We had the good fortune of connecting with Colleen Tracey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Colleen, what do you attribute your success to?
I think my success as a full-time creative really boils down to two things: following the fun and being a human. When I first began practicing my craft, I was really focused on the making rather than the content of what I was lettering and illustrating. However, soon even I got bored with what I was creating. Once I ditched the pinterest quotes and just started lettering and drawing things that made me laugh — my community found me. Now my vibe is that of an ecosassy plant killer. I channel that ‘bad plant mom’ guilt into my pieces, along with a healthy dose of sustainability and sass. The second I began not caring about what strangers thought and started creating the work I found fun, it actually made my art more relatable (the irony, people!) and I found others who loved the same things I did. Now I follow the fun and my feed is filled with humorous thoughts about sustainability and my dead house plants. I’ve coined the term “EcoSassy” to describe my work, and this year I launched a podcast under the same name EcoSassy and chat with other fun creatives about eco-entrepreneurship. The second thing I attribute to my success is simple: be a freaking human. I treat my clients and community like good friends. I abbrev, email Buffy the Vampire GIFs — I forget being ‘professional’ and just speak like a human being. I have more fun and get more clients to boot!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
“Pretty Sassy” probably best describes my art. Definitely pretty, and almost always sassy. If you like minimal color palettes, sustainability and a dash of humor you’d probably enjoy my work. But I definitely have a particular love for foliage, negative space and lots of movement and flow. It took me a while to find my style and voice as a creator, but I’ve learned to trust my passions and follow the fun. What gets me really excited these days is having conversations with artists about incorporating sustainability into our industry. Fashion and Beauty industry has done such a good job at sparking conversations and sharing eco resources. It’s about time us as creatives rise to the challenge! I’m 1000% confident we can come up with some cool shit. That’s part of the reason I launched the podcast EcoSassy. Not only is it a blast chatting with talented entrepreneurs but hopefully we give you some ideas to make your own biz as eco, ethical and cool as possible!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a plant nerd, I’d say the Garfield Park Conservatory for sure! I also love the Chicago Botanical Gardens and their super cool espalier tree orchard. It’s like design for trees. I also live a 5 minute bike ride from Chicago’s 18 mile stretch of walkable lakefront so you best believe I’m headed to the beach with you! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve been #blessed with my biz besties Belinda Kou (lettering artist) and Amina Frances (writer). Being an entrepreneur and freelancer can be a lonely road, so having these fellow creatives at my back has kept me sane and focused.

Website: https://www.colleenmakes.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/colleenmakes

Other: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ecosassy/id1511421953

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