For Taylor Jones, getting home after a long day of classes does not signal the time to wind down or relax. It’s time to get to work.
Jones spends her afternoons selecting inventory, communicating with customers and running social media accounts for her business.
Jones, an apparel merchandising student and Auburn local, started The Tiny Closet in February 2017. The Tiny Closet sells clothing, shoes and accessories online, at trunk shows and aboard a pink, refurbished 1999 school bus.
Jones started her career in fashion modeling at age 18 and soon realized it wasn’t for her. After starting her fashion blog, Jones decided she wanted to sell clothes rather than just style them.
Jones said she came up with the idea for The Tiny Closet after seeing other mobile boutiques. She knew her mostly millennial target market would be willing to pay for an experience, so she decided to give them just that.
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Jones holds many positions in running The Tiny Closet — she models, does all the marketing, plans events and picks inventory for the store.
Inspiration for what to buy for the store comes from Jones’ keen eye and inquisitive nature. She loves to research why people wear what they wear, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s constantly surrounded by her target market, women ages 18–25.
The Tiny Closet intentionally avoids subscribing to one particular style or aesthetic.
“To me, this generation’s mind is going 90 to nothing,” Jones said. “It’s going all over the place because people are still trying to find out what their style is, so we kind of have a style for everybody.”
Jones admits that one of the biggest challenges associated with running the store is being her own boss. Although the incessant self-discipline is tricky, Jones has enlisted the help of her friends and family.
Jones’ mom helps with financial operations, and her boyfriend takes all the photographs for the online store and for the Tiny Closet Instagram feed.
Additionally, Jones regularly consults her network of other boutique owners. She cites fellow boutique owners Diana Harbour and Liz Ross as her mentors. Harbour and Ross are the founders of Red Dress Boutique and Southern Fried Chics, respectively.
Jones has found a welcoming online community of women with similar business models.
“I love the girl empowerment,” Jones said. “I love the women empowering women because people are always like, ‘Oh, that’s your competition.’ We call each other ‘boutique besties.’”
Jones is looking forward to a new chapter in her life as she and her ’99 school bus prepare to move to Nashville after her graduation from Auburn in December. Although this move is the only big change Taylor has planned for The Tiny Closet in the near future, she’s excited to take the next steps in growing the boutique.
Jones mentioned that she would love to consider franchising in the future. Because the bus stays in the Southeast for logistical reasons, she’s interested in planting Tiny Closet buses across the country.
Jones also hinted that other developments like private labeling and a men’s line might be in The Tiny Closet’s future.
Jones encourages those dreaming of running their own business to start as soon as possible.
“Just 100 percent go for it,” Jones said. “It’s one of the scariest things to own your own business, but it’s also one of the most refreshing things to be able to wake up every day and love what you do.”
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