We all know how special it can feel to receive a carefully selected gift from a friend or loved one. Eloquently Her has been chatting to the award-winning businesswoman who was tired of being a ‘Yes Person’, and recognised the chance to be a full-time Fairy Godmother of gifting.
Caz Taylor is sitting on the floor wrapping presents in her home in Hampton, South London.
It’s a meticulous undertaking into which she puts as much love today as if it were the first gift she had ever been tasked to package and send.
It’s also the same daily pursuit which her seven year old daughter now believes is ‘Mummy’s all day job’, and which has got this ambitious young schoolgirl desperate to follow in the footsteps of her dynamic and award-winning parent.
Caz (please, ‘not Caroline’, she insists) had spent 15 years in the world of marketing before even considering the idea of her own entrepreneurial pursuit.
Much of that early career had centred upon the customer journey and on the timely ‘gifting’ of gestures to clients and well chosen recipients.
“There wasn’t a week went by where we were not sourcing one gift or other for a client,” she says, outlining the back story.
“Part of the role of successful account management was finding the right thing to send to a corporate customer to say thank you, or to congratulate them, or to mark an anniversary of some sort.
“It continually bothered me that even though things like Not on The High Street had begun to appear by that point, there really wasn’t anything which you could say was genuinely geared toward being a bit more personal and ‘considered’ when it came to business customers.”
It wasn’t until Caz, who is married to James and also has a younger son, Elliott, first became a Mum in 2011 that she started to acknowledge the impact of certain gifts and the unique ‘feeling’ which came from a present which had truly been handpicked with much thought.
The process would turn her down a new and inescapable route that perhaps she was the perfect candidate for launching her own business service.
“As soon as my daughter arrived and I was recalling some of the gifts I was generously given by friends and loved ones, it dawned on me that the things I fell in love with or felt strongest about, were those where the items were handmade or had been really carefully considered,” she says.
“That got me into the idea of exploring the gift market with a great deal more ‘intention’ and recognising that the world was still perceiving handmade gifts as things like crocheted booties and old-fashioned items which not everyone wanted.
“I made a nuisance of myself at fairs and in online selling spaces like Etsy, really trying to discover what it was that was being missed.
“In the space of a few dedicated months I had managed to find myself a team of what I called my ‘collaborators’, who were men and women all creating incredibly creative and wonderful items, but all really defying the idea of what we’d come to think of when we had previously heard the term ‘handmade’.”
For a year, and while still in employment, Caz began to progress her idea around working with those selected collaborators to find and supply gifts, achieving customers purely by word of mouth.
It was, however, the devastating loss of her unborn child in 2013, which really amplified her desire to ‘make a difference’ through the power of giving the perfect gift.
“I suffered a miscarriage late in 2013 in my second trimester, and, understandably, was pretty inconsolable,” she recalls gently.
“But the one thing which stood out for me in that dark period was a gift and a note from a friend.
“It was a box of blue cheeses and a note saying ‘these are the only blues I want you to have from this day forward…’.
“The friend had put a great deal of thought in to where I was at with my world, what she would say with the gift, and what it might mean to me to receive something like that.
“Without hesitation, at that point I knew I needed to resign from my job and go fully into my business – Taylor’d Bundles – because there was good work to be done around making people feel valued and considered through giving the right gift.”
Caz’s story is truly one about acorns and oak trees.
Having incorporated in January 2014 (followed by an official launch in May), and had a presence in two very small local shops, in addition to an online identity, she was determined to make that first year count.
By the end of it – she had secured corporate clients like Jack Wills, Vodafone and Revlon.
“I knew the potential, but I just didn’t know whether the buy-in would be as swift as I was ambitiously hoping for,” she admits.
“My decision was to focus hard on corporates and on the fact that at any one time all businesses have a client or a customer or an employee going off on maternity leave and in need of some kind of gesture.
“That was going to be my focus for some concentrated marketing, so I delivered a campaign around that focus, and within weeks I had a response from the HR team of Jack Wills.
“The timing turned out to be perfect because they were currently looking at their employee benefits programme and wanted to explore new suppliers.
“They invited me to pitch to them, and officially took me on at the end of 2014 as their gift provider.”
And where Jack Wills started, others followed quickly.
Today, 75% of the business income for Taylor’d Bundles is generated by its corporate clients. These include the likes of Danone, Barclays, Hasbro – and, inevitably, a vast number of marketing agencies much like the one she previously worked for.
The job of her team in this meticulous process is to truly understand the detail about the recipient, find the perfect gift, know which of her ‘collaborators’ is best suited to create or supply it, and then deliver the lovingly wrapped gesture on behalf of the purchaser.
While the company’s journey has evolved somewhat – it no longer focuses so heavily on Mums and Babies but also on any other landmark ‘gift potential’ milestones – it has continued to grow and flourish at an exceptional pace.
Caz now has 45 freelance creatives working as part of her umbrella offering, and is even developing the level of support she gives to those individuals by rolling out workshops and support structures which can help them with their marketing or their business development.
There are other niche approaches coming thick and fast too.
“I’m not one for just settling for things even when they’re working, so I always explore different avenues and opportunities,” Caz continues.
“It’s important to me that we’re recognised as being a business which creates gifts for all occasions, and which isn’t afraid to touch on times of more sensitivity. It’s about acknowledging that both good and bad times in life warrant gestures, and it’s why our Support and Encouragement category has grown organically incredibly well.
“Our ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ concept is pretty new too, and was always likely to be a little sensitive, but it came about because we had a situation where a woman had received one of our bundles and then sadly lost her baby at just a few months old.
“She reached out to ask if she could donate the gifts to someone else as they had been unused, so we used that to develop a line where we stitch angel wings on to the cuff of a garment. They’re like a further affirmation of support – a symbol of a guardian angel who is with you at this challenging time.
It’s hard to believe that this award-winning businesswoman, who is helping many other creatives to find regular work flow, and delivering so many smiles to so many people, could ever have been a ‘less than confident’ individual, but she believes that her journey has changed her enormously.
She says: “I always loved my work and wanted to do the right thing by my clients when I was in the marketing world, but looking back, I wasn’t completely confident in my skin.
“There isn’t really anything wrong with that, but it’s not until you step aside from it and develop something of your own making that you become so aware of how stifled your creativity had become.
“I have days now, where I’m on the floor wrapping those carefully selected presents, picturing what the recipient is going to think, and I’m just so filled with pride that I took the leap.
“I’m so much more aware of my worth, but also of the impact that I can have in bringing real joy to others. That’s a pretty good feeling to take to bed every night.”
For more information about Caz’s company, click here www.taylordbundles.co.uk.
Readers of Eloquently Her can benefit from a limited time partner offer we’re running with this incredible woman-led business.
If you purchase a gift bundle between now and the 3rd August, you will be entitled to 15% off your transaction by mentioning Eloquently Her in an email to the sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Early birds taking up this offer will also receive a special gift, selected by Caz.