Embracing Change and Chasing my Dream

I am exhibiting my rug designs next month and have entered a competition for new designers by top retailer MADE.com.  A few years ago I could never have imagined that I’d be doing something like this. How did it happen? When did this become part of my plan?

The acquisition of the New York Stock Exchange completely changed my life. I had finally found a great role, an amazing manager, and a talented team. Then, to my horror, the announcement of the acquisition came via the press in December 2012. The acquisition led to many resignations, one of which was my manager. I was completely devastated. I am usually all for change but this was different, I was going to lose a role and company I was proud of, and I became frightened.

My experience looking for a new job was nothing short of awful: it took me 11 long months to be precise. You’d imagine that this would make anyone want to give up and turn back time. However, I do not wish to, but why?

During my time of unemployment, I rediscovered my passion for design and home interiors. I started sketching whatever came to my mind and remembered that my skills went beyond what was on my LinkedIn profile. I started drawing and designing when I was 10 years old, before HR became my first love in my late teens. I had forgotten how creative I was and allowed all the rejection emails in my inbox to depress me.

I enjoyed sketching but wanted to do something different with my basic drawings, I wanted to see them as floor rugs. I became obsessed with looking for a job and looking for manufacturers at the same time, and soon I was no longer depressed; I had hope. I found a manufacturer in India and received samples of my designs in April 2015, I saw it as a birthday present and was ecstatic with the outcome. My mother was making beautiful wall art at the time, so I partnered with her to set up OT&O Home Interiors. Meanwhile, I had received two job offers and finally saw an opportunity to clear my debts and potentially fund my business.

How do people focus on their small businesses without having to work? I have no choice but to be one of many entrepreneurs with a small business and a full-time job.

Since launching, I have taken part in a few showcases, one of which took place in my apartment two weeks ago. I transformed my space into a mini gallery and was proudly sponsored by companies that specialise in African inspired drinks and snacks (Nari Palm Juice (my brother’s start-up), Chika’s Foods, founded by Chika Russell who appeared in Dragons’ Den, Aduna, Ultimalt, Sunmo Foods and Love Chin Chin). I also unveiled my rug design of Tinie Tempah, which I will be auctioning to help raise funds for the Sickle Cell Society.

I am taking part in the Home & Gift trade show in Harrogate from 17th – 20th July, where my new rug design, Audrey, will be unveiled.

I have also entered the MADE.com emerging talent competition for new designers. Seeing my designs sold by top retailers would be a dream come true. Please check out my design on the website and vote for me. https://www.made.com/talentlab//#/competitions/ETA2016/entries/liz-taylor/

I remain very passionate about people and recruitment; however, my first love is designing unique floor rugs. I have faith that it is going to be an amazing year.

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