A stay-at-home working mom and artist, Tracy Early thrives on being busy and nurturing creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit in her young daughters.
From running a seasonal Airbnb with her husband, Matt, providing freelance graphic design work to local organizations, and managing her own art business, Early loves everything she is involved in. Her greatest joy though is helping her three young daughters’ foster their own imaginations and ingenuity.
Alongside her 15-year-old daughter, Emma, who has been beading on her own for years, Early makes jewelry, using polymer clay and resin to create handmade wearable art.
Together, the mother daughter duo mix colors, paint the clay, then cut and bake it, apply resin, sand, drill and finally, assemble earrings. Under the business name Early Girl, they debuted their earrings at the Nutcracker Faire last Christmas, with Emma saving for a car.
“Emma doesn’t even have pierced ears, but she’s been making earrings for a long time, saw someone doing polymer clay earrings, and thought that was something we could do,” Early shared. “Emma is pretty reserved and seeing her want to create this business and selling at fairs has been wonderful.”
While Early builds the actual earring parts and her daughter assembles and packages, the young entrepreneur is preparing to take over more of the creative aspects of the business. This summer, she is planning to teach her how to market.
“I’m excited to help her learn how to make a business function and grow, so that if she wants to, she can start her own business,” Early said. “Early Girl is something she can build on and have success at.”
While Emma makes jewelry in the home studio, Early’s middle daughter Allison, 13, has free rein of the kitchen, baking cookies. Baking for the past several years, since 2021, she has been taking orders from friends, family, and community members who pre-order on mom’s personal Facebook page.
Due to the COVID pandemic, Early home-schooled Emma and Allison for a year, including a lesson on entrepreneurship. What resulted was Early Cookie Co, a cookie-baking business that began with the three of them. Today, Allison has taken on as her own.
“Allison is passionate about baking and trying new recipes,” Early shared. “She plays around until she finds what she likes and loves when people enjoy her baked treats.”
Her most popular cookie flavors are snicker doodles and chocolate crinkle cookies, which she sold along with hot cocoa bombs, at the family’s “Nutcracker” booth last year, raising funds for her class’s AK to DC trip next spring.
“This summer, she’ll be baking like mad so she can raise money to do the things she wants to do,” Early said.
Early’s youngest daughter, Isabelle, is 9 years old and can often be found selling her random creations outside on the street to neighbors who drive by. She participated in the “Nutcracker” fair booth, selling her braided rubber band bracelets.
“Isabelle is very creative, selling ice tea and whatever crafts she’s made,” Early said. “She sells for fun because she sees me and her sisters doing it.”
Nurturing her own creativity and fascinated with underwater scenery, Early, whose art business operates as Early Girl Art, loves to paint those scenes with brightly colored acrylics, especially hot pink.
Raised in Idaho with her mom building custom cabinets, decorating cakes, and creating stained-glass pieces, Early’s own creativity was inspired while taking art classes at the University of Idaho where she studied communications with an emphasis in photography.
Her first job out of college was as a graphic designer for a monthly magazine, creating the layout, text and images. When she and her husband moved to Homer in 2007, she continued graphic design work full time with Print Works. When Emma was born, she transitioned to working at home, and when Allison was born, part time. Today she manages her freelance graphic design business, Ezer Design Co.
In Homer, she painted for the first time in 2012, when she and her friend Tracy Hansen began making signs out of reclaimed wood. With Lost Things Design, they made thousands of hand painted signs, selling them at local markets and fairs, as well as shops in town and on the Spit. They ran the business for five years until retiring it, but Early continued to experiment with different types of painting techniques, preferring abstracts and very bright colors.
Her most recent body of work, “Mystic Waters,” is an underwater journey of five large pieces and six tiny ones, currently on display at Art Shop Gallery, along with her and Emma’s earrings which are also available year-round there and at Happy Closet and seasonally at 59 North.
“I enjoy being able to express myself in something that doesn’t have to take words,” Early said. “When I paint, I turn on loud music, put paint on the canvas, dance, and see where it goes.”
As for inspiring her daughters, Early is delighted to see them pursuing their own creativity and ingenuity.
“It blesses me a lot to see my daughters try things, to see a good part of me in them, and to watch them learn and grow,” she shared.
Find the Early’s earrings and original art on Instagram and at earlygirl.co, the graphic design business at ezerdesign.co, and order cookies on Facebook, Tracy Early.