For today’s interview, I was given the ABSOLUTE honor to interview the owner and creator of my favorite company (Becoming Jewelry): Tracey Graves! I was a nervous wreck during this interview because I was so excited to work with her! It was so much fun and quite entertaining! This interview took place over Skype on October 20th, 2016.
SOM: Could you please introduce yourself for the blog?
TG: Sure! I’m Tracey Graves and I own Becoming Jewelry!
SOM: Why did you start Becoming Jewelry?
TG: It was totally by accident, really. I was looking for a gift for my sister-in-law, and I had this thing in mind that I wanted, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’ve always been that kind of person who if I can’t find it, I make it. And that’s basically what happened. I couldn’t find anything like it so I started going online and Googling different things and figured out how to make it. Then I really liked the process of doing it, so I set up an Etsy shop after that.
Where do you get the most inspiration for your pieces?
TG: Mostly from reading, I would say. You know, most of my pieces are based around quotes and words and things that are kind of speaking to me. Whatever I happen to be reading, when I’m designing a new collection, I think that really influences the pieces. And also, I’m really influenced by places, and that’s why we have a lot of pieces in the collection that are coordinates and zipcodes. I think those hold such a special meaning for people and for me, for sure.
SOM: What piece that you’ve created is your personal favorite?
TG: The coordinates necklace.. yeah. And I wear one, I have a couple that I wear. I have one of the coordinates of where my husband and I had our first date, and I have one of my home town..
SOM: (Accidentally rudely interrupts) That’s so awesome!!
TG: Yeah, to remind me of how far I’ve come-*Laughs*- and things in my life. So, yeah.. that’s my favorite.
SOM: If any celebrity or author endorsed your company, who would you want it to be?
TG: Oh my gosh, that’s a hard question…
SOM: *Evilly laughs*
TG: Ummmmm…. Can I say Oprah? *Laughs*
SOM: Yeah!! Anyone!
TG: That’s totally like, shooting for the big time. But I think, you know, as far as like a lot of the inspirational pieces that I do, she’s great at espousing those kind of “be here now” and “figure out your life and learn from your past” and all that kind of stuff. So… sure, let’s go for Oprah!
SOM: Go big or go home, I mean. You could pick anyone!
TG: I know!
SOM: As a Maine-based company, where is your favorite place in Maine to go?
TG: Oh, it’s home. I live in Kennebunk. The beach-going over to Kennebunk beach- there’s a little rocky area over there. I go over there a couple times a week and just around town. I like the old houses and I love this town so, yeah, it’s my favorite! *Laughs*
SOM: I don’t know where my favorite place in Maine would be. I live around the Bangor area, so I can go to Bar Harbor a lot and it’s really gorgeous out there.
TG: Oh, I’ve been once, but oh my gosh, SO amazing up there!
SOM: It’s the best in the fall because there’s hardly any tourists.
TG: That’s when I went!
SOM: And there’s no bugs! And it’s still warm(ish)!
SOM: But I also like going up to Northern Maine because I have a lot of family up there and it’s gorgeous in the fall and in the winter. So I’m always torn between those.
TG: Yeah, my husband is from Presque Isle, so we go up there a lot. It’s so calm, and it’s just a different feel than the rest of the state. No tourists. *Laughs* I love it up there.
SOM: My mom was born in Houlton, so I go up there a lot.
TG: Oh, no way! It’s just so pretty up there! That drive- when you can see Kathadin and, yeah. I love that.
SOM: Definitely a long drive, but it’s worth it!
TG: Yeah! It’s a good time to think though, right?
SOM: Yeah! Or read!
TG: I do a lot of designing and thinking about the business in the car, actually. When I’m doing long drives like that, it’s like your brain gets to a different level of thinking because you have so much time to sit and think about things.
SOM: What is one place that you would visit, but haven’t visited before?
TG: In Maine or anywhere?
SOM: Anywhere. (Should have clarified..)
TG: I really want to go to Scotland right now. *Laughs* It’s like the top of my list. I love places with old ruins and just like that deeper history than what we have here in America. So yeah, Scotland is at the top of my list.
SOM: I wanna go to Scotland, I’m Scottish so..
TG: Oh, no way!
SOM: Yeah… My parents have also been to Ireland and I’m like, I wanna go there why didn’t you take me? (Also to clarify, I wasn’t born when they went…)
TG: *Laughs* Yeah, I love Ireland. I’ve been there once. But you have to go to Scotland, because you’re Scottish!!
SOM: What advice would you give someone trying to start a business?
TG: *Heavily sighs* Be persistent, for sure. You’re gonna fail a lot, you’re gonna mess up a lot, but everything is figure-out-able. That’s what I’ve learned, you know? Just be persistent and you’ll figure it out. And also, I think, find a mentor, if you can. Find somebody who’s doing something similar to what you’re doing and further along then you are. That helps a ton. *Laughs*
SOM: You also have a blog, so why did you start the blog?
