Taylor Pitsilos: Designer Op Shop Emporium

October 11, 2021

Mikeila Scheckenbach

Women in Business Series: This series is dedicated to shining the spotlight on women in business who inspire us every day.

Taylor Pitsilos is the founder of Style By Tala and co-founder of Designer Op Shop Emporium. We had a chat with Taylor about the rewards and challenges of running a business, how to make your side hustle a full-time gig, and mastering the art of a work-life balance.

Talk us through a typical working day for you right now.

The store is open 7 days a week so I begin 6 out of 7 days opening the store but from there, my day can spread into many different directions. The morning will most likely consist of a coffee / quick run-down meeting with my business partner Sharyn. Throughout the day, I’ll have many run-ins from vendors coming to re merchandise their spaces in DOSE, ill take some snaps for socials…(edit the pictures, save them to drafts). I’ll look through bundles of pieces brought in from the general public to sell to us, merchandise a section of the store, have a fitting with a model or run to a photoshoot, write an article for the store’s magazine… all while consistently replying to daily emails, store enquires and of course serving customers. Lunch is almost always late as you eat when you can in retail. Close the store at 5 pm but continue being responsive on socials for our clientele after closing time… The work doesn’t end because the store is closed. Then onto the next day!

What advice would you give to people wanting to start their own business?

My advice would be to back yourself in your business, have faith in your own ability and reflect on your successes. Not everyone is going to like your business but that’s okay and finally to be prepared to never work a normal Mon – Fri, 9-5 day in your life again!

Looking back, are there any indicators from your youth that influenced you to start your own business?

I was always a creative person and never overly academic at school so heading to uni wasn’t for me and I felt ready to jump into work straight after school. Both my parents worked for themselves and mum was definitely a big influence as she owned a ladies fashion retail store in the Canberra Centre when I was growing so I guess following in their footsteps was natural for me.

What was the driving force behind starting your own business?

Growing up I was obsessed with Fashion and knew in some way shape or form that was the industry I wanted to be in. Living in Canberra, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for working in fashion unless it was for myself.

What’s your take on work-life balance?

As I work 6 days a week in store and am often still working outside of those hours, I do try and maintain a pretty busy work-life balance. I try to be as organised as I can both at work and at home. I find it helps to keep my house tidy and to schedule my weeks into my iPhone calendar. Every morning I take my dog to the park before work and most evenings after work, when I get home I spend time with my friends as they are like my second family. Sunday’s are my day off so I try to always plan something fun like a day trip to Berry or get out in nature and go for a hike. I do think it’s very important to take time out of work to clear your mind and freshen up for a new day/week.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of taking the leap from having a side gig to it becoming their full-time gig?

It is a difficult decision to make, especially if you have a mortgage or big bills every week. I would suggest ensuring you are 100% financially ready before taking the leap into full-time work without working for anyone else as well. For 5 years I worked full-time for myself and part-time for someone else, which helped me feel financially stable. For three of those years, I worked 7 days a week. You have to be prepared to put in the long hours and know that working for yourself full-time most likely won’t happen within the first year of your business.

What have been the most rewarding and challenging aspects of running a business?

The most rewarding aspects of running a business are definitely the freedom to work within so many aspects of the creative and fashion industry. I am lucky enough to work with my family and a really solid small team so coming to work is like being at home. My Mother Sharyn is my business partner so I count myself pretty lucky to be able to share this experience of growing our store with her. As for my styling business, fashion is my greatest love so being able to dress models and style clients as a part of my job is incredibly rewarding.

Some aspects of running a business I find challenging would be as an owner, everything falls back to you. It’s hard to not take criticism personally and trying to manage/oversee every aspect of the business can also be difficult at times.

We all have hiccups and are met with challenges – tell us about your biggest challenge to date and how you got past it.

Our biggest challenge to date would be our last year in Braddon as the rent was extremely high and by this stage and it wasn’t becoming viable to stay where we were. We had to make a decision on where to take our business from there and how we were going to overcome the situation. Luckily for us moving to Fyshwick was much cheaper in rent and as we had been operating for over 5 years, we had established a loyal following that supported and embraced our move. We re-branded our store and added in our vendors to create more of a destination experience for our clientele and expand the business.

What’s your favourite day of the week?

Sunday – my day off, haha! Don’t get me wrong I am borderline obsessed with my job but Sundays are my chill day, nothing beats it.

Where would we find you on a Saturday morning at 9 am?

At work! I have always worked Saturdays and it’s our busiest day by far. I wouldn’t actually know what to do with myself if I wasn’t at work or at a photo shoot on a Saturday morning. Rarely ill take a weekend off but when I do, it will be a weekend away.

Find out more about Taylor, Designer Op Shop Emporium & Style By Tala at dosemporium.com.au, @dosemporium or @stylebytala.