By Lisa Brown | Courtesy Photos
The definition of creative is as follows; one who displays productive originality. Taylor Thomas fits the description to a T, or better yet, T-shirt, like the ones that she designs and sells on her Live to Love Apparel website.
By day she works as a psychotherapist, but during after hours and weekends, she is the owner of her own faith-based clothing company. A Longview native, Taylor graduated from Springhill High School in 2005, and at the ripe old age of 25, it’s clear to see that Ms. Taylor will forge whichever path she chooses and become quite successful at it. Case in point: her clothing company, Live to Love Apparel. She first thought about creating her own designer shirts during her college days at Baylor University.
Taylor couldn’t understand why others would want to represent themselves in a way that she thought should be censored.
“It weighed heavy on my heart. I felt that I could make a positive impact on our youth, but didn’t know how to go about it,” She says. Her final year at Baylor, taking on a 17-hour course load so that she could graduate a semester early, she summoned the motivation to make an idea she had thought of, a reality. She bought $75 worth of Hanes v-necks and had them screen-printed with a logo she had created. She christened her company, Live to Love Apparel, after many hours trying to come up with a name that also conveyed a message.
“I’ve always been the creative sort, so I had this idea to make every shirt unique, to hand dye them, and so that’s what I did,” Taylor says.
She was blessed with a group of friends in the music industry who agreed to be the models for her first designs, and that in turn enabled her to get the word out.
“People began to buy my shirts and were receptive to the positive message I was trying to share,” she says. “Here I am, nearly four years later, and I ship to over 40 countries.”
She finds enjoyment in spreading a positive message, and the fact that she gets to spread the message all over the world is “really incredible.”
“I’ve gotten to meet people online and in life that I wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise, and to hear how Live to Love Apparel has impacted them is such a great gift,” Taylor says.
Taylor says she has always had entrepreneurial leanings.
“I remember being around 6 or 8 and making very intricate beaded rings, bracelets and necklaces. My sister and I made it a ‘business’ that we called Ash-Tay Jewelry, and we would sell it to our friends,” she describes.
Even at a young age she took the business seriously and laughs now at the memory of her and her sister approaching the business so professionally.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial-type mind set, never thinking something is out of reach, working hard for the things I want to achieve,” she says.
Taylor advises that starting a business is not for the weary.
“I went from never having a job, to owning and running my own business. It takes passion, drive and a lot of hard work,” she says.
Functioning as a one-women show, she also packages and ships out every single order. She promotes, advertises, arranges for studio shots for the website and does myriad other things it takes to keep things running in addition to her full-time job in Tyler.
A favorite quote provides insight into Taylor’s work ethic, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Her favorite Bible verse, and the inspiration that pretty much started everything, conveys this young entrepreneur’s character: Do everything in love 1 Corinthians 16:14.
“It’s the basis of how I strive to live my life. I still feel blessed every day when someone chooses to support Live to Love Apparel, and I don’t take a single day for granted,” she says.
From Longview to Tyler to making an impact in the world, Taylor wears her accomplishments quite well.