Going down to Charleston, there was someone I needed to meet in person. After following him on Instagram @steubanks and learning of his new start up, Rutledge Social, after leaving the infamous Social Primer... I knew I had to make his acquaintance. I hope you all enjoy this special interview with Taylor Eubanks as much as I did.
So tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm Taylor Eubanks, and I'm 25. Just turned 25, so I'm kind of far enough out of college and into the real world now and there's no turning back. I was formerly with Social Primer and now I am starting my own company called Rutledge Social. We are a management consulting firm for social media: for businesses. So we will do everything; from actually running their accounts, to helping them prepare their ad strategy, to training their people to do work in house. But we are very much geared towards social media because that's what I really got attracted to while at SP. To become SP's salesman and help be the voice of the brand, it was really a turning point for me to focus on that area and field.
Tell us about your time at Social Primer, and exactly how did you land there?
Through social media. I actually sent Cooper a tweet, funny enough, and he had just shown in New York for New York Fashion Week in 2012. After I told him I really wanted to work for SP and thought he was brilliant and (that I) would love to be his student that kind of thing, he sent me a message back. He said if I was serious to send him my resumé and he would send me a message back once he was back in Charleston. So I sent it, and I heard back from one of his assistants a few days later. I had an interview and was offered a job right there on the spot. And thus began my career at SP. So, it was a wild ride.
One of the earliest ways I remember finding out about you was through a photo of you and Cooper in NYC, taken by F.E. Castleberry for Unabashedly Prep.
The best was, we get into New York, and we arrive dressed from the plane ride because what else do you do for a plane ride, you get dressed. So we get off the plane and immediately drop our bags at this fantastic home, a good friend of Cooper's is willing to bring us into when we come to town. And we immediately went to the Carlisle and met F.E and also met Lisa Birnbach, who wrote "The Official Preppy Handbook". And Lisa was fantastic, Fred and I have met a few times and I really like him. Fred is an awesome guy, but it was really cool to get to meet Lisa because I know she is very private and things like that. It was nice to be, I guess introduced to her, and have her receive me so warmly because I was nobody at that table. So it was cool, you know, to sit there with the big shots. Have drinks and crack jokes. It was really neat.
So, tell us about Rutledge Social.
It's my new baby. Apparently I have the tendency to just jump head first into things. And thankfully it has worked thus far for me because I probably should have never gone into fashion by most people's accounts and did, and should not be going into starting my own business and I am, because that's kind of how I, I don't know; once something is in my mind that's just what I go after. So, I was actually in Georgia on a potential business trip and was talking to my girlfriend (sorry ladies, he is taken) over the phone we were kind of joking about doing a social media company and the more we talked about it, the more it made sense. We just evaluated it with where we are at in life, where Charleston is right now and how it is growing. Also the way social media is taking over such a big influential part of how business is done, how communication is done, not only in Charleston but around the world. It really seemed like a natural fit for us. So it was one of those things that we went from joking about, to actually drawing up the contract that night; you know, designed the logo right on the cocktail napkin, that kind of thing. So it was really cool how it has all come together the last 3-4 weeks. We just got our LLC paperwork back from the Federal Government, state government, and next we are meeting with Charleston and getting everything tied up there and then we are off to the races.
And my girlfriend is definitely a good business partner. She is actually my boss, she hustled me for 51%. She's smart man.
While working in fashion, what became the biggest influence on your own personal style for dressing everyday?
I think for me it was recognizing the rules. Which for a lot of people, especially when you get into more couture and high end stuff, the rules are there but are definitely broken and pushed. And that's why we have those things. But for me, it was really getting an essence and fundamental level of what are the ways a man should be dressing up, how should he be dressing himself, and for me it always goes back to more traditional stuff, because, when he said it the first time, it really resonated with me, and its the fact that as guys we are blessed because we have such an easy uniform. It doesn't take much effort at all for a guy to look really well put together and although it may not be everybody's cup of tea to have on a shirt and tie, you can't go anywhere and not be appropriate in that; but there are plenty of places you can go and be inappropriate in jeans and a t-shirt. So, I would rather ere on the side of caution and be prepared. Plus, for better or worse, first impressions mean a lot these days, especially when most people can't even be bothered to look up from their cellphones, it's really important to make a strong first impression. And I think that has a lot to do with it. And vanity is, unfortunately I guess, very prominent in this day and time. So, you want people to perceive you in a certain light and to be positive about your visual perceptions, especially when you're trying to start a business and you're trying to do all of these things. So, I think it does help at the end of the day to take care of yourself and take pride in your appearance. I think for me that is the main thing, I do it for myself before anybody else because I realize what I'm bringing to the table and that is much easier for someone else to recognize right off the bat, if I look put together opposed to sloppy. It doesn't matter how smart I am and how many ideas I have. If I'm not going to be taken seriously, from a person's first judgement, I'm already behind/out of the game. So it helps me get a leg up. It also helps me be that much more confident in myself, and other people are that much more confident in me.
Plus it's fun. I'm kind of like a girl in that respect. My girlfriend loves it, you know, because when I come back from Charleston (right now I'm back and forth between Charleston and upstate) and I have a bag of shoes and a bag of ties, it's hilarious. She asks "Are you playing dress up?" and I respond "Noooooo". I mean I'm in Charleston of all places, I have to dress right.
What is the one thing in a man's closet that has to be there when you live in Charleston?
In Charleston, I think the one thing it would have to be is seersucker, in some way shape or form. Also, if you can afford them, or if you can be lucky enough like most people, which I wholly support, is to find a pair of Gucci's Horsebit loafers. I got mine on Etsy's and I have no problem saying that because they are great and I only paid $100 for them. So I don't care! But I've heard stories of buddies who have found Gucci's at Goodwill down here. I have 2 Christian Dior jackets that I got from Goodwill down here. My good friend Andrew who runs a blog out of Charleston, he actually found this amazing Burberry double breast tuxedo that he paid like $20-$30 for. I mean it's foolish. But I mean it definitely goes back to seersucker. It really is a staple, you have to have that somewhere in your wardrobe to live in Charleston in some way, shape, or form. That's been the biggest thing, especially with my girlfriend. She just moved down from Manhattan and so it's black, black, and a little more black. And so we were actually shopping yesterday afternoon and I said "you know you have to get some seersucker right? You've been down here almost a year, you have to get seersucker sweetheart. At some point, people are going to ostracize you if they don't see you in seersucker." For better or worst, that's just how it is. Seersucker and Gucci, welcome to Charleston.
A big thank you to Taylor Eubanks for taking the time from his schedule for an interview with little ol' me. A Charlestonian gentlemen through-and-through. Until next time.