SMU’s most fashionable alumnae: Taylor Miller
Taylor Miller is no novice to the jewelry-making world. Although she just graduated last winter, the marketing major has been designing jewelry since she was 9 years old. What started as a fun hobby, involving her grandmother’s old beads and dental floss, soon blossomed into a small jewelry business for Miller. Her best customers were the moms of her brother’s little league games, but not for long.
“Sales gradually increased, as did our exposure,” said Miller. “By the time I was 10, we had a store carrying the line, and I began attending the Atlanta trade show at age 12.”
Today, Miller runs her company, Hazen Jewelry, full-time. She describes both her personal style and jewelry as “classic with flair,” as she enjoys mixing conventional pieces in original ways. And she definitely isn’t opposed to color.
“Pairing unexpected color combos together can result in the most fun pieces,” said Miller. “The role of jewelry in a woman’s wardrobe changes continually, so while I adapt pieces to the current trends, I remain consistent in using semiprecious materials.”
She finds inspiration in the people around her, as well as her travels. A trip to a new place, whether far or near, can introduce new colors and combinations. Miller credits the interior designers she has had the opportunity to meet at the Atlanta market for honing her eye for sophistication and creativity.
The hardest part about running her own business, Miller believes, is also the simplest: having enough time to get everything done. It was especially tough when she was still a full time student too.
“Every phone call I made and email I sent was building a brand and a reputation that I was counting on lasting me long after I graduated,” said Miller. “Thus, there was little room to do anything half-heartedly.”
Since graduating, Miller is now focusing on figuring out just how much needs to go into the company in order to see it grow at her desired rate. The successful business formula, in her opinion, requires a lot of patience – and Starbucks.
“I have been at this for 13 years now, and it has taken me speaking with many wise entrepreneurs to learn that lasting success, and enjoying the process along the way, develops organically,” said Miller. “I have had to learn that I don’t need overnight fame to make my business viable.”
In terms of starting a business, Miller encourages taking risks (smart risks, but risks nonetheless) and dreaming big.
“Do the best you can every day, day after day,” said Miller. “Then all of a sudden, you look back and realize that all of those small things add up to something significant.”
Just don’t ask what her favorite piece of jewelry is. She doesn’t know! Although Miller admits to wearing her Coralia necklace the most – “the character in each piece of coral is fabulous” – she doesn’t play favorites.
“Thinking back over the years, I have designed at least 50,000 pieces of jewelry, and there is not one particular piece to which I am drawn,” said Miller.
So what is Miller’s favorite aspect of fashion then?
“Fashion isn’t about getting others’ approval but rather enjoying the creative process that goes into putting an outfit together,” said Miller. “Enjoy it!”