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Editorial
I Used Personal Loss To Inspire A Successful Business — Here's How
Taylor Colson Horton. Photo: Cameron Powell Studio
Kate Mason
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Taylor Colson Horton, founder and CEO of the creative consulting group And Delight Reigned, built her Nashville-based company — which specializes in prop styling, set design, wardrobe and interior design — from the ground up.

Her expansive client roster includes major music labels like Capitol Music Group, Columbia Records and Sony Music, as well as corporate giants such as Microsoft, Dillards and Louis Vuitton North America. With a diverse background in classical music, fashion marketing and entrepreneurship, Colson used a personal loss to motivate her, creating her business from scratch and balancing work with living a purpose-driven and reflective life. 

She filled me in on how she got started, how she manges it all, and what her typical day looks like:

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Most days, I get up around 6 a.m. and the first thing I do is cuddle my cats. Then I try to get in about 30 minutes of quiet time, whether that’s a daily devotional or just simple meditation. I sit outside on my back deck, drink some strong coffee, and watch the sunrise when I can. I’ve already looked over my day’s schedule the night before so I wake up feeling prepared to take on the day’s to-do list.

What does a typical day look like for you?

After my daily meditation, I get dressed and head to my office in Germantown. I like to be there pretty early to get a jump on things. I focus on getting through emails, making phone calls and looking at the calendar. I always check in with my retainer clients first see what I have to do for them that day, like social media updates, upcoming launches, etc.

Then I look at current projects for interior or set designs and see what needs to be completed ASAP. It’s all about timelines, coordinating moving parts, hammering out details, that sort of thing. My day is normally filled with a lot of juggling, talking with vendors, clients, artists, and designers, making sure everyone is on the same page. The last half of my day is normally filled with searching. This could mean driving around in the field looking for the perfect set piece, networking with various artists and designers, or looking for inspiration online.

If it happens to be a slower client day, I like to spend an hour or two working on the nonprofit I started called James’ Gift. Establishing the non-profit was directly inspired by my personal loss of our son James in my third trimester. James’ Gift is dedicated to providing families who are suffering a loss from a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death, with a gift of comfort. It’s a project of the heart, so I like to get in hours when I can. I try be home by 7 p.m. for dinner and quality time with my husband, Micah.

How do you stay organized with so many ongoing projects?

I thrive on storyboards. Because And Delight Reigned is a visual company, I do both physical and virtual storyboards, for myself and the client. I am constantly pinning inspirations. I also have an admin assistant who helps me tremendously with a lot of the busy work, like filing receipts, returning set items and tracking payments.

Because you have to be creative day in and day out, how do you stay inspired for each job?

The storyboarding really helps. I am always looking at other people’s work. Fashion, architecture, graphic design, art — it’s all about educating yourself. I draw a ton of inspiration from nature. I love the colors and organic design of things that happen in nature.

I find that when I do hit a lull creatively, I need to pause and take a step back from the project and concentrate on something else for a bit. The way I look at it is this: It is a huge honor to do any of the work I am hired for, and it is so important to appreciate that. The fact that the client has given me this responsibility is a big deal, and I don’t want to squander that.

So, if I feel stumped, I take time to sit back and breathe and appreciate that I’ve got the opportunity to do what I really love. This normally rejuvenates me and I’m ready to go!

How do you relax?

The hard part about working for yourself is not knowing when to turn off. I’ve learned that I have to treat myself the same as any other employee. When I look at my financials, I want to make sure I am utilizing my time properly. I set hard deadlines for myself so that I have a life outside of work. At the end of the day, your only responsibility is you.

I am normally the first person to abuse myself because I carry the weight of the company’s success on my shoulders. I have perfectionist attributes, which can be both good and bad. Letting things go is a delicate balance. This is a lesson I am still learning today.

For actual relaxing, I love a good book. I’ve got amazing girlfriends and take advantage of any opportunity to hang with them. I love being outside, hiking or taking peaceful walks. One of my favorite things is hanging out with Micah. A lovely evening with him, a good glass of wine, watching reruns of Friends and a kitchen dance party is just perfection.

What’s the one thing you MUST do before you go to bed?

After we lost James, Micah and I put into practice writing things down that we are thankful for. The habit of looking at the positive, the habit of appreciating the small things, the victory of living in itself, I salute these blessings every day. At night, I reflect with prayer and gratitude. Life goes by so quickly so I make sure to appreciate the small things, the little victories and the just being. Then I kiss my two fat cats and it’s lights out.

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Kate Mason is a certified life coach, specializing in the beautiful mess that is motherhood. You can check out her specialized coaching program, MOTHERLOADED, and get more information about Kate at KateMasonCoaching.com.

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