TG: Uhh… I started the blog just because it seemed like that was what you were supposed to do. It helped with your SEO and marketing and stuff, but lately I’ve been really using the blog as a way to kind of write about exploring Maine. Like, doing day trips. I think that just being based in Maine, I attribute that a lot to the success of my business. There’s such a great community here of artists and entrepreneurs that just support each other. And so, I’ve just kind of made it a goal to incorporate the idea of being from Maine and what this state means to me into my business. So, just travel in general is just a big creative inspiration for me. Just that sense of being pushed out of my everyday life and experiencing new things stimulates new ideas and creativity. So that’s really what I’ve been focusing on a lot with the blog, just writing about those excursions and trips that I’ve taken. I hope that that will kinda inspire other people to do the same thing maybe.
SOM: My blog was originally reviews for media and I’ve gone on to interviews and advice. I haven’t had my blog long.
TG: Yeah, that’s awesome! Well, you know, I also think that I love that about your blog because it’s so helpful to read about other peoples’ journeys and experiences and what inspires them. I think that it’s really helpful and you can see things that maybe you could try that other people are doing.
What advice would you give a new blogger?
TG: *Laughs* I feel like I’m not very good at blogging, so this is a very difficult one for me. I think consistency is a big thing. Even if you can only post once a week or once every two weeks. To just sit down and come up with what your schedule is going to be and then be consistent. Maybe at first don’t overextend how much you can do with it. That was the thing I did with it in the beginning. I tried to do too much, and then I got overwhelmed, then I ended up doing nothing at all because I just felt totally overwhelmed with it. So maybe be realistic about how often you can post and then be consistent with it.
SOM: I’m definitely not consistent with my blogging.
SOM: Especially in the summer where I got so busy with work. I was just like, “Ooookay, three posts in two months? Yeah, that’s probably not good.”
TG: Yeah. You know. I’ve definitely had longer than that with like zero posts, so I totally get that! *Laughs*
SOM: Since my blog is originally a music blog, this is my question that I ask literally everyone that I interview..
(THE SUSPENSE BUILDS)
SOM: IF you were stuck on a desert island and could only listen to one album, what album would it be and why?
TG: Okay, I’ve got to have a good answer for this…
Can I pick a band instead of an album?
SOM: Oh yeah!
TG: Okay, Sigur Rós. That’s my band. I just love their music, but I can’t just pick one album. Like, if I could have a playlist, a Sigur Rós playlist, that would be it.
SOM: Just all of their albums?
TG: Yeah, pretty much.
SOM: The last artist I interviewed was so devastated by that question. I think it took him twenty minutes to figure it out! Then he was like, “I don’t know!!”
(My audio start going wacky during this, so I had to REALLY listen to this to figure it out. At the time, I had the awkward choice of asking her to repeat what she said or say something while hoping I heard everything correctly… As the socially awkward person I am, I went with neither!)
TG: I don’t know if you knew this, my husband is a musician. He’s not an artist, but he’s a songwriter and producer, and there’s no way he could choose. He needs all of it.
SOM: When you’re not working with your company, what are some other things you like to do?
TG: Take walks. I live in the middle of the woods, so I walk a lot. Daytrips around Maine and to different lighthouses. I’ve been trying to kind of work my way up the coast from Kennebunk. I’ve only been here for five years so there is so much of the state that I haven’t seen. So I do a lot of daytrips. Read. And I homeschool my kids, so that’s a big time commitment as well!
SOM: Yeah, I’m homeschooled too, so I understand that.
TG: Oh cool! Oh, that’s awesome!! I didn’t know that!
SOM: Yeah! The best thing about being homeschooled is that I have a lot more opportunities and my blog is one of them so, I can do interviews whenever.
TG: Oh, that’s amazing!! I did not know that!
SOM: And my mom counts it as school so that’s even better!
TG: Exactly! Because there’s so many school elements involved in it, like writing and learning about interviewing people. Yeah, life skills too, right? *Laughs*
Where do you see Becoming going in the next five years?
TG: Ummm.. my goal is just to continue to grow. We have accounts and retail shops that sell our jewelry all over the country right now, but mostly in the Eastern United States. So it’s a goal of mine to expand and to get more shops on the West coast selling our stuff and grow the online business some. We have a website, but I would love to grow it bigger than it is now. Just more sales on the website. And maybe a bigger shop in Kennebunk. I don’t know about that yet. We’ll see. *Laughs*
*Looks down at her dogs who are loudly playing off-screen* Hey, stop. I have two Labs, and when they get hyper, they just go at it. They just wrestle and fight each other.
SOM: I love Labs, so it’s perfectly fine with me.
TG: They’re great.
SOM: I have a dachshund. Dachshunds are terrible. Mine is always barking during interviews and I’m always like, “No!! You’re probably deafening people!” Just… don’t get dachshunds.
SOM: That’s all I have for questions right now, I wasn’t really that prepared.
TG: Awesome! No, that’s fine! That was easy for me. This is my first interview, so yay! That works out well!
SOM: Thank you for doing it with me! It was such an honor!
TG: Alright! Thanks Natalie!
I just want to again thank Tracey for this interview! It was one of the most fun interviews I’ve done!
You can check out Becoming Jewelry’s website and blog here!
Or check out their store in Kennebunk, Maine!
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