Photos Courtesy of Taylor Mason
Taylor Mason developed a love for tacos while attending Pepperdine University on a basketball scholarship. When she was not playing, the Chicago-born and bred future entrepreneur would become known as the team cook with her signature Taco Tuesdays. In 2014, while away from school, she curated an artist showcase called “The VIBE Collective,” where she sold the first Taylor’s Tacos for $1. After a sell-out event with lines wrapped around the block to experience her culinary creation, she realized she was on to something big.
In 2018 Taylor and her wife, Maya Mason, officially launched the company when they moved into their own private commercial kitchen within The Hatchery, a non-profit food and beverage incubator. Taylor’s Tacos has since become a successful pop-up catering company specializing in authentic street-style tacos. In March 2022, they opened TAYLORED, their own commercial space. Since then, there’s been no stopping the taco twosome.
PrideIndex recently borrowed a few minutes from Taylor Mason via email; below is what she shared about their business.
PrideIndex (PI): How did you develop the taco concept and winning recipe?
Taylor Mason (TM): HA! The winning recipe tickles me. Honestly, it was the epitome of fusion. I decided to take an authentic Mexican street-style taco and mash it with the idea of a “Black taco.” A Mexican taco is comprised of a handmade corn tortilla, butchered meat, cilantro, onion, lime, and salsa. A “Black taco” is made with a flour tortilla, well-seasoned meat, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, and we got to have that sour cream! Taylor’s Tacos are made with a crisped corn tortilla, well-seasoned protein or veggie, our infamous secret salsa made with Mexican crema, cilantro, cotija cheese, and a squeeze of lime! Our seafood and veggie tacos come with Maya’s pickled red cabbage, named after my wife, who solidified the recipe.
PI: What was the most significant obstacle you faced in starting your business/how did you overcome it?
TM: The most significant obstacle was actually doing it! The first Taylor’s taco was made in 2014, but I didn’t officially launch the business until 2018. Officially, I took myself down to city hall to get the proper licensing needed to become a certified LLC. I knew I had to be all-in to take this “hobby” to a business. I had to quit my job and trust the process so that I could be available for what this work called for.
PI: What is it like to work with your spouse?
TM: Oh, man! Working with your spouse is not for the weak! That is why Maya now runs everything at the TAYLORED event space, and I run everything at the Taco Shop. We collaborate when necessary, but we have learned over the last seven years that we are both leaders and sometimes do not always want to follow. We have the space to say that now because we have options with staff and more money to outsource. When it was just us with barely two nickels to rub together, we had to be very resourceful and find a way to make it work. The biggest advice I can give is to respect each other’s strengths, and you have to know what battles are worth fighting.
PI: How do you prevent disagreements from your business from carrying over into your home life?
TM: One thing I love about Maya is that she has perfected the art of self-care. I am all about the business and slowly learning to separate myself from the company. We learned what happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen — and if you give your all like you’re supposed to– you should be too tired to bring it home anyway!
PI: What’s next on the horizon for Taylor Tacos?
TM: Wow! First thing first is that we are getting this taco shop open. The official soft opening is Taco Tuesday, April 4, 2023. We expect the grand opening to be around the first or second week of May. We want to take it one day at a time but live our days to create for our tomorrows.