Tracey Russell a Durham based creative entrepreneur can’t believe that it was twenty-two years ago that, whilst studying higher education at Cleveland College of Art and Design at Hartlepool that she decided two things. 1-She wanted to have a career in textiles and 2 – she didn’t want to work for anyone else. Leaving CCAD with a distinction in Surface Pattern Design started Tracey off on the right path and with such a supportive family behind her she embarked on a career as a designer maker. Touring the country every couple of months after spending hours at the sewing machine creating exhibiting at some of the most UK’s high-end Craft fairs at places such as Sandringham, Burley House and many more besides. It was going well, however with the course that Tracey previously attended at CCAD now gaining the accreditation of a degree it was too tempting for Tracey not to go back to college for further studies to achieve a Degree in International Textiles. Cutting back on some the exhibitions, she not only did this but also gave birth to her first child, Joe, only 4 days after launching her end of year degree show!
This was a time when choices had to be made. Tracey was selling her work, but the irregularity of the income was no way to bring up a small child. How could she do what she loves and provide too? Her father then gave her the best bit of business advise she could ever receive, ‘it’s about the end product – 1 person will buy 1 thing for £400 but 400 people might buy something for £1’. So with that in mind Tracey approached the new gift shop that had just opened in the Metro Centre, ‘Acorns & Angels’ with a small range of handmade greetings cards she had also been working on, they welcomed them with open arms. Tracey Russell Greetings Cards was born, the rest they say is history!
Well - let’s mention the addition of 2 more fabulous Children, Molly (2000) and Alice (2002). 2002 also saw Tracey achieving a North East Business Woman of the Year Winner award.