In the last few years, Stephanie Taylor’s handbags have been written up in everything from the Dallas Morning News to Lucky magazine. Taylor, 33, and her husband, Michael, moved to Lakewood two years ago and have since had their first child, daughter Cameron, now 7 months. Cameron’s arrival meant that Taylor, who since starting Taylor Bags in 1999 had been working a day job for a large accounting and consulting firm, was finally able to “hang up the corporate hat to be a mom.” But she also plans to put more energy into her bags — that should be good news to the leagues of Dallas women who swear by them. “It’s been so much fun creating them,” Taylor says of her collection. “It’s truly a passion for me.”
Tell me how you got into designing handbags?
Accessories have always been my first love over clothes. I’ve bought many, many purses through the years. I especially bought a lot of different bags that would be functional for my career. Then, four or five years ago, I got tired of the bags I was lugging to work and starting sketching what I would want in a functional tote bag. That turned into my Austin tote bag, which was the first to launch.
So how did you know what you were doing?
There’s fashion in my family. My mother taught modeling and charm school for several years. She also had the three of us kids, and we did some modeling when we were much younger. And my father studied architecture, so sketching and drawing and all of that were kind of natural.
Tell me about the bags.
The marketing slogan is “fashion plus function.” I try to keep each design clean — clean lines, classic look, timeless. And the inside of each handbag is just extreme function, so they all have multiple pockets. The trendy part for me is incorporating great color and texture. For instance, orange is in, so you’ll see some orange bags this summer. And for fall, I’ve got great wool fabrics mixed with Italian leather. And I’ll be bringing in a lot of what’s called in the business “juicy” colors.
Any recognizable names who own a Taylor Bag?
Brooke Shields was given my suede tote bag in apple green. I was contacted by a company in California that was putting together a huge baby package when her daughter was born. She sent me a nice handwritten “thank you” note. Let’s see … Katie Couric also. And locally, Stephanie Anne, a baby store, had asked for one of the totes for a package for Angie Harmon.
What’s in the future for Taylor Bags?
I’m focusing on more marketing and PR. I want to make people more aware of what we’re about. I also just designed a mommy bag called the Cameron, after my daughter. That will join the permanent collection. And we’re working on a men’s bag as well as some accessories for all the pockets on the inside of the bags — pouches for cosmetics, small wallets, that kind of thing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think just how supportive Lakewood has been for me as a woman-owned business and start-up business. So many women carry my handbags, and Elizabeth [Mast, owner of Talulah Belle boutique] has been incredibly supportive. All the little connections of Lakewood have been very special for me, and I don’t forget those kinds of things. That’s why we’re here and will raise our kids here.
Taylor Bags range from $110-$325 and are available locally at Talulah Belle, 2017 Abrams. For information, visit taylorbags.com.
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