Check out our latest Five for Friday with Tracy Matthews
Where do you find design inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. As a private jeweler, the design process starts intuitively with my customers in mind. My personal design aesthetic is influenced by gemstones, travel, nature and vintage elements.
How would you describe your style?
Modern eclectic. I love fashion and mixing different pieces to in unusual ways. Like many women, I own a ridiculous number of shoes.
If you could have dinner with someone (dead/alive) who would it be?
My mother. She passed away 26 years ago and I'd love to see her again.
What is some professional advice you received that helped you navigate your career?
Do what you love and spend more time expanding your gifts and strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses and challenges. I spent the early part of my career doing mostly things that I wasn't really that good at as an entrepreneur and founder. As I was rebuilding my business, I decided to hire the support system around myself to fill in my weaknesses so I could spend more time being creative and doing the things that actually grow my businesses.
What advice would you give someone trying to get into your profession?
Be different. Clarify your brand and message. Come to the table with a unique design perspective. Always be innovating. Get outside eyes on your business and ask for help.
Many emerging designers and brands don't value investing in themselves and their success early on. As you launch. grow and scale your business, you'll encounter new problems that you might need help with. Find a mentor, coach or consultant with relevant experience to support you on your journey.
Creativity is a gift. Use it!
Favorite thing to do in Chicago?
Go to trunk shows at Adornment Theory.
What's your most meaningful piece of jewelry?
The ring I made from my mother's diamond.