Flourish

Flourish with Tracy Kopfinger

“Bloom where you are planted”. We have all heard that statement a thousand times. Be above controversy and do your thing no matter what tries to thwart your plans. It’s a wonderful quote that I have said it to myself many times.

If we can bloom where we are planted can we flourish more when we are poured into, celebrated, encouraged, and empowered? When women stand behind other women what could be the outcome?

I decided about six months ago to start thinking about the women I knew who are doing great things. Women in my community who have an amazing personal style and are making things happen. Women who are doing it while raising kids and helping their aging parents or supporting their husbands careers. We look to role models that are bigger than ourselves but what about the role models that are sitting in our own backyard? The ones we sit next to in church and pass in carline. The women, next door.

This series, Flourish, is dedicated to those women.

Meet Tracy.

Photo Credit: Melissa Breedlove Photography

The first thing you notice when you meet Tracy is the impeccable way she is dressed. Even when Tracy is in her gym clothes and a parka she has this effortless, chicness that just emanates from her soul. Her smile is kind and her laugh is bold and when you talk she looks right at you. She is one of those people who is going to challenge you and you will be better because of it.

I first heard about Tracy from a mutual friend when she gave me a piece of Tracy’s Virtue Jewelry. I was immediately drawn to how different and unique the piece was. Fun fact, I still have this necklace in my jewelry collection and I plan to never let it go. Tracy’s jewelry is as distinctive as she is.

Since then I have watched Tracy’s business grow from a small ETSY shop to supplying more than 300 of boutiques around the country. She is supportive and giving to her friends but also fiercely protective of her business and her brand. I have learned a lot from her about making a product uniquely yours and having a line that is recognizable.

Q n A.

Me: I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions and some of them may be random but I want you to answer with your first instinct.
Tracy: {Laughs} ok sounds good.

M: What time do you wake up?
T: 7:00 am

M: How long have you been in business?
T: 7 years

M: How did you start your business?
T: After I had my first son I was finding myself bored with staying home. I wanted to do something else so I started an ETSY shop with beaded bracelets on elastic bands that you could slide on and off. At the time no one else was making them and I took out a loan from Andrew (husband) and my personal account to start the business.

M: Favorite thing in your home?
T: My swivel rockers

M: Word you wish people would stop using?
T: Clutch. To be honest I don’t even know what it means.

M: Describe your style in three to five words?
T: Edgy, trendy, fashion forward. I guess that is four words.

M: How has your style changed with kids?
T: I don’t think that my style has really changed. Now I just wear flats or smaller heels. Before I had kids I was wearing high heels and wedges.

M: What is an accessory you love the most?
T: My brass nugget bracelets. They are easy to wear and go with everything.

M: Name a piece of clothing you have had the longest?
T: My jeans

M: Leather or lace?
T: Leather.

M: Fur or velvet?
T: Fur.

M: Polka dots or stripes?
T: Stripes.

M: What is something you would never wear?
T: I am really up for anything so I don’t like to say never. I don’t usually wear really traditional things.

M: What is something you always have in your bag?
T: Lipstick.

M: What’s the best part of your job?
T: Two things. I love that it is flexible for my kids.  I also love that it gives me the opportunity give back to Giving Hope NOLA.

M: What is the most surprising thing in your latest collection?
T: Retro. Vintage Prints. Rainbow.

M: What is one thing you would never design? 
T: Never say never!

M: What do you love most about jewelry?
T: Bracelets.

M: What do you think is the biggest mistake people make in business?
T: I think that sometimes people don’t understand the work that goes into owning something in the fashion industry. What I do is a lot of fun but I am also up late at night talking to vendors and answering emails. It’s a lot of work.

M: Coffee or tea?
T: Coffee.

M: Favorite food?
T: Thai Food.

M: What is your guilty pleasure?
T: Netflix.

M: What is one thing you learned from your parents?
T: Honesty.

M: What is something that being married to Andrew has taught you?
T: How to invest in my business and grow as it could fund itself. He made me take a loan out from our personal account when I started my ETSY shop and then he made me pay it back. It really showed me a lot that I have used in building my business.

Photo Credit: Melissa Breedlove Photography

M: What have you learned from your kids?
T: Forgiveness and patience!

M: Biggest disappointment?
T: It’s really hard when I have to miss things for the kids. Like I know when I look back that will be something I may regret is not being at this or that.

M: What is the best life decision you have ever made?
T: To follow Jesus. Seriously. It has shaped my whole life and I really believe it has blessed my business too.

M: What is the best business decision you have ever made? 
T: Trusting Andrew with money decisions. He really has a good mind with money and it has helped me.

M: If you could make jewelry for anyone in the world who would it be?
T: Sandra Bullock.  She is so classy and beautiful.

M: Heels or sneakers?
T: Heels.

Photo Credit: Melissa Breedlove Photography

M: What do you think is the most essential foundation garment?
T: Good, supportive tank tops.

M: What do you think is one style you wish would come back? 
T: I don’t worry about what is in style. If there is something I like or makes me feel good I am going to wear it.

M: What is a trend you wish would go away?
T: Those balloon looking pants. They aren’t flattering on anyone.

M: What do you want people to know about you as a designer? 
T: I take my business very personally. I used to get really upset when people were copying my jewelry. A friend finally told me that imitation is the best form of flattery and there is enough business to go around.  Every one can make jewelry but what sets you apart is what you do with your business.

M: What is the hardest thing about being a woman in business? 
T: I have to wear 8 million hats and trying to balance everything. Especially with a husband who travels as much as Andrew does.

M: What do you want people to know about stealing intellectual property?  T: No matter what I can’t guard against it but it makes me sad.  I want to support everyone but I wish more people would just do their own thing and be creative. 

M: What is a piece of advice you would give young women about being a woman owned business?
T: Respect others and always be honest.

M: Tell me how you want to be remembered?
T: I want to be remembered for loving people and making an emotional impact outside of the four walls of my office.

Photo Credit: Melissa Breedlove Photography

Virtue and Virtue Luxe are available at boutiques around the nation as well as on their website here. Tracy’s favorite Charity is Giving Hope NOLA and you can check them out and donate here.

If you want to nominate someone to be a Flourish woman email me at wefivekingsblog@gmail.com.

XO,

Tippy

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