Southern Modern Chic: Lydia Taylor brings Taylormade Clothing Boutique to Helena
Published 9:16 am Monday, June 13, 2022
By Michelle Love
Photos by Christina Dennis
Lydia Taylor will tell you that ever since she was a teenager, she has wanted to work in fashion.
“I’ve just always wanted to do this,” she said. “I’ve always loved clothes and knew I wanted to do something related to fashion. I cannot draw to save my life so I knew fashion design was out of the question.”
Lydia’s love of fashion is what led her to launch her online boutique business, Taylormade Clothing, back in August 2020, and what fed her drive to open the brick and mortar location in Helena. Taylormade’s doors officially opened to the public on Saturday, April 9 with a special ribbon cutting sponsored by the Helena Business Association, but the buzz surrounding the boutique’s arrival was more than in positive anticipation.
Taylormade started in August 2020 as an online store and a mobile app. In 2021 she started doing in-person popups where she would showcase her merchandise.
“I loved doing that because I loved interacting with the people,” she said. “That’s what led me to this. I was selling really well in person, and online was doing well, too, but it just takes a lot of time to do online to get it where I want it to be.”
Lydia said she loves the one-on-one aspect of working with people in person, as being able to let them truly experience and appreciate the clothing is something you just can’t get from online shopping. With that in mind, she started thinking about the possibilities of opening an actual storefront.
“I thought I would do really well opening a brick and mortar,” she said.
Before the storefront location of Taylormade came into existence, Lydia grew up in Hueytown. She went to Southern Union State Community College in Wadley where she played softball and got her business associates degree.
Though she isn’t originally from Helena, she has family here, and said moving to Helena is a definite possibility.
“We would love to end up on this side of town eventually,” she said. “We would love to raise kids here.”
When she was looking for a possible location for Taylormade, Helena seemed like the perfect fit due to the lack of competition and the community’s drive to support small, locally owned businesses.
“When I realized that, that was what made me go, ‘This is the best place,’” she said.
Once the decision was made, Lydia dove into preparing for the opening. The focus and prep work that goes into stocking a boutique store takes meticulous planning. All of the items offered on Taylormade come from wholesale vendors, and sometimes items take close to two weeks to arrive. Thankfully, the internet is incredibly helpful.
She gets merchandise mainly from FashionGo, which offers a catalogue of the thousands of vendors boutique owners can choose from. Lydia will peruse several different vendors looking at various styles, fabrics and sizes. She describes it as being similar to online shopping for friends as you have to keep in mind what your shoppers may or may not find appealing.
“When I’m looking at merchandise, I always try to think of my customers and what they would like and what they want to see,” Lydia said. “It’s about thinking about what would sell the best, and I love having all of those vendors at my fingertips.”
Lydia describes her style as “southern modern,” a reflection of classic southern styles with more modern twists. Her store has a variety of sizes and the racks are full of everything from blouses, dresses and even comfortable T-shirts. Shoppers perusing through the shop are certain to find something they’re looking for, whether it’s loose fitting, frilly or all about comfort. This is something that was Lydia’s goal from the beginning.
“I want to have things your everyday mom would love when she comes in here, but I also want to make sure the high schooler that pops in after school has things that she would love to wear, too. It’s kind of a really good mix of inventory as far as having several things people of different ages will love. I want to have the dressy stuff like dresses and cute tops, but I also want to have stuff you can wear to work that you can dress up and dress down.”
The boutique space is designed to reflect Lydia’s southern modern takes and to also give her patrons an insight into who she is as a person. There’s lots of natural light that reflects her bright and sunny personality (she makes a point to greet everyone who walks through the door with a smile and a friendly “Hello”). The walls are a blushing pink with a drawing of her pet golden retriever hanging by the door. She said she’s very into the BOHO style right now and wanted to emulate that style throughout the shop as well.
Lydia said the main aspect of her shop that she has always tried to convey is that it is a safe space where people can shop and feel good about themselves.
“I’ve always struggled with self confidence,” Lydia explained. “It’s just always something I’ve fought with, and I don’t want others to feel that way. I just really want that to be a thing my business is about: I want every woman who walks in here to leave with something they feel their best in.”
With every sale, Lydia gets very excited to help people find something that makes them feel good in, and even if you don’t buy anything, she hopes you stop by and say, “Hello.”
Taylormade is located at 100 Brook Drive Suite C in Helena. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.