Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Dunworth.
Hi Taylor, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In 2015, I purchased a sewing machine in hopes of reviving some of my favorite memories of making pillows, cutting out quilt squares, and learning how to use a sewing machine with my grandmother. Of course, it arrived, I was intimidated, and it sat in its box, unopened with the packing tape not even sliced open for 4 more years.
In 2019, I decided to start searching for a creative outlet beyond my full-time job working in tech as a developer. Tech jobs can be heavy left-brain, technical/analytical work, and I’ve always needed that creative, artistic side mixed in too.
That type of job can be extremely demanding, so I was also trying to find ways to take shortcuts in my everyday routines. One of those areas, I wanted to address was my morning routine of getting ready – makeup, hair, outfits, etc. I was asking myself, “how do I still look put together without spending 45 minutes on the process?”
One of the solutions I found was headbands. I probably bought up every headband I could in the Tampa Bay area, and while I loved the way they looked, I could hardly keep any of them on for more than an hour because of headaches. I’m also heavily migraine-prone, so the odds were kind of stacked against me from the start. Ultimately though, I thought, “it’s time to open up that box and learn how to sew.”
I started experimenting with different types of fabrics, stitches, padding inserts, and assembly methods to perfect my favorite hair accessory with a focus on making it comfortable enough for all-day wear.
Soon enough, I learned that so many other women were running into the same issue – cute headbands but awful headaches. Friends were asking me to make headbands in their favorite fabric prints, and after a while, I decided to open it up to everyone by starting an Etsy shop.
Since then, I’ve expanded my product line to include scrunchies and embroidered hats – all of which are made by me in St. Pete. My business has grown to include wholesale, brand collaborations, in-person markets, and my own hosted online shop.
My pieces can be found locally in boutiques in the Tampa Bay area and in boutiques throughout the United States. Most recently, I’ve been working with the brand Duffield Lane to make my hair accessories with the fabrics they use for all of their apparel.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh my goodness, the struggles! I think any small business owner, especially those who are doing the majority of the work themselves, would have that exact same response.
Right now, this isn’t my full-time commitment, and I still have a full-time role with a tech company as I work to expand this venture even further. Trying to find the balance to do both is still a struggle for me as there are only so many hours in the day.
I’m beyond fortunate to have friends and family who are always willing to step in and offer their helping hands when needed, but, at the end of the day, this is my business and my dream – I have to be the one to put in the work to make it grow.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Tay Dunworth?
Tay Dunworth is a handmade women’s accessory and style shop specializing in headbands and scrunchies. Each piece is carefully curated and made by the shop owner, Taylor Dunworth, in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida.
The process for each accessory starts with the selection of premium fabrics in modern, unique designs, continues on to the careful crafting of each piece by hand and sewing machine, and ends with a high-quality accessory that adds something extra-special to your own personal style.
Knotted headbands are the most well-known piece from my product line, and, while the price tag is a little steeper than the headbands you could find at bargain department stores, there’s a big difference between what you’ll find there and the headbands from Tay Dunworth.
With most knotted headbands, you’ll find that they’re fabric just glued to a headband. No extra padding for comfort and no real quality in the construction. With a Tay Dunworth knotted headband, the fabric encloses all sides of the headband, so the actual inner headband is never directly touching your head.
It’s a completely sewn product with no glue or adhesives holding the headband together.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
If you really love what you’re doing, it’s worth finding ways to push through the inevitable roadblocks you’ll come to as you’re starting out.
Having a “why” for why you started your business is always helpful to look back on when you have those bad days, and remember that those bad days are just that – bad days. Good days are always on the horizon.
Oh, and find a good therapist or mental health counselor!
- Knotted Headbands – $28
- Stretch Headbands – $15
- Scrunchies – $6-$12
- Embroidered Hats – $25
- Website: taydunworth.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/taydunworth
- Facebook: facebook.com/taydunworth
- Other:taydunworth.faire.com (Wholesale opportunities) and duffieldlane.com/collections/spring-summer-hair-accessories (Duffield Lane collaboration)