Chantal Carter Taylor; Toronto;
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I would say that I empower and inspire women of colour to cherish their skin tone.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I’ve gone to different schools and studied many things! The school that I attended to validate my career in fashion was Humber College, where I took fashion arts.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
I worked as a visual merchandiser for Emporio Armani and Holt Renfrew.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
When I think of a big break, I think of a breakthrough that I had in the past to push me forward…I remember it was winning best speech in Toastmasters and then coming in third at an area competition with over 100 people watching! That was a big break for me because it helped confirm that I could do something significant and put myself out there. I think this helped boost my self confidence and made me open to opportunities.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
Actually it was pretty recent. It is pretty scary putting your ideas out there and I wasn’t sure how Love & Nudes would be received. I was blessed and got such positive coverage from the media and I am so thankful for this.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
In the past I’ve been let go from numerous jobs which was terrible for my self confidence! I understand now that I was trying to force myself into work that wasn’t for me, though all my work experience has been quite valuable in preparing me with the skills I need to create Love & Nudes
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
Be open to trying different things, that is the quickest way to figure out what you want and what you don’t want, while giving you the skills to do what you actually want to do.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
To take a job that I didn’t like until I could find a job I liked. It was the worst because spending most of your day doing something you don’t like sucks a lot of energy and leaves you mentally fatigued. Finding another job is like having another job. When you spend time doing something you can’t stand, it’s so difficult to find the time and energy to look for something else. You can end up trapped and stuck.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
Sometimes I wonder if I could have gotten more out of a situation if I was a man. I just try to learn from my experiences by looking back on them. To tell you the truth I don’t think about being a woman or being black as a barrier because I don’t want anything to get in my way of achieving what I need to.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?
Well, Love & Nudes is a startup and is not at a level where I have financial freedom just yet! It will probably be another five years, God willing. I do different things to fill in the blanks, I’ve worked part time as a stylist at Rent, Frock, Repeat and I’ve also worked in a warehouse picking orders, which was a great learning experience for my business.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
In general I hear that millennials are very entitled. I don’t think that is always the case. I think millennials have seen that life doesn’t always happen the way we want even when we do all the right things (like going to the ‘right school’ and working in the ‘right job’).