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In Good @tayst

How Bay Area native Taylor St. Claire turned her doodling hobby into a living via Instagram

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Photos Courtesy of Taylor St. Claire

One of the greatest powers of social media is its international influence. Every post you see can impact you and every picture or video that you post can impact the person who views it. Companies leverage this for marketing and promoting their products as well as using individual influencers, social media personalities on platforms to communicate and share announcements, updates and entertaining content with their followers.

It is a normal part of almost every teenagers daily routine to at least once, or maybe even 100 times, scroll through their Instagram feed. Most of the time, the browsing is mindless as we scroll through images of our friends, our favorite celebrities or a relatable post. However, some have turned their accounts into a full on business front, building a following and growing their business through their profile.

For Taylor St. Claire, better known by her Instagram username @tayst, her doodles and art quickly became a large part of her life and although her posts were originally intended for just her family and friends, her personal passion for pop art was transformed into digital design. While majoring in Digital Art at the University of Oregon, St. Claire was forced to immerse herself into the world of multimedia art. Unfamiliar with the programming and applications required for her major, she began teaching herself how to use the digital tools via YouTube videos and tutorials. After graduating from Oregon and receiving a fashion degree from Parsons School of Design, with her self taught skills, St. Claire was able to merge her passion for photography and design and began posting her doodled images onto her Instagram, and in 2015 @tayst was born.

Now with 40k followers and support from roughly 81 companies, St. Claire has built her own online business. St. Claire attributes her accounts growth and exposure to collaboration. “Collaborations have been huge for me; it’s a cool way to create fun content, meet new people and get your name out there,” St. Claire said.

St. Claire’s visually stunning photographs began to attract attention when she received requests and messages from people wanting her to create art over their photos. “At first, I said yes to nearly every project that came my way,” St. Claire said. “Now that the demand is so high I have to be very particular about who I choose to work with; it has been a big learning experience for sure.”

Although St. Claire has made her living off of the popularity of her art, she still manages to stay true to her original goals and sense of artistic style. “It’s incredibly hard to stay current while also creating unique content, but I am constantly inspired by new things which spark new ideas for my art,” St. Claire said.

There is always the allure of conforming to the trends and money-making content, but according to St. Claire, “If your content isn’t natural, people won’t be interested…Stay true to yourself and your brand.” This idea is true for anyone on social media, whether it be for your business or personal account. Social media is a safe place for everyone to express themselves, so you may as well take advantage of that freedom.

Not only is St. Claire grabbing the attention of major brands like Google, Adidas and Free People, but she has gained recognition from some of the biggest names on the platform. In January of 2016, one of St. Claire’s edits was reposted by Kendall Jenner receiving over one million likes. @Tayst has been reposted by numerous stars including Cindy Crawford, Pat McGrath and Michelle Phan.

St. Claire’s love for all things 90s, fashion and doodles has helped launch her into the social media sphere, but what has kept her there is her constant drive to create new and exciting content every time she posts. “It sounds cheesy, but inspiration is literally everywhere for me,” St. Claire said. “Inspiration could easily come from movies, magazine or fashion runways – there is an endless supply of sources to get inspiration from, all you have to do is look.” From moodboards to edited GIF’s, travel diaries and brand promotion, she keeps her followers eager to see what she might come up with next. St. Claire is a positive reminder to pursue what you love and turn it into your career, and is the perfect example of someone who used the power of social media to build so much more than just a personal profile. She proves that entrepreneurship can stem from even the most specific hobbies, and it can become a success by just staying true to your own vision and working hard.