Taylor Bento is #MadeForKnoxville.
When Taylor was fired from her corporate job, she decided not to take it to heart — she knew she was destined for bigger and better things in her life. After all, she was a born maker.
Taylor’s abrupt departure gave her the push she needed to turn her childhood creations of bandana flip flops and seatbelt belts into a business that added value to her life and the world around her. So, she created Bags by Bento and started crafting eco-friendly, sustainable bags. But in addition to decreasing her environmental impact, Taylor hopes to remind others about the importance of chasing what truly fulfills them.
“My hope is my journey will serve as inspiration to people like me who have been through hell and have an idea they haven’t done anything about yet. I’m not a millionaire or some crazy success story (yet). I’m just a person who finally put their dream out there for the world to see. It’s only the beginning…”
In Their Own Words..
To be 100% honest, part of the reason I finally took the risk and started my own business is because two years ago I was fired from my corporate finance job. Long story short… 10/10 recommend being “let go” from a job you absolutely detest.
Let me start from the beginning. I started my first business when I was twelve. My business partner was my friend from ballet class. Creatively named after our initials “T & K Flip Flops.” We decorated flip flops with bandanas and sold them at church. My second business was a similar venture. This time, I made belts out of seatbelts I found at junkyards. I would give anything to have pictures of my creations but I’ve yet to find any! I was born to be a maker.
After college, I moved to Pemba, Mozambique and worked with a group of women who sewed purses and accessories. I was brought in to help with the business side of things but was soon roped into being a sewing apprentice. The business is “Galeria Dos Sonhos” which means “Gallery of Dreams” in Portuguese. I owe so much of what I know to the sewing room ladies!
Fast forward to last year when the pandemic hit. I was stressed out of my mind. Times were tough on everyone, including my family. My partner kept losing his job and I considered going back to work full time after taking a year off to have my second child. Every time I tried to apply for a job I would have a panic attack. The fear of being trapped in a situation that made me feel less than human held me back. I started crocheting to relieve anxiety. Something clicked one day and I started to remember all my little businesses and how I LOVE making things. I’ve had thousands of ideas over the years and I knew I just needed to commit to one.
My hope is my journey will serve as inspiration to people like me who have been through hell and have an idea they haven’t done anything about yet. I’m not a millionaire or some crazy success story (yet). I’m just a person who finally put their dream out there for the world to see. It’s only the beginning…
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