The story of Tracy and her passion
Updated: Feb 11
Tracy had always been a hard worker and from a very young age she often had more than one job, and at one point had 3 different jobs. It is that drive that helped her in business.
Tracy Irby is the Director at Texas Woman's University – Center for Women Entrepreneurs. She started as their first Small Business Advisor and helped create the Advising program for women-owned businesses, before that she had worked as a Small Business Advisor in the Small Business Development Center Network. She has advised over 1,000 small business clients – her years as a small business owner had helped her relate and be able to assist other small business owners.
Tracy hadn't planned on being an entrepreneur. While she was shopping for new appliances she went into what was known as a Sears Catalog Store and got the worst customer service she had ever received and didn't want to return to the store. Soon after, she saw an ad in the local paper that Sears was looking for owners for their new concept stores, the Sears Authorized Dealer program, later known as Sears Hometown Stores. With great interest, Tracy applied, interviewed, and became the proud owner of one of the first stores. While there, she achieved the highest electronic sales in the country and was in a town of just 12,000 people.
The entrepreneurial bug had hit her and while she had the Sears store, she started the first bounce house rental business in the area, Bounce About. It was such a fun change from the retail world and all of her customers were happy. Tracy started with one bounce house and ended up having three more and some additional party games for kids. As the regulations for these were becoming stricter, Tracy sold her inventory and decided what to do next. Her entrepreneurial journey included owning a gym, investing in property, becoming a licensed insurance agent, and starting a self-defense business selling personal protection devices such as pepper spray and stun guns. She learned that multiple income streams worked and continued with some of these on the side when she started working full-time.
Tracy believes in hard work and it is that drive that helped her in business. From the start – her kids were involved. Her son was only 9 months old when she went off for Sears training. Two ½ years later she would have her daughter and she came to work every day with Tracy. At that time, Sears had a hard-working grandmother working there and she loved to dress the baby. As the kids got older, they were seen at ribbon cutting and other community events with their mom. This helped them become entrepreneurs as well. Now her grandkids can watch Tracy in her different ventures