Growing up, supermom entrepreneur Taylor Bush never pictured herself as a business owner, but today she is the sole owner of Seastrand Apparel, Carpinteria’s beloved local boutique on Linden Avenue.
“I was raised under the mindset that you work for someone and get a paycheck, so this is very outside my comfort zone,” said Taylor. “I was scared to start my own business; it was one of the most unplanned things I’ve ever done but I’m so glad I did. I love what I do.”
Bush grew up with a love and admiration for fashion, but she always pictured it as more of a hobby than a career path. When she finished her master’s degree in school counseling during an economic downturn, and chose to live in Carpinteria where there weren’t many school counseling positions available, she started exploring other options. “I didn’t see myself being my own boss, but I love it. I love the challenge and I love learning more,” Taylor noted.
Being her own boss means that Bush has to juggle her business along with being a fulltime mom. “I wasn’t ready to put Addie in daycare when she was a baby and my husband works also, so I brought Addie here (to the store) with me for her first year of life,” she commented. “She influenced the baby section of the store. It’s been great being my own boss as a mother. She’s my priority and the store has allowed me lots of flexibility.”
Seastrand Apparel’s brand is a Southern California beach chic. The store carries lots of casual wear for hanging out with friends and going to dinner, but also features pieces to wear on special occasions too. “I want people to think of my store as a place where they can come and get something that works for them that’s unique, that doesn’t look like it’s from your everyday store and is well made,” said Taylor. “I want them to feel like they can come in here and feel special . . . and that we know them and that their needs are important to us. We’ll help shoppers to look their best, so they feel their best.”
Carpinteria’s close-knit community has shown Bush that it’s dedicated to supporting its local businesses. Over the years, Seastrand Apparel has experienced growth and weathered hard times, but it’s regular customers have stayed loyal. “For me, it’s really about the people. When I have someone that comes in here and leaves happy, that’s a good day for me,” she said. “I’ve had the honor and privilege of getting to see my customers through their life changes too and hear their stories. I’ve helped people find outfits for all kinds of life celebrations.” Bush keeps a binder with her client’s names, sizes and what they like. “That’s the fun part for me, when I get to really have one of those interactions with someone I’ve come to know,” said Bush. “I know they will leave happy when I know them and know what they like.”
People shop at Seastrand because they like what she carries, and because they know Bush and her contribution to the community of business owners. “I love how this town supports its local businesses. There is such an outpouring of people coming out, shopping local, eating at local restaurants. I love being a part of this community, there is so much kindness.”
In the near future, Bush plans to expand the store’s sustainably made apparel and support more companies that pay their workers a living wage. Bush wants Seastrand to stock clothing made with low impact dyes, organic cotton, and that aren’t sent to their retailers in tons of plastic. “They do tend to cost a little more,” she noted, “but caring for our planet has been an interest for me as I’ve carried on with this line of work. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Seastrand Apparel is located at 919 Linden Ave.