Designer Vicki Taylor - the beautiful mind behind the inspirational designer label Taylor...
Armed with a prestigious fashion degree, heavy-weight experience and industry respect for being the design mastermind behind Suzanne Gregory's huge increase in turnover in just 4 years - Vicki Taylor fearlessly walked away from the security of a regular paycheck.
Fashion and textiles was what she knew. Her father was in the rag trade and despite warning her off a career in clothing and design she did it anyway. Not out of adolescent spite but because she had a talent for it.
At 19, Vicki was accepted into the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's elite fashion school. She graduated 3 years later with a Bachelor of Design.
Vicki funded her way through tech by waitressing then worked full-time in hotel management after graduating.
Her first fashion job was with leading Australian designers “Scanlan and Theodore" but the kiwi wanted to come home.
In 1994, Vicki returned to Auckland and had a job within 3 days. She put in 80-90 hour weeks at Suzanne Gregory and was rewarded immediately for her efforts. She was initially given her own range to design and within a year appointed as the head designer.
In 1998 word got around the industry that she had left Suzanne Gregory. Offers tumbled in, good jobs earning great money.
Instead Vicki chose a job with no proven record, no guaranteed income in a tough industry she knew nothing about.
Vicki Taylor launched her own label, signed the lease on a shop in Ponsonby's high rental area and moved into the unpredictable world of fashion retailing.
In March of 1999, Vicki opened the doors of Taylor Boutique. Behind the minimalist shop space was a tiny cutting room where Vicki, her husband and sister-in-law planned and executed the “taylor" look.
Up the steep century old stairs was a makeshift flat where Vicki and husband, Mark Thomson squeezed sleeping and eating in between Taylor's round the clock requirements.
The label developed instant respect.
Vicki and Mark have long since moved out of the upstairs flat, it's now a large cutting room, office and fabric storage area.
In 2005, Vicki opened another Taylor Boutique in Newmarket's “high fashion" area, Teed Street.
Taylor now employs 10 staff and continues to manufacture in Auckland.
Expanding the Taylor brand has kept Vicki focused on a small and unique range that constantly changes. The fabrics are sourced and imported from the best mills in the world and are always the main focus of Taylor styling. Often Vicki only allows three or four garments to be made in each fabric.
The very successful and highly driven designer prefers to let her label do the talking. She' understated, self effacing and prefers to avoid the limelight.
Outside of fashion her life is just as intense. Vicki and Mark work manage the business and play parents to their young sons.
Not enough “balls in the air" ?
In 2006 Vicki submitted a portfolio to Netball New Zealand, and was awarded the contract to design the official off-court suit for The Silver Ferns.
Since 2006 Vicki has been on the AUT Fashion School advisory committee, as she is committed to helping young designers achieve and run successful fashion businesses. She now stocks young designer labels and helps them get their garments into the New Zealand market.
Taylor has also now established the 100% NZ Design and Manufacture logo, which certifies the New Zealand design companies still fully manufacturing all their product lines in this country. Last year Vicki was instrumental in helping the Newmarket Business Association by sponsoring and judging the Newmarket Young Designer of the Year award.
What next for Vicki Taylor once that's done? I guess there's always London, Paris, New York and Milan!