A different kind of display

Tailored Yard Signs seen in FD

-Submitted photo
This welcome sign was provided by Tailored Yard Signs for the first day of school at Fort Dodge Middle School on Aug. 24.

When students at Fort Dodge Middle School returned for class on Aug. 24 , they received a welcome they probably didn’t expect.

The welcome came in the form of a decorative yard sign that displayed the words ‘welcome back FDMS.’ It was provided by Tailored Yard Signs, a sign rental company operated by Fort Dodge native Angelika Taylor Woods, the daughter of Bishop Madai Taylor.

“They loved it,” said Woods, who has lived in Memphis, Tennessee, for the past nine years. “The kids, they just automatically knew to take a picture of next to it. It’s a scary year to come back to school so it’s a nice welcome and you get a photo op. It was free because I wanted them to have it.”

The sign was the first one Woods had placed in Fort Dodge. Woods, a 2004 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate, wanted to bring a different way to greet people in Fort Dodge.

“We thought it would be a nice way to welcome kids back that first day,” said Jennifer Lane, Fort Dodge Community School District director of communications and community relations. “We appreciated the offer to have the signage there to welcome them back. It’s always nice to have something out of the ordinary that they can experience and look forward to.”

Principal Aaron Davidson agreed.

“The sign was an awesome way to welcome students and staff back to school,” he said. “I saw some students taking selfies and group shots with it the morning of the first day of school. It was nice to generate some additional excitement around the first day.”

Woods was inspired to rent the signs in Fort Dodge after seeing the trend in Memphis.

“The pandemic has made it hard to come together and celebrate people,” Woods said. “These yard signs give everyone a way to celebrate not only by their friends and families but their communities.

“It spreads positivity and forces people to recognize you. It helps you be celebrated. The world, with being quarantined and in the house, you feel closed off from the world. It’s just a breath of fresh air. That’s how I feel about it.”

Woods said the signs have almost become an alternative to greeting cards in Memphis.

“It’s really popular here,” Woods said. “Nobody gives Hallmark cards, they are in the yard.”

She said the signs can been used for a number of occasions including: birthdays, a congratulations, open houses and more.

“Neighbors see it and they tell you ‘happy birthday’ or ‘you beat cancer,'” Woods said. “It’s really uplifting. It really is. People have battles you don’t even know about.”

The yard decorations have also been used for less traditional celebrations.

“Even when people get divorced, people put ‘happy divorce’ in their yard,” Woods said. “Anything you can think of they put in their yard.”

Woods holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Iowa. She earned her master’s degree in public relations from Southern New Hampshire University. She’s a full-time media relations specialist for a utility company in Memphis.

She hopes her entrepreneurial spirit in starting the sign business as a side job will inspire others.

“It can be done,” she said. “Entrepreneurship and having an idea — just go for it. It can be hope for people to have an idea and just take a leap.”

The cost to rent a sign starts at $95. The signs can be customized to the customer’s liking.

The signage is placed in the customer’s yard for 24 hours unless requested for longer.

Her family helps her operate the business.

“It will actually be my mother (Michelle Taylor) who puts it in the yard,” Woods said. “She goes and puts it the evening so they can enjoy it for a full 24 hours.”

Woods said it was something she wanted to have offered in Fort Dodge.

“I could have started it anywhere but I wanted to start it in my hometown,” she said. “I saw the effects of it and how people were uplifted and loved it. Our community was missing it and wasn’t anything like it.”

Woods is planning to do more of the signs for special causes in the community.

“I want to do a ‘heroes work here’ or ‘you are essential’ at the hospital,” Woods said. “It’s positive messaging in the community.”


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