If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. At least that’s what people say. What they do though is an entirely different matter. When life throws us a mean curveball most of us choose to cave in, as giving in to fear seems like the easier way out. We prefer taking this exit route, because most of us remain ignorant to the fact that failures have their own way of building us up, showing us different perspectives and potentially opening us up to a whole new world of possibilities. We refuse to see this, because sometimes the blow’s just too hard for us to dive in and deal with the pain. So we let it slide, crippled by the excuses we keep on consoling ourselves with, continuing to live our life as if it belonged to someone else.
But there are also those whose ability to turn devastating defeats into victories inspire others. These courageous individuals whose patience knows no boundaries consider failures as nothing else than an opportunity to grow and rise above the turmoil. Their resilience is admirable, their determination alluring and their refusal to fall fascinating. Our next cool face of Bastet Noir, Tracy Matthews falls into these rare gems, a remarkable woman entrepreneur whose strong will to win against all odds bounced her back up on her feet after the million dollar business she had been building for almost 10 years, started collapsing, forcing her to declare bankruptcy. After experiencing a huge success with clients ranging from Hale Berry to Orlando Bloom, product placements in the biggest lifestyle magazines like InStyle and W Magazine and jewellery pieces being sold all across EU, Japan and USA’s hottest retailers like Anthropologie and Bloomingdales, her business started to slow down, as 2008 recession hit and retailers were no longer placing the orders they did two years ago, eventually leading her to close down the business, take a step back and re-evaluate her definition of success. A year and a half later, after reinventing her business model she returned as a much better version of herself, a hugely successful woman entrepreneur who today runs 4 successful businesses. So for the latest edition of Cool Faces of Bastet Noir, we’re letting Tracy tell you her story of grit and hustle to finding success yet again.
BASTET NOIR: Who is Tracy Matthews?
TM: First and foremost, I’m the best Auntie in the world to my 19 nieces and nephews. 😂
I’m a jewelry designer, and creative entrepreneur. I love to travel and built my current companies to allow me flexibility to work remotely with virtual teams.
From a young age, I was highly creative and spent a lot of my time daydreaming. I started my first jewelry company in the 90’s and spent 11 years building a brand that was sold in over 350 retail stores, like Anthropologieand Sundance Catalog. It was awesome to get my designs in magazines likeInStyle and W Magazine and see celebrities like Halle Berry and Orlando Bloom wear my designs.
I’m one of those people who can’t do just one thing. (I don’t recommend it!) I’ve tried to have just one business, but it hasn’t worked out that way.
My first passion is designing jewelry, it’s how I started out in business and I love tapping into that creative process. I design fine jewelry for private clients here in NYC and my specialties are bespoke engagement rings, wedding bands and heirloom redesign.
Mentoring and teaching is super important to me. In 2012, I launched Flourish & Thrive Academy with my friend, Robin Kramer. Together with our team of coaches, we mentor thousands of independent jewelry brands internationally and teach them how to launch, grow and scale their businesses.
Over the years, I’ve seen how creative thinkers can often struggle to run a business. I recently launched Creatives Rule the World which is a platform for Visionaries and Founders of small and mighty companies to lead small and mighty teams and scale their businesses to 7 figures and beyond.
Fun fact:I can rock out a mean “Bad Romance” and “Uptown Funk” at Karaoke.
BASTET NOIR: In addition to being a jewelry designer, you’re also running the Flourish and Thrive Academy and Creatives Rule the World, so we’re curious to know what’s your morning routine like juggling between three businesses?
Tracy Matthews wearing the red silk jumpsuit by Bastet Noir
TM:For the longest time, my morning routine has consisted of coffee, journaling, meditation and exercise. That’s been it for the past 25 years…
Lately, I’ve been doing it a little differently. My friends, Susie and Heath, convinced me to start the 5 am Club Routine. I got off track with my meditation practice and started slacking off on journaling, so I’m committing to waking up at 5 am and mastering my morning.
