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Meet Amy Taylor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Taylor.

Hi Amy, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Fresh on the heels of a divorce, I worked a string of dead-end corporate gigs in Atlanta, GA. I started out as a receptionist for a scammy art publishing firm and eventually moved on to be a temp office manager at an oddly-named tech business. When my nurturing boss at that company had to tearfully let me go — she felt terrible putting me in that position but said I was destined for much greater things — I felt completely at odds with who I was and where I saw myself professionally. I believe I was 27 at the time. It felt like a good opportunity to reevaluate my entire life, so I crowdsourced opinions from my New York friends, who quickly suggested prop styling as a potential career path for me. I didn’t know this was even something you could do for a living, but with my penchant for home design and decor, it felt like a natural progression. My friend Meghan connected me with an amazing stylist in Atlanta named Darcie Adler, who hired me to assist her with myriad prop and interior design projects. I worked evenings and weekends as a receptionist at a hair salon to save money and moved back in with my parents in the suburbs. Within a year or two, I was on my way to New York to attempt the transition to styling there. For several years, I assisted Jerry Schwartz, a big player in the set design community. I often joke that working for him was like styling boot camp; I learned so much during my time with him and am forever indebted for that experience. It undoubtedly gave me the tools I needed to branch out on my own.

After working on a few Refinery29 jobs solo — back when they were on the verge of exploding but hadn’t yet — I was courted by an agency for representation. I ended up saying yes even though I wasn’t sure I was ready because, hey, when are you ever READY for anything? This led to being perpetually booked and busy, as the kids say, but also broke — the harsh reality of styling means fronting a lot of your own capital for props and waiting/begging for clients to pay you back before you accrue massive debt and insane credit card interest payments. This is what I think discourages a lot of people from continuing along this career path. I didn’t have a financial safety net, and there many times I felt like I couldn’t keep doing this. I did eventually get to a point of greater stability and by then, I had outgrown this part of my journey. I was weary of the rat race. I wanted a car and a bigger apartment. I wanted a boyfriend. And a dog. So half a decade after moving to NY, I made the trek to Los Angeles. In my four years here, my career has, by my own standards, taken off. I am represented by a new agency — the wonderful and wildly supportive women at Redeye Reps — and am finally financially stable (though the pandemic did throw us all a bit of a curveball). Last year, I started my own still life photography magazine, Nectarine. I am currently working on the second print issue. It is so much work but such a worthwhile labor of love. It’s what allows me to stay motivated and created and gives my friends and I an excuse to work on passion projects clients won’t back. I also have a dog named Carol, a bigger apartment, and am working on the boyfriend 🙂

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Not by any means — doors have continued to open, which has helped me feel like I’m headed down the right path, but it was not easy. Like I mentioned previously, as a freelancer you’re always dealing with the stress of hunting down money you’re owed and having to hustle for new gigs. It’s certainly not as stable or reliable as a salaried job, but the flexibility and excitement it affords you makes the stress worth it for me! Finding the right agency fit can be a challenge, too. I was previously with one that shall remain nameless, but it was not a great experience for me. I still carried the bulk of the weight in finding new clients, and they took a massive cut of my rate. I caught them in lies all the time and generally just didn’t feel supported in the way I should have. My current agency is much smaller, and there is a familial bond there. I know my agents genuinely care not only about my professional success but about my personal wellbeing.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a prop stylist and set designer. I prefer to work in still life, which is set design on a much smaller scale. As a child, I was obsessed with creating vignettes with toys and tiny objects, and nothing has really changed. I also have a great sense of color and much of my work is bright and poppy, though that has given way to richer tones in recent years. I think my Dutch Masters style still lifes are my personal favorites and are often referenced when I’m up for a new project. I have a journalism degree, which might seem useless in regard to what I do currently, but it gives me special tools for communicating professionally that I think have only benefited me.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I often am hired by brands to help create fun and fantastical worlds that help elevate, illustrate or simply sell their product, and I feel like I’ve gotten very good at marrying my style with what clients need. I hire assistants to help flesh out these visions, and their brains and brawn are invaluable. I could not do what I do without the highly competent folks I hire to collaborate with me on these wild projects. If someone wanted to do a more direct collaboration with me, they could submit to my magazine! (nectarinemag.com).

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

PHOTOGRAPHERS Elizabeth Weinberg – personal photo Stephanie Gonot – martini + perrier photos Julia Stotz – wine photo, palm frond photo Evan Robinson – vitamin b12 photo Kate Owens – photo of me with shapes FOOD STYLIST Maya Bookbinder – palm frond photo

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