Alumni, Campus wide, Christian Studies, College of Christian Studies

Alumna brings beauty to her world

By Jan Joslin | July 13, 2021
Taylor Irby runs an interior design business, Courtney Taylor Styled, in addition to her nonprofit
Taylor Irby runs an interior design business, Courtney Taylor Styled, in addition to her nonprofit. Photo by Tiffani Jones Photography

Taylor Irby ‘09 runs East of These, a nonprofit; Courtney Taylor Styled, an interior design business; co-founded June Taylor Shop, a home brand, and is mom to 10-year-old Inslee and 8-year-old Anderson. She has lived in Lakeland, Florida, for eight years and uses her creativity to write and style for local publications through Courtney Taylor Styled and works as a commissioned artist through local establishments in the area. She and her family are members of Trinity Presbyterian Church where they enjoy a close-knit community of believers who support and love them.

East of These employs chronically homeless women to help them get back on their feet. She said, “I want to thank CSU for investing in my life so that I can pour out to others the way they poured out for me.” 

Creation of East of These

East of These was born out of an organic need within our community as we made apparel items for families in our church. We donated a portion of the proceeds to the Florida Baptist Children’s Home and quickly realized that we were a fruitful bridge between our community to this organization by making these products. We have always desired for the creation of our products to have a greater purpose that gives back to our community.

Promotional photo for East of These headbands
Promotional photo for East of These headbands. Photo by Melissa Claire Photography Lakeland

Our business name is a play on words from the phrase in the Bible “the least of these.” The cardinal direction is normally associated with being the home of the outcast, marginalized, or impoverished, and yet we desire to go to those dark places where we find those who are in need of a glorious light – a sunrise! 

Offering Income Opportunities

East Of These employs recovering women who have completed a sewing internship through Repurpose Art Studio in Lakeland’s inner city through Gospel Inc. Ministries. This program offers dignified income opportunities for the women who complete this program as well as a sewing machine of their own and assistance with subsidized living opportunities. 

Taylor Irby and her children, Inslee and Anderson
Taylor Irby and her children, Inslee and Anderson. Photo by Tiffani Jones Photography

We have been welcomed into this amazing organization to help the women earn a fair wage while utilizing their new skills. We are honored to employ anywhere from 4-8 women every week through Gospel Inc. 

Being the Bridge

We are thrilled that we can bring retailers high quality, custom, sustainable products, that are made by women who are in need within our community. We love that we get to experience God’s goodness as the bridge between these two groups within our community as they now have access to mutually encourage one another through their work. 

Bringing Beauty to God’s World

We believe that God desires to bring beauty to his people and to this world. As partakers in his work, we have seen the therapeutic qualities of making a beautifully crafted product and the fruit of that creation blessing others as well. 

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