I spend a lot of my time writing and I have at least an hour to write before I go to the gym, yoga or workout with my trainer.
It’s only been a few days and I’m getting so much done. I’m a little tired sometimes but I take a 30–40 minute nap in the afternoon most days.
BASTET NOIR: Favorite piece of jewelry you’ve created and the story behind it
TM: You are asking the hardest question in the world because it changes every month.
I redesign a lot of family heirlooms for my clients (it’s kinda the thing I’m known for: taking old jewelry and turning it into something awesome).
Several years ago, I designed a piece for myself out of my mother’s single diamond earring. She passed away when I was 22 and I inherited a few gems and pieces of jewelry from her. It’s not the most incredible design, but it reminds me of her and keeps her energy with me.
BASTET NOIR: Things you do to make you focus
TM: Great question because I have idea ADD sometimes. Productivity for creatives is something I teach because creative minds require space to daydream and structure to thrive.
I time-block my days…like I only take calls 2 days a week, I have one day that’s completely creative and the other days are for creating content and designing.
My phone alarm is set for working sprints to work in 1 hour increments then take a break.
Notifications on my computer and phone are always turned off. Email, Instagram and text are all a distraction to creating focus and I have a lot on my plate all of the time.
Recently, I’ve been using an app called Brain.fm and it’s been awesome. It’s a productivity app that you can listen to for better focus, sleep, rest, meditation, etc. It’s changing my life right now, because I’m writing a book for Creatives Rule the World and I can get so in the zone.
This is so cliche but I do a lot of self-care (I’m pretty selfish with my time actually) and that helps me get more done.
And since I’m currently single and I work from home, I make plans several nights a week with friends or to go on dates so that I stop working and get out. Working all the time is not good for anyone! It’s hard to stop when you love it.
BASTET NOIR: Three things you wish you could tell your younger self to make her feel more motivated and empowered?
- You’re an artist AND you’re smart. Creativity is a gift — don’t take it for granted!
- Don’t doubt yourself because you’re awesome just the way you are. Your failures are just lessons that lead you to the better version of yourself.
- Be confident and take risks. Without risk there’s little reward. Don’t be reckless, be strategic and pay attention to the signs.
- Life won’t pan out the way you expected. If you stay open to the journey, it will be 100x better than you ever thought.
- Surround yourself with smart people who make you a better person. Let go of toxic relationships (people that bring you down, don’t believe in you or project their insecurities on you).
BASTET NOIR: Strong female figure who has had a tremendous influence on your personal growth
TM: Both of my grandmothers.
My Grandma, Margaret, had 12 children and was the silent leader of the family. She had a calm confidence that guided extended family.
My Nana, Georgia, didn’t like kids. I think it’s funny since my dad had 8 of them. Yet, she had a bootstrapping resourcefulness and dry sense of humor that was inspiring.
Marie Forleo!I stumbled across her in 2011 and discovered a new way to get my art out into the world. My life and business took a completely new trajectory and I discovered that you can build a business around what matters to you first, instead of slaving to your business.
BASTET NOIR: Favorite female empowerment speech
TM: Pretty much anything that comes out of Michelle Obama’s Mouth.
BASTET NOIR: What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?
The Red Satin Jumpsuit!
Celebrating wins regardless of how small they might seem is important, but celebrating failures is paramount, because failures teach us much more than successes every could. This is why we admire and love women like Tracy Matthews because these heroines’ life journeys are what help us get through the tough times, inspiring us with their courage, amaze us with their resilience and move us with their will for living life under their own rules. So thank you Tracy for showing us what the true meaning of bravery is.
We love strong, confident and self reliant women, so if you think you got what it takes, send us an email with your Instagram account and the story you’d like to share and you might just become Bastet Noir’s next cool face.
If you liked Tracy’s story, there’s plenty more to come, just hit that sign up button to get in our inner circle of coolness and never ever miss a thang.