Like several of the people I meet or interview, I have met via Social Media. Tracey Preston is no exception.This incredible mum and creative I met via a Facebook group and although we have never met we have just clicked and that was clearly evident during our phone chat.Tracey has so many talents and skills that I am in awe of just how amazingly talented she is.
Recently Tracey launched her online store with the cutest name Oh so Charming ! I have been so impressed with her work and I knew that this work needed to be showcased in my #LocalisLekker series.After taking a look at Tracey’s work it actually makes one want to say “Oh so charming!” with a British accent as well. So here is what Tracey had to tell me about her new business , life and family …..
1)What is your core business?
Pretty stuff! #allthethings! The idea with this business was to drag me out of my creative funk and share my “pretty” with others. The true core of my business though is essentially still my graphic design. But, as Charming was my “leap to freedom” after twenty odd years in advertising, I am looking forward to shifting that emphasis to my illustration, handmade gifts, jewelry and ceramics. Long-term, the vision for Charming is to be designing and manufacturing my own textiles that will be used in the manufacture of my own decor and furniture ranges.
2) How long has your business been around for and what motivated you to start this type of business?
My graphic design business (not always called Oh So Charming) has been about in a freelance capacity for seven years, the new face of Charming and online store came into being three months ago when I finally took the adulting plunge and registered a PTY. It was terrifying, but SO liberating too. My motivation was part of a huge shift in self-understanding and personal growth, following a life-changing event.
I’m a “work from home” mom of three sprogs, aged one, two and thirteen, so creating an environment that allows me follow my creative passion, raise my kids, be an involved spouse and stay vaguely sane meant that I had to think big, take a few risks and start beginning to trust that I CAN do anything I put my mind to if I want it badly enough. Family is the most incredible motivator. Having our children see me work hard at something and experience wins and losses with me, will be an invaluable life lesson for us all.
3) Having a unique business concept generally creates a market. What is so unique about your business?
Hmmmm, unique…. I think anyone who works “hands-on” has the most amazing opportunity to create authentic, personal and life-changing items. My design business has put food on the table for as long as I can remember, but until I took the leap to get mucky, and turn my clients visions and wishes into carefully and lovingly handmade treasures and gifts and artwork, I had little or no feeling of accomplishment. There is something quite magic about creating something that makes another human squeak with delight. It’s a wonderfully far cry from the “it’s approved” emails that corporate design work brings to your life.
My ability to create bespoke items for my clients is probably what makes Charming so unique. I have always enjoyed creating with my hands. And have painted and illustrated since I left school as a secondary income. I’m very blessed to have an array of skills that I can combine to bring my clients ideas to light.
4) What has been the highlight of your business so far?
Seeing how excited clients get when they realize that an idea that is sitting in their head can become a physical, tangible item. Watching wishes grow is very special. And I am humbled that my clients trust me to create these for them.
5) In 5 years time where do you see your business?
My five-year plan is to be producing and exporting textiles, decor and furniture from my ranges to at least five foreign destinations. I am also focused on people development so want to ensure that whatever products are being produced by Charming for export or local sale, will be produced by individuals and communities locally that need upliftment and training. For me, paying it forward is key to a happy and fulfilling life.
6) Do you make special order products?
I do! The bespoke side of my business is growing swiftly and I pride myself on rising to a challenge. If my clients ask for something I don’t yet create or produce, I will always try to grow my skill set to meet their needs. Currently, I am illustrating and painting many different orders for bespoke mugs and am working on a set of illustrations for a mural too (like I said #allthethings). Variety is after all the SPICE (goddess) of life 😉
7) Oh So Charming ……is a little haven for making both myself and my clients happy. In this world that can be so harsh, brash, swift and plastic I’m carving a space where the products look and feel like home, bring a touch of old school, hands-on charm, and radiate the love I put into each item I make. I can only hope that it brings my clients as much joy as it does me.