I stumbled across Tracy's work on Etsy. Tracy both sells timeless vintage pieces as well as creating one-of-a-kind designs with vintage materials. She immediately signed up for the Chicago Uniform Project challenge and donate a handful of amazing pieces that I'll be sporting throughout the month and then posting on the BUY IT YOURSELF page of my site.
Be sure to visit that page to get your own TRACYBURTON piece with proceeds going toward Chicago Uniform Project! I'll also have a couple of Tracy Burton gift cards to give away to donors so just by showing your support, you might walk away with some baubles of your own.
I asked Tracy a few questions about her work below:
[SLB] How long have you had been selling under the Tracy Burton name?
[TB} 2.5 yrs
[SLB] Do you make the pieces you sell? What's your process like?
[TB] Half of my business is pieces I create and the other 100% vintage. The items I design, the components are all vintage findings - sometime I break jewelry, find random items or leave the piece as is and simply enhance it.
I just got into consignment and find there is some amazing items people have hidden. Now, they want to pass it on to someone else.
Unfortunately, I could not describe my process - it is more like I design on a whim. If I find an item, then I see how it complements something I already have in my stock. However, when I start working; I lose all track of time.
[TB] Etsy is a great community. The site is very easy to use and its members are very helpful. You can email a fellow shop owner, ask a question and you will always get a response. Yet, Etsy itself is not very responsive if you have a question, so again, you can rely on the community to help.
[SLB] What are the challenges of running an Etsy store? Would you ever open a "brick and mortar" boutique?
My aim is to open a studio in 2012. This space will serve as a workspace, meeting place and a store. It will be in a loft space in river north, chicago - an artsy section. At one time, I dreamed of having a store, yet in this day and age not very practical. However, my loft will be able to let those in the know to have a wonderful real-time shopping experience. While, the rest of the world can have a virtual one 24/7.
[SLB] Do you have a style icon or favorite fashion era?
[TB] I love this question...Jackie O. brought taste on many levels to the States, plus introduced Americans to designers from europe. I appreciate her easy and comfort when she wore a simple turtleneck, Hermes belt and jeans during the day. Then, wore a couture dress at night. She demonstrated style independence.
Madonna - She represents an evolution of style. Not only did she influence the public, she was able to give young designers a chance like Jean Paul Galtier. She had the ability to express herself in her videos and the world would respond by emulating her fashions. Plus, she always keeps you guessing...brilliant.
I cannot give you one era, I love them all...except the early 90s grunge/heroin chic.
[SLB] Favorite independent Chicago boutique?
[TB] ikram - she continues the legacy of the late owner of ULTIMO [located on oak st for 30yrs] - Joan Weistein. Ikram worked under Joan, was an amazing sales person and had an amazing eye. Ikram brings top designers and european talent to chicago, so we are able to see what is going on in the world of fashion. She definately has her own point of view which I appreciate.