International Women's Day is a time to celebrate and acknowledge the remarkable achievements of women around the world. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re launching #WomenOfTheWest — a series of interviews where we’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with remarkable and inspiring women of the Western community and knowing their unique journeys, challenges, and triumphs.
For our first installment, we invited Jordan Fry Taylor (AKA @painted.mtn.mare) — a wife, mother of two, licensed vet tech (LVT), part-time model, and successful woodworking business owner — to share her story with us.
Hi, Jordan! We really appreciate you coming here for an interview. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My name is Jordan Taylor. Born and raised in the mountains of Virginia. In a county so small, we don't even have a stoplight. I had the most simple and adventurous childhood on our farm, raising cattle and horses. I was the only girl among three boys, and I always found myself doing all the things they did. Often I am asked if I ever wished I had a sister. My answer has always been the same: I wouldn't change a thing. I am who I am today because of them.
How’d you get into woodworking?
Growing up with boys, I was never afraid to operate a tractor, hop on a dirt bike, run a saw, chop wood, etc. I've actually always loved to do those things. The inside “lady” chores were not exactly my thing. In high school, I signed up for a class a little too late and I was sort of “stuck” in carpentry for a year since they had availability there. I think I might have complained at the time because I was unable to take the class I wanted but in retrospect, I totally see it as one of those moments from God telling me, “I've got bigger plans for you, sister — just you wait.”
We’re curious — how did you go from licensed vet tech to woodworker?
Growing up on a farm had very much given me a big appreciation for animal healthcare. I became an LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician) and began working full-time after school. Years later, after marriage and kids is when I really discovered a creativity in me that I never even would have imagined existed. Anyone who is a mother knows how much children change your life in so many ways. Long hours at the vet's office, unpredictable hours, lots of travel, finding a babysitter, etc., all made me dig down and explore ways to make an income from home.
One day, I saw a friend post a photo of a mosaic her mother-in-law had made for her. I messaged her asking about it and said, “Wow, if she ever sells those, I would love to buy one.” Days went by, and I kept looking at that mosaic, thinking to myself, “I bet I could make that myself.” And so I did. With only a piece of plywood lattice that I tore apart, and with my firstborn, who was 6 months old at the time, I built my first mosaic. From there, the inquiries never ended. I soon realized how I COULD make an income from home and be with my kids.
Wow, that’s amazing! Can you talk us through your creative process? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mosaics are so very fun and interesting. I have found many sources of inspiration. Some are works of other incredible artists, or a blanket design, fabric pattern, etc. Sometimes I start with a blank canvas and just make it up as I go. Those end up being some of my favorite pieces.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
The best thing that's happened to me… That's a really hard one for me to pinpoint because it's ALL been amazing. The connections to brands and people, the flexibility of my job, convenience, getting to call my creative outlet a “job”... If I had to choose a single moment, I would say the greatest achievement thus far is being featured in Cowgirl Magazine this year. To me, I still feel like a small town cowgirl, and I, more often than not, have to pinch myself and say, “I'M ACTUALLY DOING THIS.”
Well, it’s well-deserved, that’s for sure! How about the challenges and hardships you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge for me is finding time to work. Between working part-time as an LVT still, raising two little boys, and my husband's shift work schedule, I am very much limited for “shop days.”
Juggling a business and a career while being a mother of two rowdy boys… We’re really amazed at how you can do all this. Are there any challenges you face that other people might not realize/think of?
I think social media is amazing and surely is where I get most of my business traction so I have a huge appreciation for it in that sense. But I also feel as though the day-to-day challenges are hidden behind smiling faces and a “pretty picture” that is painted.
I hope I can always be transparent and show others that it's not always easy sailing. I schedule work days around my husband's days off. He works shift work (12-hour shifts), so there are some weeks where I have 3 potential shop days and some weeks where I have no time at all. There have been times when one or both of my boys get sick, resulting in me not being able to work for one or all of my shop days for the week. The flexibility of owning my own business is one of the things I love most, but it surely doesn't make things easy… It's difficult when I have customers expecting a product by a certain time, and that has to be postponed for any particular reason. Anyone who has followed me for any period can see how much I share about my personal life on top of woodworking. I always want my customers and followers to know that I am not just @painted.mtn.mare but a human, a mom, and a wife, and I am trying to navigate through life just like anyone else.
How do you balance being a mother alongside running a business and all the other numerous projects that you work on?
Balance. I still don't know if I have the right balance or if that even exists. I do know this. I have my toes in a lot of things right now; woodworking, vet med, modeling (I say that loosely because really I just stand in front of a camera for my sister-in-law on occasion).
