Isabella Rose Taylor is one of the fashion world’s youngest—and smartest—designers.
Despite decades of “age is just a number” declarations, age has an enormous impact on how much people of certain generations can contribute to society and the economy.
That tide is slowly shifting, allowing the freshest of faces to break into business and command attention before it’s even legal for them to buy cigarettes or lottery tickets.
“Society places so many boundaries on young people,” shared Isabella Rose Taylor, the 15-year-old fashion designer. “But success is happening a lot more for our generation. I am lucky to have parents that allowed me to do things outside the norm and break some of those boundaries.”
That freedom—as well as her incredible drive and an endless well of creativity— allowed Taylor to become a featured designer at New York Fashion Week at the age of 13, and one of the youngest designers ever to have a collection sold by a major retailer.
Like most extraordinary journeys, hers started way before fame hit. Taylor’s creativity manifested early: she began painting at age three, sewing in elementary school, and designing clothes by age eight.
“I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about creative things. It’s a joy that has been constant throughout my life.
“Fashion has such a strong connection to painting: clothes are wearable art. It’s something creative I can include in people’s everyday lives and is more personal in a way.”
She’s a qualified member of Mensa and a Davidson Young Scholar for the Profoundly Gifted. After a short stint at Austin Community College’s design program, today she’s a student at Parsons School of Design in New York.
Extraordinary is a fairly accurate term to describe her and her work, but it doesn’t define her. From founding her fashion brand and graduating high school—both done the same year she turned 11—to encouraging the Gen Z through TEDxHollywood and TEDxJanPath in New Delhi, it seems Taylor hasn’t lost her youthful exuberance for experiencing everything life has to offer her.
That’s part of the reason why Nordstrom was interested in her line in the first place: she’s a teenager designing for other teenagers.
She is, however, far better versed on business strategies, supply chains, branding, and other mechanisms of business than your average teenager.
Just this year, Austin A-List awards honored Taylor as its entrepreneurial rising star. She also showcased her 2016 fall line at Austin Fashion Week back in April. What’s next on her list? Increasing brand awareness and sales, collaborating with other brands, and expanding to more retailers.
Like Taylor said, a person should not be defined by his or her age or the boundaries they may find themselves against as an entrepreneur. Her youth has undoubtedly given her a unique perspective towards business, but companies like Isabella Rose Taylor are not created in a vacuum.
Read on to discover a few of the lessons Taylor has learned from being a young entrepreneur.
On Creating Your Business Identity
“In the beginning, things were happening very organically for our line,” she said, “but for a business to mature and grow it needs some sort of planning and structure. We had to determine what the brand was, and also what it wasn’t. Once we established our identity through branding, we were able to establish a stronger foundation for growth.”
On Finding a Mentor
“I’ve worked with so many different mentors, all to the benefit of my understanding of business and of my line. If you are searching for mentors or for team members at your business, surround yourself with people who are smarter than yourself, and whom you admire and want to emulate. When you do this, you’ve created a support system and your passion will be even more evident.”
“It’s never the perfect time to start a new company. It may sound weird, but practice dreaming. Then pursue what you’re passionate about. I learn something new every day. Accept that you will make mistakes along the way, and never stop learning. Just begin.”