Next up on Someone Social – content creator, Taylor St. Claire, aka Tayst. Illustrator extraordinaire, Taylor is is the mastermind behind creating customizable and personable illustrations that add a new dimension to your photos. She has curated the perfect Instagram, worked with some of your favorite brands, and is only just getting started. Read below to learn more about this month’s Someone Social.
Q: Tell us about the start of Tayst – who were some of your first clients, what was your schedule like, how did you decide your branding/style, etc.?
My designs started to take off right around Coachella two years ago when I posted a collage and illustration for a Wildfox Instagram competition. Ever since winning and the reposts, business has been nonstop. Some of the very first clients I can remember are Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat, Francesca Aiello from Frankies Bikinis, and then Wildfox. Since I started posting my work at the end of my senior year of college, my schedule was crazy hectic. I had to balance a good work, school, social life, and at times had to choose work over social functions. It was a bummer at the time but has totally paid off in the long run. When I had originally posted, I had no intention of turning my account into a business platform, but as more and more companies reached out, I stuck with it. One thing that was really important to me when branding myself was to stay true to who I was and the things that I loved. That meant turning down loads of paid sponsorship opportunities because I didn’t want to promote something I wouldn’t buy or actually use, (i.e. all of those ridiculous teas). It worked out, because I now work with brands that I have loved and looked up to for years.
Q: When did you realize this was something you could translate into a business and what were your first steps when transitioning into a business?
When I started to get big name accounts and brands reaching out to ask me to do some branding or illustration work for them, I knew this was the start of something big. While I had no professional experience of running my own company at the time, I put in the long hours to create unique artwork while also learning how to run a business. I knew I needed to ditch my personal email and create a new work email for two reasons: to look professional and to stay organized with each of my projects. Creating a website to showcase my work and the services that I offer was huge too so that future clients could book me for projects. I had always loved messing around with website design, as I was a Digital Art major in college, so those skills definitely helped me out. Branding myself and creating business cards, and mini portfolio books to send out and bring to events helped me out tremendously.
Q: What’s one of the hardest things about running your own online company?
While there are loads of perks to running my own business, it is a lot of hard work. I do everything on my own as far as scheduling content on my social platforms, and creating content for others, to behind-the-scenes business projects. Since I work and post online, it is hard to really create a set day for my business hours, as people expect me to be responding to them at 1 am when they see I have just “liked” an Instagram post. Also, running a company using social media as a main platform is incredibly tricky because everyday is new. Since the world of social media is always updating, I am having to stay on top of the hottest trends, and be able to create high quality content to engage users on all platforms.
Q: Social media can be used for both business and pleasure, as we’ve seen through the growth and success of your company. Do you believe the two should be kept completely separate? What is your best advice for managing the two different lenses?
I think that there is a fine line between the two. For my brand, since I have always kind of shown a glimpse into my life, people kind of expect it now. I think it is important to give a personal flare to your instagram account, as no one wants to follow a boring business-only account. I’ve learned that people are interested in the brands I wear, the places I travel to, the restaurants I eat at, and the events that I go to. I know now to create fun content while getting my message across whatever that may be, but to never overpost as it may come across as bragging. I also know that since I have loads of people that I look up to following me, that I have to remain professional in what I post. However, it is also important to me to be able to have a personal account where I don’t have to worry about having the “perfect Instagram grid” and where I can truly be myself and goof off with friends. My Tayst account needs to be fun, but business professional, whereas my personal is a bit more private for close family and friends.
Q: When you run an online brand, your voice is very important. We’ve seen a lot of discussion about the importance of staying true to your voice when taking on new clients/projects/sponsored content. How do you decide what fits the Tayst brand voice?
This is super important to me when creating content, because I feel like once I lose my voice, there’s really no point in continuing to post. Everything that I post is 100% me and what I love and believe in. I work with companies that I respect and would support with or without my business platform. If you take up a sponsored post just because you think it may look cool to #ad #sponsoredpost you are doing it all wrong. This cheapens your brand, and how can your followers trust your recommendations/figure out when to really pay attention to something you are 100% passionate about?
Q: If you could ‘gram from anywhere right now where would it be?
It’s currently pouring rain, so right now I am in the mood for bikini weather. If I could Instagram from anywhere, it’d be in the South of France, lounging by the ocean eating truffle pizza and drinking rosé.
Favorite Instagram account?
Too hard to pick just one, so here are a couple of my favs –
@stephanielavaggi for design, travel and color inspo.
@joellehyman for the best beauty and makeup recommendations.
@lafemmecollective for kick ass female empowerment.
Favorite LA destination to snag a good picture?
Malibu Farm Cafe overlooking the ocean with a bottle of rose lemonade.
Best app (minus Instagram of course)?
Snapchat – I’m dying to get my hands on a pair of the Spectacles so I can film myself drawing and creating my work, and Pinterest – anytime I am bored, I can scroll for hours pinning away cool design ideas.
Interview by our Digital Specialist, Nora Henick.
So, are you totally in love with Tayst? Tweet us @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.