Taj Hunter Waite is the founder of All Things Taj, LLC and has been an award recipient of South Florida 40 Under 40 Leaders of Today and Tomorrow. Taj’s initiatives and work have been featured in several publications such as WE Magazine for Women, Sun-Sentinel, Lioness Magazine, South Florida Caribbean News, Lonny Magazine, Domaine and many others.
Over the past 15 years, she has designed and curated industry conferences and cultural events. She has also completed design projects both internationally and within the United States. Taj is a designer in the areas of interiors, graphics and events with a deep passion for art, culture, and entrepreneurship. Her practice is best known for her design-savvy approach to combining global influences with modern luxury.
Armed with a unique balance of graduating from design school and acquiring her MBA, Taj is steadfast about paying it forward and sharing her insight. She not only teaches design, she teaches other creatives on how to be business savvy in the creative world.
How did you get started in your business?
After the market crash in 2008, business slowed drastically in the design firm I was working in. I had never witnessed anything like that and I panicked. I had to get very resourceful very fast.I had an MBA and years of experience in small business management so I blasted my resume out there and was calling everyone I knew. The first job I interviewed for in 2009, I was offered the position. I was the Operations Manager in a financial services firm, in a very corporate environment. I loved the partners and they taught me a ton but I quickly felt stifled. Within the first year, I sat down with the CEO. I enjoyed the work and the firm was a stellar firm at the time, the experience was priceless. He was more than understanding and very soon after, he approved a flex schedule for me. Talk about blessings!!! A couple years later, I knew internally I had to get back to my true love full time and resigned. I founded All Things Taj in 2013.
What are the plans you had for your business when you first started?
Well, things certainly do adjust along the way. Initially, I simply wanted to have the opportunity to work on creative projects in design, art, and culture. I always knew I would do more than interior design. I wanted my work to make an impact, to help others in a significant way. I wanted to design and create things, support impactful initiatives and teach. I have been able to accomplish it all.
What are the daily/weekly/monthly tasks that guaranteed the execution of your plan?
Sunday weekly routine – review my calendar for the week, assess where I am on deadlines, prepare emails to make any needed adjustments, start to prep for the upcoming meeting(s) or classes I teach. It is strategy and planning time.
What does your business teach individuals?
I instill a strong sense of “pride in space” with my clients and those I mentor. As a philosophy, DESIGN IS EVERYTHING!
We are affected by the design process in every aspect of our life, whether it may be our home, tools we use for work, places we enjoy going…all are a result of design. Some of my residential clients go on to hire me for their workspace once they embrace the mindset. The cultural phenomenon we know as it relates to the iPhone, as an example, is due entirely to its design. Our eyes light up strolling up and down the home aisles at your neighborhood Target because of design. This is a very exciting revelation to explain because most don’t think of it in those terms.
What is the 1 signature thing that makes your business stand out from others?
As a creative solopreneur, my service offering has grown in a unique way. I’m a designer at my core but there are times it’s the least of what I do.
What do you think other businesses need to stand out in the competitive marketplace?
Be your authentic self and you will stand out, your tribe will connect. Sometimes uncertainties, fear, self-doubt all get in the way but you have to push ahead and overcome. My favorite quote from Dr. Seuss,
“There’s nobody you-er than you and that’s truer than true!”
What has been your biggest highlight of being in business so far?
My biggest highlight has been the unexpected directions my practice has taken me and, most importantly, the relationships I have built along the way.
What would 1 bit of advice that you would give to someone thinking about starting a business be?
Real talk, know it’s extremely hard! There are many peaks and valleys. Sometimes you feel like you’re on a steady trajectory and, out of nowhere, a drought hits. Understanding this is a part of the journey allows you to plan, and spend, differently.
In 5 years from now, where do you see your business?
Taj Hunter Waite, Creative Mastermind
What is 1 fun tidbit about yourself that you would like to share?
I love the BeeGees! You’ll find them on rotation in my car on any given day, LOL!!!
Can you give us some deets’ on some of your upcoming business plans?
I’m working more and more with start-up and emerging creative solopreneurs to help them become more business-savvy about their service offerings. Project management, contract management, budget management, financial management…these are all areas I thrive in and have a strong passion for. These are also key areas most creative professionals fall short.
Are there any other business gems that you would like to share your business experiences, plans, or lessons?
Yes, my brand has a strong philanthropic mission. I want to be an example in my industry as it relates to social consciousness. As consumers, we have this power in how we spend our money. I’ve designed collections of which partial proceeds support causes for disadvantaged women. All of my client’s donated goods are given to women’s shelters locally. I also make a conscious effort to seek out brands that share a similar mission when I shop for myself and clients. As my brand continues to grow, I look forward to sponsoring larger initiatives that help a less fortunate woman achieve self-sufficiency. This is a driving force for me.
I want to be an example in my industry as it relates to social consciousness. I’ve designed collections of which partial proceeds support causes for disadvantaged women. All of my client’s donated goods are given to women’s shelters locally.
Get to know more about this CEO with Priceless Plans?
Visit her website: www.allthingstaj.com