When Tracy Buckbee, owner of Tracy's Designs 1, was a little girl, her mother used to bring her to the Shipshewana Flea Market on shopping trips. It was then that she decided that someday, she would have her own booth at the market.
That dream has now become a reality.
Tracy, with the help of her mother, sells handmade 18" doll clothes that fit American Girl Dolls at her booth (space 237) at the Shipshewana Flea Market. Recently, I had the chance to sit down and ask Tracy about her journey to becoming a successful small business owner and vendor.
When Tracy was just seven years old, her grandmother started teaching her how to sew, but it wasn't until she started taking high school sewing classes when she really fell in love with it.
Tracy used her skills and talent to make renaissance clothes for people and started selling on Ebay. However, she always had a ton of scrap fabric left after making the adult clothes. A friend suggested she should use the scraps to sew clothes for American Girl dolls. Tracy was confused. "What's an American Girl Doll?" she said.
After her friend introduced her to the American Girl dolls, Tracy soon fell in love. "I have become a collector myself!" she said. "It's much easier to sew doll clothes - one size fits all!"
Tracy began to seek out markets to sell her doll clothes at because just selling on Ebay wasn't enough.
"I called Shipshewana Flea Market and asked if I could have a space, and they said, 'you're in!"
She has set up here for the summer ever since.
She loves to get her inspiration for new outfits by current kids' fashion trends, so she's always paying attention to what is in style. Her favorite design right now is the "unicorn outfit," complete with peak-a-boo shoulders and a colorful tutu.
When girls dress their dolls in clothes from Tracy's Designs 1, their doll can become anything from a nurse, to a musician, to a 50's housewife, to a mermaid! And there are plenty of accessories and other items to choose from too. Plus, the prices are SUPER reasonable. 10 bucks can get you an entire outfit!
Tracy's booth also has a selection of crocheted hats and deco mesh wreaths for sale.
When asked if she had any advice for people wanting to sell their stuff at markets, Tracy said, "Make sure you sell something you love and that you're passionate about. That way, you're excitement will show to the customer."
You can meet Tracy and shop her handmade doll clothes at booth 237 every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Shipshewana Flea Market (May - September). You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or visit her online store at TracysDesigns1.com.
For more vendor success stories, take a look at our downloadable case studies from the Shipshewana Flea Market.