In our maker profile blog series, we will introduce you to the creative, skilled, and talented makers who sell their goods at our shop. In essence, these makers are the inspiration and soul behind Locally Made Savannah’s entire concept. Enjoy!
A Rough Beginning
Tracey Richburg’s journey with her business, Resin8 Art Savannah, began unexpectedly in 2018 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As she began treatment, she was still experiencing the side effects of the tumor, like forgetfulness and difficulty with thought processing. Instead of sitting around and hoping for the best, Tracey took to the Internet and began watching fun videos to keep her mind occupied and stimulated during her recovery. Some of her favorite videos to watch were about painting and crafting, so when she finished her treatment in May 2019, she was ready to go from watching to doing!
Although her treatment was complete, Tracey still had a long road to recovery. Keeping her mind firing on all cylinders was the best exercise she could find for her continued improvement. She signed up for a class at the Art Center of Wilmington Island in November 2019, where she first began working with resin.
Resin to the Rescue
For anyone that doesn’t know, resin is a runny chemical called epoxy that is combined with various color pigments and additives to produce a blend of unique patterns and textures. When mixed with a hardener, the resin concoction gradually hardens into a solid plastic as a chemical reaction between its components takes place.
For Tracey, working with resin meant recalling the steps to create colors, textures, and chemical reactions, which helped immensely with her process thinking. She had to think quickly on her feet and problem solve as she worked on her art from start to finish.
However, the art class didn’t come naturally to Tracey at first. The students were required to make two cutting boards with resin features, but hers turned out awful, and she hated them! Tracey didn’t give up though. She had found an engaging new hobby that was like therapy to her, so she stuck with it and kept practicing.
From Hobby to Business
By 2020, Tracey found she had a lot of time on her hands because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She purchased all of the supplies she needed and began fine-tuning her resin skills. As she improved each day, she would share her works of art on her Facebook page for family and friends to see what she had been up to. Tracey began with coasters, decorative initial letters, and home decor. She then moved on to Christmas ornaments, keychains, jewelry, and serving boards. Every time she posted a new creation, someone would want to buy it!
She continued to sell her pieces on Facebook, but as the world began opening up again in 2021, so did the crafting markets and events. Tracey would sell a few of her products to some of the smaller markets in the area, and as she received more and more positive feedback, she felt more comfortable signing up for larger events throughout South Carolina and Georgia, including Christmas Made in the South. She officially dubbed her business Resin8 Art Savannah and was overwhelmed by how much complete strangers loved her work!
Tracey attributes her success to starting out small and then gradually growing bigger. She needed to build the courage to scale up, but once she did, she took a plunge into the deep end and swam!
Tracey’s artistic style developed early on from her original art class. The cutting boards that the class made were ocean-themed, and that inspiration has stayed with her ever since. The ocean, waves, and sealife naturally lend themselves to her flowy resin designs.
Tracey enjoys going to the paint store, pulling some colors, and seeing what works together. Her process is trial and error. She constantly experiments with new colors and textures. If it doesn’t sell, she simply won’t make more of that product.
She has also vetted several types of resin that are not only food-safe but can also withstand the heat and humidity of Savannah. It was certainly a learning curve, but she is happy to have found a resin at an excellent price point that is easy to work with and produces the end results she needs.
Selling at Locally Made Savannah
Before opening in 2022, Locally Made Savannah owner, Tonya Rintye, sent Tracey a message on social media, asking if she wanted to sell items in the new shop. Tracey happily agreed and immediately saw that she was in good company with the other makers there. Resin8’s ocean vibes fit in well with the other locally made goods. She loves that a local business is supporting and promoting other local businesses and their creations.
When designing new products for Locally Made Savannah, Tracey tries to think about what both the locals AND visitors would like to take home with them. Some of her best ideas actually come from the customers themselves! She often does custom pieces for people who have purchased her other products from the shop. They request a variety of new and different designs like state ornaments, teacher gifts, and bridesmaid gifts. Someone once asked for a shrimp ornament, so Tracey made a few extra of the same piece, and they were so popular that the shrimp is now one of her standard ornaments!