I really believe that having such variety in my life keeps me refreshed and spontaneous. Tackling a family alongside those things has definitely had its challenges. I've learned to give myself so much grace over the past few years. I used to get so frustrated when I didn't meet deadlines. It really boils down to my family coming first above all else. I have such an understanding customer base that always respects that and gives me grace as well.
I have to give credit to my support system here too. My husband never has a day off. If he's not working his job, he's full-on dad mode and not afraid to pick up a vacuum or mop when I've been too busy to do those things myself. That is HUGE. We very much make a team. He's my biggest supporter and encourager, and undoubtedly, I could not do what I do without him. Our moms and babysitter (Kasey AKA ‘SuperMom’) are truly Godsends and help us out as often as they can. Lastly, my friends who are also mothers or business owners (or both) that I lean on so very often. We have walked side by side in many adventures of life, and it's awesome to surround yourself with friends who have big goals for themselves and you. We just build each other up and motivate one another.
It really is a big help to have such a great support system in your life, especially since you have such a busy daily routine. After a long day, how do you wind down?
There's nothing that brings me more peace than the days spent in the saddle. My “unwinding” involves some Southern gospel, saddle bags loaded with some cold yellow jackets, and a handful of fellow saddle sisters roaming through the Dickerson Ridges. That's my heaven.
What advice would you give to women aspiring to start their own businesses in the Western industry?
I think that the Western industry is the most wonderful space. I have found so many incredible people with the biggest hearts to share their knowledge and encourage me along the way. So much has to be trial and error or learn as you go, but having someone in your same situation can be so very helpful in those hard times. Find that group of people and cling to them. It's a lot of weight on your shoulders, and if you are like me, you never are off the clock. A good support system can make or break you, truly.
Also, you have to keep the mentality that what you make, create, sell, build, etc., won't be for everyone, but stay true to what's important to you, and your kind of customer will find you.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
The month of March, I am spending a lot of time doing things that aren't so much on a deadline but are more for fun. I have a dining table to build for myself and some projects for friends. At the end of the month, I will be working on my largest project to date. It will be for my church, and I couldn't be more excited about it. It will be 10ft tall and roughly 24ft wide!!
That sounds super exciting! As always, we’ll be sure to stay tuned for your future projects.
A Tour Inside Jordan’s Beautiful Rustic Home
In this section, Jordan takes us behind the scenes and into her home where all the magic happens. Let’s take a closer look…
How do you describe your home and its aesthetic?
I am not sure what my home’s aesthetic is. Considering 95% of my home is made up of Paseo Road, it's definitely rustic. I would say primarily western for sure but I've started leaning toward the earthy/Japandi vibes and tones. What do we call that? Earthy-Western?
This may sound like we’re tooting our own horn, but your home looks absolutely gorgeous! 😍 What made you go for this style?
This style is just so well incorporated into our way of life. We spend most of our time outdoors; hunting, riding horses, farming, etc. It’s what makes us happy, and it’s only fitting that we bring that vibe inside as well.
Whole-heartedly agree! Speaking of things that make you happy, what are your favorite pieces in your home?
Recreate this look with Ranch Life Quilt Set
My favorite piece is ever-changing, for sure. I love the headboard in my son's room the most. A close second is the OG of PMM mosaics that hang in my shop. Looking at it now, I laugh at how poor the quality is, but it is so cool to see how much I have changed and grown as an artist.
Hope you don’t mind us asking, but can you share which Paseo Road products are your favorite?
To be entirely honest, there's not been a single piece from PR that I haven't fallen in love with. My current favorites are my bedding set:
- Tempe Matelassé Bedding Set
- Huntsman Fawn Throw Pillow
- Whitetail Deer Linen Pillow
- Stonewashed Cotton Canvas Coverlet
I do absolutely love my dinnerware too:
Want to steal her look? You can find all of Jordan’s favorite pieces on her personally curated collection page.
Lovin’ your choices! Which is your favorite room in your house?
Recreate this look with Patina Dinnerwear Set
My favorite room in my house has to be my dining room. It's the first room you see when you enter my home. The dining table was made by my husband; the dining chairs, I completely redid — a cow skull with a mosaic around it. Just the whole vibe makes me so happy, and it's even cooler that it was made by my and my husband's hands.
What does home mean to you?
Home is my family at the dinner table, looking out any window in my house and seeing horses and farmland, watching my little boys ride their side by side around the house or to their grandparents’ house right down the driveway, holding hands while we walk to the pond, cooking dinner with two little boys pushing up chairs to help, climbing into our king sized bed at night with two little boys wiggling their way between us.
Home has always been this farm for me. I was born and raised on the same farm I am raising my kids on. There's no place on this earth that means more to me.
Thank you for painting such a lovely mental image for us. You truly have a beautiful home — both in the literal and figurative sense.
And that concludes our interview with Jordan Taylor! If you’re interested in reaching out to her, you can check out her website or her social media page below: