Weddings: Gift Ideas for the Bridal Party

July 14th, 2010 by Linda | Permalink

image courtesy of Heather D. Photography

Weddings can be hectic.  Everything has to be planned and coordinated and rehearsed in order for your perfect day to be…well, perfect.  With this in mind, we at Thirty Seven West have put on our research caps and come up with some ideas that will make the gift giving portion of your wedding just a little bit easier.

image courtesy of Heather D. Photography

Groomsmen: I think we can all agree that guys are pretty simple. As long as the gift you give them for participating in your special day shows just a little bit of thought and effort, we can assure you that it will be appreciated. Is the guy a drinker? Give him a flask.  Looking for something a little more elegant?  How ’bout a pocket watch?  Interested in giving him something he can use for the wedding?  Try cuff links.  These gifts can be easily engraved to ensure that your groomsmen understand the importance of the role that they have played in your wedding day.

image courtesy of Heather D. Photography

Bridesmaids: These ladies are usually some of the most important people in the bride’s life.  Over the years, they have provided everything from guidance and support to a much needed shoulder to cry on.  Because of this, it is vitally important that you get these women something that symbolizes the nature of your relationship and expresses the love that you have for them.  One great idea is to have their name and the date of the wedding engraved on something like one of these compacts.  Is she a bit of a partier? Maybe she would like a personalized pink flask or bottle stopper.

We hope that these ideas on what to buy your bridesmaids and groomsmen can help to alleviate at least a small part of the stress you may be feeling as you plan your big day.  We wish you the best and hope that it turns out, for lack of a better word…perfect.

Best Always,

Thirty Seven West

Featured: Tracy Joy

July 7th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

image of Tracy Joy courtesy of Photography by Tracy Joy

The best way to describe Chicago-area entrepreneur Tracy Joy would be as a modern day Renaissance woman. Juggling a family life with four demanding businesses can be tough, but Tracy pulls it off with a flair that is to be both commended and admired.  Her four companies (Tracy JoyPink Heels BoudoirProp Insanity, and The Joy Bag Collection) all stemmed from an initial love of sewing and photography.  Proving once again that if you do what you love, you’ll love what you do.

37w: So as we were emailing back and forth, I noticed that on your email it states “Yes…I’m a busy girl.” You obviously wear a lot of different hats, was that always the plan or was it just how things turned out?

TJ: I’ve always been “busy”… coming from a background of entrepreneurs (men) in my family, I thought it should be the girls’ turn…so my mom and I started up TJ Inc in 2006, for our camera bag line. From there, I picked up a DSLR camera (a life dreamer and photographer by hobby), and realized the great gift of photography that I had!  From there…  my photography lead me to my love of all things “photography prop”, anything I could use on a baby or toddler, even an adult, to fancy up and bring a little fun into my photography… which is where Prop Insanity came from.   And my latest company, Pink Heels Boudoir, is my “baby”…shared with an amazing photography partner Jamie B.

In my life, things kind of come to me in a “stream”… my crafty sewing led to the bag line, which led to my photography, which led to my props… you get the point.   I’m a full-on, go-getter, never holding back to say “I wish I had done that”, I want to be the old lady one day who says “I did it ALL!”.

37w: In January 2010, you launched a new bag line The Joy bag collection (which we love, btw).  That had to take time away from your amazing photography, how are you able to split your focus?

TJ: My focus…that’s funny 🙂   I don’t focus on one thing, I don’t think I’m “engineered” to do that, lol…. which runs in my family.  A little bit of OCD, mixed in with the skill of multitasking-add a touch of caffeine to that and there is my day! Lol! I’m also lucky to have my mom as a business partner. Without her sewing skills, customer service qualities, and my father’s helping hand with my kids…my business life wouldn’t be possible.   Also, having all of my business’ surrounding the basic thought of “photography,” helps to keep it all in sync.  It all blends nicely together, in one happy insanely busy world of “Me.”

The Bliss bag from The Joy Bag Collection

37w: Family is a recurring theme in your blog posts, can you tell me a bit about the support you have received and how it has inspired your work?

TJ: My mother is “that” woman… you know her, the one who can do anything she puts her mind to?  She can see something in the store, on TV, whereEVER and replicate it.  T A L E N T (lol).  Lucky for me,  she bore that “talent” into me.  I’ve always tinkered and been more creative than “book smart.”   And then there is my father… we like to think of him “Grandpa Daycare.”  My kids are very attached to him, as they see him on a pretty regular basic (at least 3 times per week!).   My sister is a HARD WORKER, to the core. She’s always been busy busy busy, and about the #1 best’ola employee anyone could ask for. Every so often, she lends her time to us…in the form of her darling baby (my niece Georgia) to my camera lens! LOL!

However, my favorite people in the world who offer the most support… my husband and my kids.  As you image, I spend a lot of time w/my companies… so the one battle I have is work vs. family time.  Thankfully, they are all wonderfully patient with me, and supportive of me and my companies (‘cause they know what’s best for them if they want dinner on the table! lol). Little did my husband know, he married a creative junkie!

image of Tracy Joy and her family courtesy of Photography by Tracy Joy

37w: Let’s talk Pink Heels Boudoir Portraiture.  I know you feel that it is important to help women of all shapes and sizes express their beauty, but has this new venture also given you a newfound sense of empowerment?

