After working as a builder for many years, Taylor saw a huge gap in the New Zealand housing market and decided to go out on limb and chase his dreams. Enter Tiny by Taylor. One man, setting out to revolutionise the way people vacation across the country.
Today we met with Taylor to find out more about what sparked the idea and how he is driving it forward.
Hi Taylor. Thanks for meeting with us. Tell me a little bit about Tiny by Taylor
We first got involved in creating tiny homes in 2017 as a stepping stone for people trying to get onto the property ladder. As well as being substantially cheaper, they still offer basically everything you need in a normal house which makes it economical and a more practical way of living. They also generally don't need a building consent which interests a lot of people here in New Zealand.
Not only are they an economical alternative to standard housing, we’ve tapped into the market of recreational accommodation, creating bespoke alternatives to caravans. The idea of a caravan doesn't appeal to many people because the space is often cramped with little windows and small appliances and utilities. When we saw this gap in the market that we knew it was something we had to explore.
What were you doing before this?
I was working as a builder of regular homes but was sick and tired of the repetitiveness. I was bored of doing things by the book. This was an opportunity to create my own product and get it out into the market. I'm driven by the idea of seeing my own products being used by Kiwis and maybe one day, even the world. Seeing the response so far has been pretty cool.
What was the opportunity you decided to chase?
I first thought about the idea of building tiny homes when I was living in a caravan in Portugal. Despite having all the basics in that caravan, I knew that there had to be something better. Even though they were already a thing, I knew that my creative ingenuity and experience as a builder could potentially make them better. I totally went out on a limb and decided to give it a shot.
To say it was difficult at first would be an understatement. There was a huge outlay at the start, particularly when building the first one as I was making it up as I went. But as we've gone, we are learning heaps along the way and getting better incrementally. Now we've sold a few I'm still working out how to make this a profitable business model, but . There is still lots to learn as far as process goes, but we are enjoying the journey and I've never felt more alive.
What made you decide to break away from the herd?
I always liked the idea or had the dream of having a workshop at home. To create flexibility when it comes to family and to be able to create a pleasurable environment to work in. I figure that you spend most of your daylight hours at work so why not make it a pleasant place to be unlike some building sites you can be on in all types of weather. It's a bit like having a decent bed. You are going to spend half your life in it, so you better make sure it's a good one.
I could never give up being on the tools, it's in my blood, so the thought of being confined to an office makes my spine tingle. I've tried it once before and I can tell you that it wasn’t for me. I like to keep my hands busy. So whilst I knew it was a huge risk to go out on my own, I just needed to do it. And at the end of the day, if it all fails, I've still got a pretty awesome caravan to use.
What is the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me is having to design as I go. I've never done anything like this before, and given its such a new thing, there isn't exactly a user manual on how to do things. There is a lot of trial and error and I have to keep being extremely adaptive in my approach to trialling different materials and techniques. On the first one we built, the cladding we used wasn't very practical as it was too heavy and moved with the changing weather, but it was a good lesson, which we corrected for the second one. I always knew things wouldn't be perfect from the get go, but the experience of learning on the job is what keeps me motivated and excited to be doing this.
And what's been your biggest success?
Seeing the finished product and when the client sees the finished product I feel incredibly proud for what I've created. It's an awesome feeling which I would never have felt if I was stuck in the same, old monotonous routine that I was a few years ago. I keep having "lightbulb" moments, often when I'm in bed in the middle of the night. Sometimes the best ideas come when you least expect them.
No regrets whatsoever. We haven't cracked it yet, so there is still always the element of just hoping things will work out but we just keep charging forward. It's the dream and it's what I want to do, so I'm going to make it happen.
Advice to anyone ready to do the same?
Just do it. Back yourself but also make sure you've got a support network around you, I’ve been super lucky to have the support of my partner and family who have been instrumental in helping me chase the dream. If you've got an idea, if you can't stop thinking about something, then it’s worth pursuing. If you keep at it, there is no doubt that you will get the outcome you want.
If you would like to find out more about Tiny by Taylor, check out his website at https://www.tinybytaylor.co.nz/