Thanks to the determination and artistic eye of one young and chic interior designer, what we think of as the typical “Bachelor Pad” will soon become obsolete (well, in New York City it will be). FBE got the opportunity to talk to Founder and CEO of August Black, Taylor Spellman. She’s putting an inventive and affordable spin on making any ole’ pad into a home. P.S. She’s only 25!
FBE: Tell the FBE world who you are?
TL: Taylor Spellman
FBE: And where are you from exactly?
TL: I am from Wethersfield, Connecticut and my company August Black, is based in New York City.
FBE: Tell me a little bit about your company and how you derived at the name (very unique)?
TL: The concept behind August Black is that in New York City men don’t get married until later in life so for years, they’re left on their own to decorate. These guys went to great schools, hold high-powered jobs and make a lot of money…yet their apartment is never at the level it could be. These men are not going to hire a full interior design service as its much more than the guy actually needs or wants. However, they will come to August Black, the male friendly solution to an apartment in need of a discerning eye.
To come up with the name I worked with a branding firm called Great-Monday. ‘August’ actually means “inspiring awe or admiration” and “occupying a high position or rank”. A lot of my clients currently hold a high position and rank and if not yet, they’re certainly on their way.
FBE: What’s your background in interior design?
TL: I actually do not have any formal training in interior design. I came to New York as a dancer to attend The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and later graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a Degree in Business.
FBE: What drove you to launch “August Black“? and What were you doing before that?
TL: Prior to launching August Black I had helped countless friends spruce up their places. I was designing so many homes for free that I finally had that light-bulb moment of wait…I could be making money doing this. It was then that I launched “August Black“.
FBE: Do you have a team or are you working independently?
TL: I have a team of over 20 people that work for me as independent contractors. Painters, builders, electricians etc. Outside of that, I have two interns and I recently signed on a full time partner.
FBE: What makes your artistic vision unique when compared to other designers in the industry?
TL: What makes our vision unique is that no other designer is coming to the table with the approach that we take. Our client doesn’t want to be inundated with countless options, fabric swatches and design banter. Our vision is straight forward and to the point. We focus on what is best for him from a design perspective: color, aesthetic etc but we always keep in mind his busy schedule and basic needs. We never force a client to do more than he wants in regards to his time or budget, which are both common problems with other designers.
FBE: What inspires your designs?
TL: My client. I am solely inspired by who he is and the vision he has for his home. Every guy starts by saying he doesn’t know what he wants or what he likes and by the end of the process he has always discovered his inner designer.
FBE: Who is the ultimate “August Black” client?
TL: A man between the ages of 25 and 55 who is up and coming or is already extremely successful. He is a guy who understands the value in having a nice home but doesn’t have the time, energy or the know-how to do it himself. A lot of our clients are younger guys but we also have a good amount of recently divorced men who especially need our services as they’re back out on their own for the first time in several years.
FBE: Where has “August Black” been featured?
TL: We’ve been featured on New York 1 News and in Forbes.com.
FBE: Why the decision to go into business for yourself?
TL: I always knew I would go into business for myself it was just a matter of finding the path and niche that suited me the most. Although there’s great risk involved in starting your own business, there’s also huge rewards. There’s nothing better than answering to yourself and yourself only.
FBE: What personally inspires you?
TL: The ever looming option of failure.
FBE: What affect has the economy had on “August Black“?
TL: In a lot of ways August Black has actually benefited from the economic downturn. In this economy it feels insensitive to hire a full interior design service that can range anywhere from 30K to 100K. August Black has a wide range of services that are both flexible and recession friendly. Another way August Black has benefited from the economy is that more men are entertaining at home instead of going out. Whether it’s hanging out with friends or cooking for a date, we’ve seen more and more men turning their bachelor pad into a home.
FBE: As you are a very successful 25 year old, what advice do you have for other young people?
TL: If you really want to run your own company you have to start with a good idea (that’s the easy part). You must be extremely self motivated and realistic with both yourself and your time. Most importantly you have to be very comfortable biting off more than you can chew….and then chewing it….quickly.
FBE: How can my viewers contact you?
TL: Viewers can contact me at Taylor@august-black.com or by calling us at (917) 703-3720.
FBE: What’s the future looking like for “August Black“?
TL: “August Black” will be a very well known brand. Soon, a guy with a nice well-kept apartment wont be the exception to the rule, it will be the rule. With the help of August Black, there won’t be a single “Bachelor Pad” left in Manhattan (keep your fingers crossed Ladies).