TJ: It is AMAZING! Jamie and I created Pink Heels Boudoir in February this year, and it has exploded!   We do this not for the job of it, but for the women that we photograph.  Every, and I honestly mean EVERY, woman should experience this sort of photography. It’s liberating, empowering, and really leaves you feeling “awed” by yourself.  It’s amazing how so many women, us regular every day women, forget how stunningly beautifully we are, and how easy it is to get back in tune with our bodies and our image.  We like to stomp right on the conventional thought of beauty, and bring a new light to women and their thoughts on what beauty is.

image courtesy of Pink Heels Boudoir Portraiture

37w: Prop Insanity seems like a great way to bring together different suppliers in order to make props easier for photographers to find.  Did this site develop out of personal necessity, did you sense a need in the field, or a little of both?

TJ: It developed out of a simple LOVE for photography props.  When the idea came to my mind, I contacted a fellow photographer friend of mine, Gina of Peahead Prints, who I also knew was obsessed with Photography props… and we let Prop Insanity blossom!   It’s funny, when I go into a “home” store now.. I don’ think “Aww, that basket would be cute in my house”, instead I think “hmmm, can I fit a baby in that”, hahaha.

image courtesy of Photography by Tracy Joy

37w: As a highly motivated individual, balancing 4 businesses and a very dedicated family life, what advice would you have for people (especially mothers) who are stepping out of the box and trying their hand at more than one industry?

TJ: Don’t hold back… and enjoy the ride!  If you can, dive in feet first (never head first! lol).   When I get an idea, I run with it…. build up great customer relations… and join places like Facebook & Etsy to promote and sell your products and/or ideas.   Marketing and promoting are VERY important… if you don’t sell your own product, no one else will.

When it comes to photography….take advantage of your surroundings…offer up your services to friends, family, and even strangers! One of my best clients, who has referred 10+ other clients to me, was someone I met at the park on a sunny day with my kids.   So don’t be embarrassed, or hold back, people will enjoy you!

37w: So, what’s next for Tracy Joy?

TJ: Beats me!  I never say never… but for now, I think I have enough going on, lol.  I’d like to say I’ll win the lotto and buy a giant natural light studio in my town…  or just jet off my tiny clientele to exotic places for photography sessions.  A girl can dream…so who has a buck for the daily lotto for me?

image courtesy of Photography by Tracy Joy

Happy 4th!

July 4th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

image courtesy of

Happy fourth of July!

Because of the holiday, it is safe to assume that many of you will not be reading this until the 5th or the 6th, but a belated holiday well-wish is better than no well-wishing at all.

How did you celebrate our nation’s independence?

Our staff did everything from vacationing at the beach in Hilton Head, SC to boating around Lake Allatoona. Some of us even fit in a baseball game and a cookout with the family.

So, leave a comment and let us know what you did to enjoy this important day in American history.


Thirty Seven West

Reasons for Ribbons

July 2nd, 2010 by admin | Permalink

There is something about summer that evokes images of weddings, barbeques, and picnics…outdoor fun of all sorts.  Given the frolicking nature of the season, we would like to explore a few of the uses of ribbon that can add to your festivities.

Weddings! There are literally hundreds of uses for ribbons at a wedding.  The easiest and most bang-for-your-buck would be to have a custom ribbon that has the bride and groom’s names and maybe even the wedding date printed on it wrapped around the centerpieces or simply tie the ribbon around gift bags, if you choose to go the party favor route.  Ribbon can also be used to decorate doorways, chairs, or the aisle that the bride walks down.  Go with white ribbon with gold lettering for a traditional look, or use ribbon that matches the colors for your wedding to add a little bit of flair.  Also, don’t be afraid to put a bow made of ribbon in the hair of your precious flower girl!

courtesy of

Picnics and Barbeques! With Fourth of July this weekend, barbeque season is in full effect.  Of course this doesn’t end with the summer, but continues through football season in the form of tailgating parties.  So, if you are cooking out on a porch, deck, or patio, we suggest that you spruce it up a little, by weaving a couple of different colored ribbons around your railings or umbrella stand.  For Game Day, stock up on your favorite team colors, to decorate your tailgating set-up.

image courtesy of

As far as picnics are concerned, use lighter colored ribbon to add a little life to your basket.  Or if you are feeling a little more extravagant, you may want to try your hand at making your own Maypole.

image coutesy of Flickr by Meeshala

Of course, these are just a few uses for ribbon. I am sure there are thousands more.  As a matter of fact, come up with a few of your own, email them to me (, and you just might find yourself featured in a future blog.

Labels: Branding Your Products

June 30th, 2010 by admin | Permalink

Image is everything.

Whether you are an up-and-coming designer trying to put your clothes on the market, or part of a church prayer shawl/knitting/quilting group spreading love, comfort, and hope, it is important to put your best foot forward.  With this in mind, remember that your label is like your business card everywhere your product goes.  When looking at your product, it is the label that is going to remind the customer who produced the shirt that they loved.  It is the tag that will tell the patient who crafted the prayer shawl that comforted them in a time of need.

At Thirty Seven West, we pride ourselves in doing everything in our power to ensure that your label is the highest possible quality it can be.  We provide labels in damask, satin, taffeta, and organic cotton to ensure that the label matches the quality and feel of your products.

Beyond labels, we also provide hang tags, care/content instructions, and size tabs…pretty much everything you need to take your product from the factory to the store.

We also have extensive experience working with prayer shawl groups, as well as knitting and sewing circles.  We enjoy working with anyone who is working to better their community.  We believe it is important to leave the world a better place than we found it.

All in all, we just ask that you remember that we will put in the same amount of love and take the same time and care in branding your product as you spent in creating it.

Best Always,

Thirty Seven West

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