Today I have the privilege of interviewing Tracy of Tracy Joy Inc. She is a very generous person. Read on to learn about her 5% donation program through the end of May and about 3 prizes she is giving away on my blog (see the bottom of this post for details).
Tracy Joy | The Interview
How long have you been designing and sewing?
Since the 7th grade when I ‘discovered’ sewing class in junior high. I was prob such a dork, getting all excited on how to make a “grocery tote bag” and sweat pants, lol. I haven’t stopped sewing since (or being a dork)! I’ve always found more enjoyment in creating & sewing my own things, vs buying “store” products. From curtains, to bags, to my babies nursery decor/bedding… I try to add my own creative twist on it all. I also don’t use “store” patterns, never have, never will (such a rebel, ha? lol). All of my items are my own design, which I find to be very important, and very satisfying. I never want to be a copy cat, and think it’s important to be known for your own creativity, not someone else’s. Plus… I don’t follow instructions or rules very well, haha!
How did you decide this was a passion for you?
When I graduated high school, I went to college for Fashion Merchandising. I dreamed of creating my own fashion line (didn’t know what of yet; clothes, bags, etc). Sadly, due to financial reasons, I had to drop out in my first year. It always “haunted” me, as designing was my passion and I knew I could create something wonderful that people would enjoy. It’s so amazing (but not surprising) to have found myself back in the design world again, coming full circle. Being creative is in my blood, and flows throughout my whole being.
Before Tracy Joy Inc, I was working for a corporate office, helping to run all of the daily necessities as an assistant manager (of sorts). Being in that business for 7+ years has given me the knowledge and strength to run Tracy Joy Inc. Not only can I be creative and design & sew my own line, but I also know how to run a business inside and out. It makes things run so much more smoothly, than just being creative alone.
What gave the idea for Tracy Joy Camera bags for photographers?
Actually… A couple of women PHOTOGRAPHERS piqued my interest in designing a bag for their needs. And WHALA, it took off from there. My original bag, the KIMBERLY (which is now on hold), blossomed into the KRISTINE & JOEY bags. The REESE bag came after a few clients expressed “wishes & dreams” of a TJ bag w/a zipper on it.
What is your favorite bag you sell?
The KRISTINE. I love the option of flap changes. It’s so convenient to be able to change your flap when you want to change the look of your bag, instead of your entire bag itself. And it doesn’t get much easier than a Velcro flap, coming off to exchange w/another one.
Which ones do you personally use?
Honestly… I have 2-3 of each, lol. I use the REESE as my daily bag, since I have 2 kids under 2. It leaves room for all my necessities and still space for my DSLR camera w/28-75mm lens attached. When I go on a photography shoot, I use my JOEY bag (Velcro flap and extra padding). I can comfortably fit my DSLR in it, with 3 lenses and my wallet & keys. My hubby uses the KRISTINE bag, he likes to have his own “man flaps” for the bag, lol.
What do you typically keep in your photo bag (what camera, lenses, and other stuff) .
Oh all the goodies! lol I have a Canon Rebel XTi, and ALWAYS my Tamron
28-75mm lens attached. I also carry my 50mm 1.8, and my 75-300 for outdoor shots. I LOVE nature photography, so my 75-300 comes in handy when we are outside. I’m adding a 430ex Speedlite to my gear in a few months… but since I use natural lighting 90% of the time, I don’t really need it for the spring/summer months.
What is your favorite print?
Oh gosh, this is NOT an easy question! I have way too many prints, and so many more than I am itching to buy. I can tell you my top 3 favorites though, lol. The Acanthus, Boho Orchid & Disco Dots. Choosing fabrics is the hardest part of my job… seriously! When it comes time to add a new print to my collection, I could go w/o sleep looking over all the choices. Honestly, I wish I was creative enough to design my own prints. This is a far off dream of mine, but you never know… nothing is too far out of reach!
What is the strangest thing you have ever used your camera bag for? (if nothing we will skip this one)
Does a beach bag count? lol We went to Florida last summer and it was the only bag I had large enough to stuff our towels and flip flops in when we went to play in the ocean.
What type of photography do you do?
I adore newborn and maternity photography, esp when it includes a touch of whimsy. I recently did my first “real” maternity shoot, and oh was it fun! Seeing the glow on a pregnant woman is sometimes so surreal, and knowing that new life is just under her skin… simply amazing. I have 3 more maternity shoots now lined up…. and I’m “biting at the bit” to get shooting! I dont currently have a photography website, but I do have my flickr account, where I post my favorite shots. Http://flickr.com/photos/tracyjoy
In addition to maternity and newborn photography, I hope to learn the unique and creative style of Trash The Dress photography. I just love TTD, and always find them exciting and fun to view. I have 2 of those sessions lined up as well (for when the temps warm up a bit).
What are your favorite 3 photographers (with links)?
Well I have to give “props” to the wonderful and VERY talented 2 photographers who helped me launch my camera bags. The are the 2 girls who I mentioned above, regarding “the idea for Tracy Joy Camera bags for photographers“. Both of whom are AMAZING and talented photographers, friends and mentors!
Lisa Hodnet http://www.lisahodnetphotography.com/
& Jessica Leigh http://jessicaleighphotography.com/
And I absolutely LOVE Lisa Julia Photography. She captures so much whimsy and innocence in her child photography… they always make me smile and give me the “warm fuzzies”. http://lisajuliaphotography.com/ . She truly is talented, and such a wonderful person too. A great mentor!
What is the one thing you cannot live without (besides your photo equipment and family):
My Gingher scissors! Ha! They are so uber duber sharp, and cut through fabrics like butta’ I cant go a day w/o my Ginghers 🙂
Tell me about the current donation you are doing for the American Cancer Society…
Tracy Joy Inc is currently running a donation to the American Cancer Society through the month of May. 5% of ALL my sales will go to ACS, in honor of my late sister in laws, Kristine and Amy Beth. They both would have celebrated birthdays in the month of May, so I am honoring their memory w/a donation.
Tracy Joy Inc also runs donations in the months of November, giving to a few different charities at Christmastime. Last year we donated to The American Cancer Society and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Giving back is a very important aspect of Tracy Joy Inc, and something we truly believe in.
Now for the contest and prizes:
Tracy is going to be giving away one Tracy Joy® SUSIE camera strap covers for each of three lucky winners. The winners to pick the fabric from her amazing selection, and trust me, that will be the hardest part.
3 winners will be picked using random.org – from the comments below. With 3 prizes, you have a greater chance to win!!! Winners will be picked on May 21st and notified in a blog post, so check back to see if you are one of the lucky ones!