Detroit Mom’s Local Love series highlights local women and the businesses they have built. We love supporting small business! Today’s Local Love Spotlight belongs to Tracy Picmann, owner of Tracy Picmann Interior Design.
We asked Tracy to share some fun facts about herself with us. Besides helping people design homes they love, she is also a nurse practitioner in internal medicine. She works part-time and loves helping patients improve their health. In a six month period, she launched her business AND changed nurse practitioner jobs after being in the same position for seven years previously. She LOVES making French macarons. It took her the better part of a year, when she was pregnant with her first son, to perfect the art of macaron making. And, her family is OBSESSED with Disney! Her kids are under age five and they both have already been to Disney World more than once. She loves talking Disney with anyone and everyone!
We asked Tracy to share a little bit more about her business with us, too. Get to know Tracy and her business, Tracy Picmann Interior Design, below!
How did you come up with the idea of your business, and how did you start?
“I NEVER planned on having my own business. My history with home design is sort of funny. I never cared about anything home design until the second I became a home owner. I was in grad school, so we were on a tight budget. But, I wanted to make improvements to our first house. With the help of a LOT of HGTV and Joanna Gaines, we DIY’d our way through that first house. [We] sold with a very nice profit. Our second home was a spec home, which I got to customize some things on, [and] we also sold that home for a nice profit. Our current home I designed from the ground up!
“Close friends used to tell me I should be doing home design on the side, but I always felt I wouldn’t like designing for other people. When one of those friends walked in our current house for the first time, he looked at me and said, ‘Tracy, why are you not doing this as a side hustle?’ A friend from high school who lives in another state had started an interior design business. I always admired her following her passion, with no formal training in design.
“Since I am also in the healthcare field, which requires formal training and board exams to practice, I felt overwhelmed with impostor syndrome to start something solely out of passion with no formal training. My friend recommended I start designing for friends and family and see how I liked it. Days after she recommended this, a friend from years back messaged me out of the blue to tell me she loved my design style and to see if I was willing to design her nursery. I designed for her and a couple other friends and I was HOOKED!
“I started my business by googling . . . A LOT! I [had] a few business mentor sessions with a friend and she gave me some great advice to get started. I set a date to have my website finished (which I made myself) and when that day came, I hit publish, announced on my socials I was starting a business, and thankfully, days later, I had my first three clients!”
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
“I don’t have anything specifically that I would have done differently at the start but to launch I told myself, ‘Done, is better than perfect, and my website can change and evolve into what it needs to be.’ With each client, I learn how to better improve my process and add more information to my contract, to best set expectations. So always reminding myself businesses evolve over time is crucial!”
What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
“The best business advice I have received was at the start. My friend and business mentor told me to be careful who I shared my plans with. When you start something new, the people who love you the most can sometimes be the least supportive. This often happens because they love you and don’t want you to fail. But, it can derail your plans if someone you love seems to doubt your passion and goals.”
Have you faced adversity in business due to being a woman? How did you navigate that?
“Thankfully, so far, I have not faced adversity in my home design business due to being a woman, but, while building our current home, I had plenty of men try to mansplain things to me. This is our third home. I was NOT accepting being mansplained to and typically, they realized this quickly.
“Being a nurse practitioner for the last seven years and a registered nurse for five years before that, I have experienced my fair share of adversity in healthcare due to being a woman. As a floor nurse, I developed a thick skin and boundaries. If a patient comments on my appearance, I now have no problem asking the patient what my appearance has to do with their healthcare.
“Within myself I have dealt with impostor syndrome A LOT, which I have combatted with podcasts or reading clients’ kind words, to build me up!”
How do you persevere in challenging times?
“Every time I am wrapping up current projects, I start to panic that no one will ever hire me again. Usually as I start to think about this, I get a new inquiry. Occasionally I do have lulls as projects are on hold for a mix of reasons. I take that time to focus on back-end business, content creation, and networking. In our area, I have met AMAZING female business owners that have quickly become good friends. I can trust [them] for endless support and encouragement.”
What impact do you want your business to have?
“I enjoy all my clients, but moms/families with young kids are my favorite! I love the challenge of designing kid-friendly spaces. Kid-friendly to me can also just mean not spending too much on items that will be getting a lot of use, and guiding clients on where to splurge and where to save. I want to impact families in LOVING their home and taking the stress and time out of home design. I also hope my story and me being multi-passionate can help others to feel inspired to follow their passions. My mentor always stresses [that] the world would be a better place if we were all passionate about what we do every day!”
What are the pros and cons of being a woman business owner in 2023?
“The pro for me is setting my own schedule and being able to be flexible; sometimes I work through the kids’ nap/quiet time or evenings and rarely, but occasionally, on weekends. I am thankful to have my nurse practitioner job as my core salary and then design work [as] a great addition for us to vacation, design my own home, etc. Another pro for me is the reality that I CAN be a business owner without my husband or another male as a co-signer. I was born in 1987. It was only in 1988 that women were allowed to take out business loans without a male co-signer. Being able to exercise freedoms women didn’t have not that long ago, feels good!
“Lastly, a huge pro for me has been new friendships! I am lucky that I live where I grew up, and many friends have returned to the area. I never felt isolated as a mom because we have long-term friends nearby who also have kids. So, it has been a HUGE bonus to meet other female entrepreneurs, whether they are moms or not, and we have the same challenges and stressors. Fellow female business owners are some of the coolest women I have ever met!
“[A] con of being a female business owner, or even just a working mom in 2023, is that this country is NOT set up to support or encourage women to work outside the home. My boys only go to daycare three days a week and it costs us over $20k a year. It is insane!”
What knowledge would you share with someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
“You can do anything if you resource the right people and if you have a passion for what you are doing. Some friends have asked me what they should do for a side hustle. I respond with, ‘I didn’t seek a side hustle, my passion for home design led me to this point.'”
What do you do for personal and professional development?
“Podcasts are the #1 reason I was able to combat impostor syndrome and launch my business. For every thought [of] ‘I can do this,’ I had ten thoughts of, ‘I can’t do this or shouldn’t do this.’ I’d search for guests who told their stories of success and failure. Hearing other women’s stories reminds me we all start somewhere! I [also] did some business coaching sessions. And, networking has been a huge game changer for me to have a group of ambitious women who all support each other!”
What mantra or quote do you live by?
“‘Done is better than perfect’–not when it comes to my home designs, but when it comes to the back end of my business. I would have spent forever (seriously FOREVER) making the perfect website. Instead, I just launched what I felt was a pretty good website, designed by myself. [I] reminded myself I can always update it–it is not burned in stone! Many of us are perfectionists, and some things just need to be done to move forward!”
What’s your favorite place in Detroit or Michigan?
“My favorite place in Michigan is Burt Lake. I grew up going up there. In 2010 my parents built their dream lake house on Burt. My husband and I had a two-year engagement while it was being built and then got married in the backyard. I have great memories dirt biking, four-wheeling, wakeboarding, and waterskiing. [I] cannot wait to continue to build my boys’ memories at the lake.”