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Meet Tracy Hayes of Matter and Bone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracy Hayes.

Tracy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started out buying abandoned storage units about 17 years ago. It was a far cry from what I do now. After years of buying storage units and selling at Northern California flea markets, I opened a store in Oakland. The store changed dramatically after 9/11. With the dot com industry in Northern California, housing became very expensive. My family and I moved to Los Angeles. I had two children and became mainly a buyer for the store. I started going to estate sales. I purchased smaller home goods and offered them for sale on Ebay; I had a knack for it.  While going to estate sales my love for mid-century modern furniture and home decor grew. I learned about trends verses sustainable design. Over the course of the years I have acquired a collection of about 450 pieces of mid-century modern that I offer for sale through 1stdibs. While watching the furniture design market drastically change, I noticed a few things. One, is that stores like IKEA and Target have changed the game. People were happy to buy relatively inexpensive furniture to attain a certain look in their home. When the look went stale they simply threw away the stuff they bought and started over to varying degrees. Two, is that Instagram and Pinterest have also changed the market. A buyer now has endless inspiration when it comes to their home. Before we only really had magazines and a handful of design blogs. Thirdly, people don’t throw away things that inspire them or pieces with a story.

With this information in the back of my mind, I decided to open a store a year ago, selling vintage furniture. Over time, I saw a gap in my store personally. I gave careful consideration to what I love in my home and what I saw on social media. The ideas started flowing. My thought was this; a home should reflect a person’s life and inspire them in all areas. Matter & Bone was then set in motion. The idea that a home should be filled with classic timeless furniture and updated with smaller pieces that inspire and reflect person’s life past and present became the basis for my boutique. Today Matter & Bone sells restored vintage furniture and carefully selected new home goods. Some of the pieces like the pillows and floor cushions are my design. I work with artists all from all over the world, offering their wares. I’m currently developing a small line of home goods and select furniture pieces.

Has it been a smooth road?
Opening Matter & Bone has been a rocky but rewarding road. I do not have a college degree or any formal training. I have only trial and error. Not having any formal training has cost me at times. I have learned to ask for help. Asking people with more knowledge and know how has been a God send. I ask my fiancé for her thoughts on pieces and merchandising. I ask my children as well for their input. My first Artwork I invited friends, family, and people I know from the design world. It is important to get feedback from other store owners and consumers about what works form them and what does not. A few conversations with my fiancé has completely changed the direction of some projects. I also decided not to take out a loan to start the store. Everyone knows, even the best ideas need financing. I have been operating on a lean budget. I have scaled back staffing in order to make ends meet. My soon to be wife has been kind enough to help out and work with me.

Pulling together a chic home or dinner party while being a working parent or a young person entering adulthood isn’t an easy task. I think the market misses that audience. People need quality furniture and home goods that will withstand rough children, parties, and regular use. Simple things like having the ability to leave a drink on a table and walk away without worry of water rings is important to me. This is a male dominated industry. With that everything has been geared towards the masculine.  In my opinion design can be cold and impersonal. With that you have a beautiful museum home, not a home filled with function and use. I’m aiming to create a brand that remembers the function in all of the beauty. I think my keen understanding for what is lacking in the market is what sets me apart. If I do it properly, I will be offering an entire lifestyle.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is going to Alameda beach on Sundays with my mother, her best friend Melissa, and my brothers. We would take a bucket of chicken, Pepsi, a blanket, and an AM/FM radio. We would stay there all day until Sunset. It was glorious! My world felt like love and happiness on those days.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 548 South Spring Street R113
    Los Angeles, CA 90013
  • Website: www.MatterandBone.com
  • Phone: 213.265.7804

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