Lynn Bradakis wanted a special frame for a photo of her 6-month-old daughter, Taylor.
When she couldn’t find what she wanted in any store, she designed and made the frame herself.
When her friends saw her creation, they asked Bradakis to make them something similar or to bring their ideas to life.
“It slowly blossomed into a home-based business,” Bradakis said.
“Taylor is my grandmother’s last name, my Mom’s maiden name and my first name,” said Taylor Sumrall, Bradakis’ daughter who is grown and married now. “When it came time to name the business, my grandfather said, ‘It has to be Taylor Made.’”
Thus, Taylor Made Designs began 30 years ago.
By 2000, Bradakis decided she needed somewhere that wasn’t her house from which to sell her creations.
“Downtown Opelika was chosen as the brick-and-mortar embodiment of Taylor Made Designs, because we believe that downtown is the heart of the city and the only place we want to be the home of our brand,” Sumrall said.
Most days you’ll find Sumrall behind the counter at Taylor Made Designs.
“I obviously grew up in the business,” Sumrall said. “I’ve been around it my whole life. I always said I was going to go off to college and do something else, and I did.”
Sumrall worked for a medical device company right out of college. In 2013, both she and her mother decided it was time for a change.
“It turns out we make a great partnership,” Sumrall said. Sumrall manages the store and runs its social media campaigns, while her mother continues to design.
What they make, they sell
“We strive to make handmade jewelry and accessories so that our customers have that perfect finishing touch that doesn’t break their bank,” Sumrall said. In 2015, the mother-daughter duo added an Opelika-themed product line known as Only in Opelika to their shelves.
“There was a lack of products to celebrate the great city of Opelika,” Sumrall said. “We’ve had our souvenir products ordered and shipped away as far as Washington state and even overseas. How wonderful is it that we live in a city that stays with you even if you move away?”
This Christmas season, Taylor Made Designs will celebrate its 19th year on Opelika’s Eighth Street, right in the heart of the historic downtown area.
Shop small, shop local, shop Alabama
“A lot of people like to give nice jewelry at affordable prices for gifts,” Sumrall said, so “Christmas is one of our most fun and busy times. Fourth quarter is a huge season for anybody in retail.”
“We are asking that you take extra care this holiday shopping season to shop with small businesses,” Sumrall said.
“When I hear someone say they had trouble finding a parking spot, I hear the answered prayers of us and other business owners,” Sumrall said. “Shopping local is a big deal for us, because it is how our downtown has survived.”
“All of the wonderful collections that I can offer inside Taylor Made Designs and the products we offer as a whole are possible because our community made the decision to shop small and to shop local,” she said. “Nothing makes me happier than being able to brighten your day with a friendly conversation or wrapping up the perfect gift for a special occasion.”
Bradakis and Sumrall are grateful every day for the love and support from their customers and their city.
“Thank you for helping keep my family business a part of the downtown Opelika community,” Sumrall said.
Taylor Made Designs at 120 S. Eighth St. in Opelika is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit @tmdopelika on Facebook and Instagram to see Taylor Made Designs’ custom and handmade jewelry.
This article originally appeared in the Alabama Retailer.