Tracy Reese's clothing company, T.R. Designs, stays in vogue with signature pieces such as Edwardian lace blouses and silk dresses with vintage wallpaper patterns. But Reese, 42, can attest that staying in business takes more than being stylish. She started her first company at 23, shortly after graduating from Parsons School of Design, but was forced to shutter it when she ran out of capital after a year and a half. She gave it another try seven years ago.
With partner Om Batheja, an accountant who helped her find a manufacturer in India, Reese launched an eponymous women's clothing line. Since then, she has created a second line, inspired by her travels to India, and a collection of home furnishings. Stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's carry her designs, and last year her sales reached $20 million. This spring, with the help of her 30 employees, Reese is opening her first retail store, in New York City. It will sell her current collections as well as handbags and a forthcoming line of shoes that she promises will be "beautiful, yet comfortable."
Sakura Pigma Micron pens, $16 for a six-color set
"I use these to sketch. They are waterproof and don't smear."
Shopping at Potterton Books in New York City
"They have so much good stuff on architecture and interior design, so many art, fashion, and textile books."
Brita water filtration pitcher, $30
"It's just a sucker punch to buy bottle after bottle of purified water. And this is more convenient."
Stephane Kélian embroidered platform shoes, $650
"His shoes are so colorful and have impeccable workmanship. I fall off of these sometimes--once, right in front of the Plaza Hotel--but I love them."
Vintage dress, $70
"I found this at a flea market. It's from the 1950s, and the taffeta lace is beautiful. It has influenced my designs."
Three weeks in the Maldives at the One & Only Resort in Reethi Rah, about $34,000
"The Maldives are exotic and relaxing, and the resort has both a spa and a gym. Three weeks is enough time that I could explore and sit around."