Whether visual design or writing, creativity thrives in many forms and environments. Creativity is a boundaryless gift and engine that can help each and one of us achieve our goals. With that said, we are grateful for the opportunity to pick Tayler Cusick Hollman’s brain on business and strategy with beyond awesome tips! Tayler works at Aisle Planner, a national sponsor of The Sketchbook Series, where she focuses on leading media and marketing strategies.
How long have you been in business?
Aisle Planner has been in business since 2014.
What is your job title and tell us about your role:
As the Media and Marketing Director at Aisle Planner, I oversee the company’s marketing and advertising strategy, design and creative projects, manage all social media channels and lead a small editorial team as managing editor of the company’s business and lifestyle blog.
What are some of your design philosophies?
My personal design philosophy is to keep things clean. When you are designing projects that are meant to tell a story, it's important that the visuals don't distract from your goal; rather, that they support them by making things more engaging or easier to understand.
Fortunately, my personal design philosophy is very close to the Aisle Planner brand. Everything that we create is meant to tell the stories of the talented wedding planners and professionals in our community - our story is meant to lift them up! So, whenever we are designing graphics, tools, or working with images, we are always sure to create visuals that are powerful but not overpowering.
What lessons have you learned during your career that you wish someone would have told you when you started?
I think like a lot of people, I didn't really plan on ending up where I am. And, that is not a bad thing at all but, when you set goals for yourself and the universe decides to guide you towards a different destination, it is important to be open to the experience. Our Founder, Christina Farrow, can relate to this as well. I doubt that in her 15 years as a professional wedding planner that she thought she'd end up founding a software company!
In addition to being open to opportunity, I think it is really important for people to know the full scope of responsibility that being a business owner requires. Before I started here at Aisle Planner, I started my own consulting business and I underestimated how much of my time would be dedicated to things other than deliverables for clients. And, since Aisle Planner is still a young company, everyone on the team is responsible for much more than what's just for show. There is always a lot of work that happens behind the scenes and you have to be just as committed to it as you are all the fun stuff!
Where do you get your inspirations from and what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I'm inspired by a lot of things and though this may sound cliche, a lot of it comes from the people around me. I am personally inspired by people's energy and passion and less by "things." Don't get me wrong, I go gaga over a beautifully designed event, interior or outfit just like everyone else but I really dig it when people are so passionate about what they are doing. I feed off of it and because a big part of my job is storytelling, that enthusiasm is a really important inspiration point.
Outside of work I am inspired by the powerful work and spirit of women. Yeah, I am pretty much repeating myself but it's the truth. I am 100% down to support any woman who is chasing her dreams, creating art or building a better future for herself and her family. That is what is so awesome about the Aisle Planner team. Even though we do have men on the team, the ladies are running the show!
When I'm not working you'll find me running or cycling along the coast, maybe climbing rocks with the hubs or (nowadays) working as a political organizer and educator.
How do you stay relevant in the design world?
I think that staying relevant is less about staying on trend and that it is more about staying true to your brand. There are so many amazing artists that are constantly pushing the boundaries with what is possible in design that it can be really hard to stand out. That is why your story is so important. If you build a strong brand, a relevant product or service, and it's all relatable, then you will always be relevant.
What are some advice about being successful in this career?
Being successful in the wedding industry is a combination of your talent and your network. I guess that is true in most industries but since this one is so collaborative, the meaning of a good working relationship is a bit different. You have to have strong relationships with the people you work with because they are likely to be longstanding ones.
At Aisle Planner, the relationship we have with each of our customers is REALLY important. We value their opinions about the tools, suggestions about what we can build that would help them the most and are so very, very grateful for their loyalty and support. Aisle Planner was created for wedding professionals by wedding professionals so our network and relationships are invaluable.
What's your 'unique' process developing projects from vision to execution?
When it comes to designing and developing new features for Aisle Planner, our industry expertise and community are foundational to the process. Because we are a team of people who have worked in the weddings and events industry, we know first-hand what the needs and challenges of working in the industry are. So, we have a really comprehensive road map that the team is working on to bring to life. The insight and changing needs of our community play a large role in deciding what we are going to prioritize. The challenge is to build the tools that are going to get us to our big-picture end goal while being sure to address the immediate needs of our community.
What are some upcoming news around your brand that you'd like to share?
We just released Proposals and Contracts with e-Signatures along with Wedding Websites! And, we are putting the finishing touches on Invoicing and Payments (to be released some time in the very early spring).
What are some company goals for 2017? How would the company like to impact the community in the next 5-10 years?
2017 is really the year that Aisle Planner is going to grow up - a lot. Not only is our team growing, we are on track to complete the full suite of business tools that our community needs to streamline their business. We started with Lead Management in mid-2016 and just took a huge stride towards completing the suite with Proposals and Contracts with e-Signatures. And, with Invoicing and Payments right around the corner, 2017 is the year we are going to be checking a lot of new features off the "wish list" and marking them as completed!
When I think about where Aisle Planner is going to be in 5-10 years, it is SO EXCITING! We have been dreaming up and accomplishing so much as a small and dedicated team that I almost can't imagine what things will be like after 5 more years of growth!
This company was founded with the needs of the professional wedding community in mind and that has remained our focus. So, I expect that in the coming years, that Aisle Planner really is going to transform how wedding professionals (planners, photographers, florists, designers and more!) run their businesses and collaborate with each other. We are a team of dreamers and we are anxious to make them all a reality!
What are your top three tips or advice you want to give on starting or owning your own business?
1. Set yourself up for success by doing your research and setting up a strong foundation from the start!
2. Never compare your start to someone else's finish. It is ok to be new at something.
3. Be open to change. You can plan for something but that may not be how things end up. And realize that needing to make adjustments is in no way a failure - flexibility is necessary to thrive!
What is your instagram handle
Why would you recommend The Sketchbook Series?
The Sketchbook Series is a great opportunity for some fun and hands-on learning. But, on top of just being a really fun and inspiring couple of days, the fact that you walk away with a new (or refined) ability to communicate your creative ideas to your clients and design partners is the icing on the cake!
Where is your business based out of?
Cardiff, California (north San Diego county)
What geographical area(s) do you service?
Aisle Planner has customers in over 50 countries around the world!
Thank you, Taylor for such an inspirational interview!!