Q&A: Mahogany Taylor, CEO, Mahogany Construction and Design
1. In a few sentences tell us a little about your business — the clients you serve and the services you provide.
IIIAHOGANY is a small African American female-owned construction and design firm in the city of Atlanta, with a recognized career of more than 20 years in commercial and residential interior design, general contracting, property preservation and renovation. We design, build, renovate, and preserve residential and commercial spaces. I have worked with community development programs and agencies, with the City of Atlanta as a tier 2 contractor and as a tier 1 contractor for Invest Atlanta. My design/construction expertise, attention to detail, and professional performance has allowed me to manage numerous successful projects. A few of the projects include the 5th Street Sinkhole Repair, Roadway and Bridge Collapse Repair at Nancy Creek & Wes Wesley. My previous professional experience includes successfully managing the construction of the Heritage Owner-Occupied Rehab Program with city of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta.
2. Describe the moment you decided to start your business and what was the inspiration behind it?
I had been running my adopted dad’s Goodyear business,and one day he asked if I had all the money in the world what would I get up and do every day. I said that’s easy, I’d renovate and decorate houses. He said then that’s what you should be doing. While at the time I wasn’t formally trained, I was born into a family of builders and designers,and it was in my DNA. I’d had a passion for it since my early teens. I was known for decorating, and I had been doing it for myself and for friends and family but not professionally. My dad sat me down and talked to me about how to start my own business. He gave me my first job renovating his Goodyear stores as well as the nursery and Pastor Study in the church he pastored. Shortly after, I started acquiring clientele from those jobs and I acquired my first commercial project.
3. All great businesses, at their core, are providing solutions to life’s challenges. What challenges does your business aim to solve for your customers/clients?
In addition to providing luxury interior design services and innovative construction solutions to commercial and private clients, I’m also passionate about my people and my community. I’m always looking to employ the talented and the economically disadvantaged to foster opportunities for success, particularly for women in the construction industry. My latest project is founding a non-profit for men and women that are non-violent offenders reentering society to learn a skill and/or trade in construction and help them become gainfully employed. I’m also investing in real estate to provide affordable housing for economically disadvantaged families and providing free renovation services to seniors in lower income communities.
4. What does being a founder/entrepreneur mean to you?
Being an entrepreneur is about the freedom to explore options that you may not be able to explore while working for someone else. It’s about creating, making a difference, building,and starting something. Creating something that can help others to accomplish their goals as well as your own. Making a difference in someone’s economic stability by providing opportunity and an income. Entrepreneurship is also about taking risks that other people aren’t willing to take. It’s being driven by passion, vision and confidence and a willingness to constantly adapt changes in order to succeed. There is no greater shot of adrenaline than the one you receive after reaching a goal and knowing you worked extremely hard to get to that point.
5. We know that founders of color face a number of challenges in not only creating but successfully operating their own business. As efforts are made nationally and globally to address racial inequity across industries, what role do you believe founders of color can have?
In this current climate of awareness nationally and globally on the effects of racial inequality, it is founders of color responsibility to set the tone and help progress change in their respective industries. Building a racial equity culture is not a linear path. It is a gradual build in cross cultural knowledge and skills,and dialogue on race, racism,and race equity.
6. Is there a founder of color, historically or present day, who inspires you? And why?
I find my inspiration from several people; Tyler Perry, H. J. Russell,and Oprah Winfrey to name a select few. What all three of them have in common is they overcame adversity. Not only enough to be functional in society and semi-successful, but enough to birth something that affected the world around them. I admire them because they all are strong and resilient. Each started with almost nothing, and they were told they couldn’t do things that they ultimately succeeded at doing. They persevered and prospered, ignoring the doubt of others and in their mind. They achieved success beyond their dreams and transformed not only their lies but everybody around them, and that is what I aspire to do. 7. What’s your one piece of advice to someone who dreams of becoming a founder/entrepreneur? My advice to anyone who dreams of becoming a founder or an entrepreneur is have a vision, challenge yourself, and do the work that you love and are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Always be learning an expanding. Build a team that shares your vision. Find a mentor. You don’t always have to figure everything out by yourself. Be financially wise, even if you’re generating great revenue.
7. What’s your one piece of advice to someone who dreams of becoming a founder/entrepreneur?
My advice to anyone who dreams of becoming a founder or an entrepreneur is have a vision, challenge yourself, and do the work that you love and are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Always be learning an expanding. Build a team that shares your vision. Find a mentor. You don’t always have to figure everything out by yourself. Be financially wise, even if you’re generating great revenue.
Learn more about Mahogany Construction and Design by visiting their website: mahogany.us.