Thanks for being here. :)
Toat is a one-stop lifestyle community filled with tips, advice, and the latest fashion from our founder, Taylor R’s travels around Asia. Whether it’s something you read or something you purchase, we're happy to have a place in your life and hope to make you feel curious, confident, and empowered.
I'm writing this on November 6th, 2019. It is about one week before this website is launching, and I'm trying to come up with the words to simply summarize this thing that has been such a long time coming, and is so many things for me (also, I know I'll come to realize many more later). I just feel like everything has lead me to this point.
As a child, I loved creating things. As soon as I learned how to colour and cut, I made paper dolls and their outfits. Later when I was a bit older, I borrowed my Mom's sewing machine and made dolls out of nylons and any old fabric I found. I used to sell beaded keychains, and bedazzled pens and hair clips I made at a table I set up outside my house. I'd dress up my siblings (usually in something I found in my Grandma's closet), organize performances, and charge the adults with whatever dimes or nickels they had in their pockets to watch. Creativity, a love for all things fashion and lifestyle related, and a touch of business has always been my core essence.
Fast forward several years, I finally got accepted into the modelling industry (after a while of trying and many no's from agencies- that's another story for a different article) at 16 years old. I went on to travel and work as a model for over 10 years. This deepened my love and fascination for the fashion world and all that comes with it (hair, makeup, design, photography, etc). I also gained new knowledge on nutrition, exercise, independence, confidence, finance, amongst many other things and I wanted to share it. This lead me to opening a facebook page and instagram account, then later a youtube channel. Youtube gave me a place to exist, be creative, and connect with incredible people all over the world. *Speaking of which, I know that possibly you reading this, YES YOU have been here for a while and have witnessed my growth and changes over the years (we probably grew and changed together), so thank you for being a friend and trusting me, thank you for including me in your life and continuing to with this new project.* Then many vlogs, fashion lookbooks, questionable DIYs, cooking tutorials, and other videos later... we are here.
About 2 years ago (I think?) I decided to revamp my website that I had left derelict for over 3 years (the very pink, cute; www.lovetaylor.com -anyone remember that?). I started that website to share some tips on nutrition, exercise, makeup, and recipes because for some topics I felt it was easier to read and see pictures rather that learn via video (I still feel that way). When my life took another change (inside and out), although it's a part of me, I no longer truly identified with the style that website portrayed so I wanted to revamp it. Then after more thought, I decided I didn't want to use lovetaylor.com at all, or anything with my name in it because I wanted it to be more than that. More than me. US. People I've met (or will meet) online or offline that have influenced my life positively. Something that could include many ideas and opinions, because that's how people evolve... that's how I've evolved, that's how this brand will continue to evolve.
I knew that with this new idea, I wanted a place to share things that I feel don't translate as well in videos once again (or even that do but reading good old-fashioned blogs is enjoyable for some, including me). Also a place where my community could share things, and hopefully one day have a team around the world of different and interesting people sharing things.
Then we have the shop aspect. Right now it's a curated shop focusing on fashion and accessories, then hopefully expanding to lifestyle, pyjamas, homeware, and other things. Eventually, the dream is to have my own brand some day. These are some thoughts and ideas of what it could be..but I'm starting small and thinking big! Style-wise, toat is somewhere between classic femininity and well-tailored menswear. It's confident and powerful, but playful.
With these things in mind, I knew what I wanted the website to be, and how it identified as a brand, but I needed a name for it. This stumped me for a while. I searched and searched online in different languages, and on all different 'company naming' websites for inspiration. Wherever I'd go, I'd look at street signs, shop names, and product names to try and come up with something. I got nothing for a long time, so I stopped searching and just left it. Then it came about 6 months later, when I wasn't looking, in the most unexpected way.
A country song.
Country songs remind me of home. My family always plays them on the radio in the house or car. My Grandpa always sang them (it was his favourite genre). It reminds me of long cars rides (family vacations, driving to university or auditions, etc), open space, love, and times of difficulty (heartbreaks, death, uncertain situations- there's a country song with relatable lyrics for everything you're going through). It's my life in Canada. When I'm homesick now I always put it on.
I was listening to the "hot country" playlist on Spotify and Ryan Hurd's "To A T" came on for the first time. As I looked down at the screen to see what was playing, I loved the way the letters looked. If something fits you 'to a T' it fits you perfectly. It was made for you. I like that idea.
Then thinking further, my name starts with a 'T'... so there's that. I guess it stands for something.
Plus, the first letters in Tom's name (my life partner who gave me so much support and guidance along the way, especially during my many points of discouragement when I thought I should give up. He played a huge mental role in toat) are 'To', mine are 'Ta'. Coincidence, or fate?
Even before when I was trying hard to come up with a name, I always knew I wanted it to be something with a 'T' as the focus because to me, it means many things. It's like 'tea', which is a big part of the culture of the two places I lived most of my adult life that shaped me, Hong Kong and Japan. Tea has many benefits, it's comforting, it's healing, it brings people together. It grows, and changes in composition because of the elements that are added to it for consumption (it keeps getting better and more lovable). There's so many different kinds in different countries and cultures, with different ways to drink it. You got to get to know it, there's layers, and stories, and origins, and different characteristics to come upon. The more you discover and try, the more you appreciate it.
It's like a tee or a t-shirt... a classic simple piece that has stood the test of time. It can change a little in the fit, cut, and colour (or maybe the bands you like on the front)..but it's always there, it's a staple that you always come back to.
This seems like I'm reaching, but I really dove into words and letters while brainstorming; did you know letters can be interpreted and are associated with energies? I don't know how true this is, but for what it's worth I also looked that up. T apparently resonates with the ideas of relationships, companionship, and teamwork. To me this makes sense because the structure of it looks supportive (the bottom line holds the top line up).
Toat as a word, doesn't really exist/isn't used in the English language (it's underlined in red as if it's a spelling error as I'm typing this *get used to it computer!--but also, I hope it doesn't mean anything profound in another language), so people don't have any preconceived notions about it.
It's loopy in the middle, which reminds me of the infinity symbol or like an '8', the luckiest number in Chinese culture.
So for all of those reasons, and the simple reason that it just felt right, toat was created.
I hope you'll find the articles interesting and/or helpful, and I hope you'll find a few items you like! Have a look around and come back to visit us often, we'll be adding stuff regularly and hopefully growing in different directions.