. They offer amazing help at no cost and get you totally set up as a new business. I learned so much through working with Michael Meyers and that has helped my business be what it is today. Second, I’d like to shoutout Austin Stubbs who owns Whiskey Stitched. He gave me access to my first industrial machine and has taught me everything I know about the background of sewing. I wouldn’t have my machines if it wasn’t for him and his patience to share his knowledge!