An up-and-comer in the jewelry design industry, but a long time devotee of all things accessory, Tracy Tenpenny's fondest childhood memories are fashion-infused. "From the earliest age I can remember, my twin sister and I would always play in my mother's jewelry box," she explains. "We would put on her long silk chiffon night gowns, peignoirs and heels, and wrap ourselves in diamonds and pearls. She's definitely responsible for my obsession with Chanel."
Though her passion for fashion was realized early, it took a few turns in the road to get where she is today. After earning a degree in Interior Design and Architecture, Tenpenny suffered the great loss of her mother to ovarian cancer. Shortly after, she achieved the coveted position as design director at an architecture firm, but developed her jewelry collection on the side as a coping mechanism. As the demand for her pieces increased, she decided to branch out on her own, in a field she loved dearly, in the most fortuitous of ways. "Amazingly, I didn't purposely pick the five-year anniversary of my mother's passing as the date to make the leap. It wasn't until a conversation a week or so before July 10 that I realized the significance of that date. It was a very powerful realization and only reinforced that making the jump was the correct decision," she says.
When she's not creating new designs, putting in the intense legwork it takes to run a small business or taking a break to hit Donn's Depot (her regular Austin haunt where the regulars yell out, "Tenpenny!"), this Renaissance gal serves as the philanthropy chair for IIDA (International Interior Design Association) volunteering her time to charitable organizations. "Volunteering puts everything into perspective. My company was founded on the principal of elevating awareness for charities around town," she says. "I've found that Austin is such a giving community when it comes to helping others."
Whether it's creating just the right piece of jewelry for an outfit or donating time to the community, Tenpenny knows the magic a special touch can provide.