After having a career as a hair stylist for more than 20 years, Tracie Rampley began her own custom hat company in 2013, called Embellished Designs. She puts her own personal touch into each hat and takes pride in the fact that no hat is ever the same. She is also very active in the community and tries to give back every chance she gets ever since moving to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2011.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’ve lived in Ponte Vedra Beach since 2011 and in 2013 I started my custom hat business Embellished Designs and have really grown it from the ground up.
I’m as country as cornbread having grown up on a farm 30 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee in Northwest Georgia.
I definitely came from a humble beginning and I have always had a passion for helping others. My mom was a single parent, and we always gave back any way we could.
What led you to designing hats?
I was a hair stylist for over 20 years before getting into hats.
It all started when somebody came up to me at the Ponte Vedra Garden Club and asked who did my hat. I told her that I made it myself and the next thing I knew I was being asked by multiple people if I could make one for them.
The business had grown to the point where I was making 48 hats within a six-month span prior to COVID-19.
I would always make my own style, so I knew I had a designer’s eye. My hats are made out of my home.
Is there a certain type of hat you specialize in?
I do custom only at this point and they are all originals. I don’t make any hat’s look the same.
You can’t find me at a store or online. It is as grassroots an operation as it gets.
Prior to making a hat for someone it is important for me to see the outfit they plan to wear with the hat and give advice on what would be best in a hat to compliment that look.
It is so important because I’m all about flow from your head to your toes. I’ll tell them to get what they want to wear, and we’ll build the hat around that.
People think that they can’t wear a big hat, but that’s not the case. Anyone can wear any sized hat as long as it fits on their head. If you can dream it, then I can create it.
It’s about a two-three-week turnaround time to complete a hat and nobody touches the hats throughout the process but me.
Kentucky Derby parties are a busy time for hat orders, but I also do weddings and themed parties.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I still get cold chills each time when they try a hat on for the first time. I take pride in my hats and in the people that wear them.
If they are going to wear it to a charitable event, one of the things I’ll do is give 10% of the profit from the hat’s sale to that specific charity. I will also donate hats to be auctioned offer at certain charity events.
What are some of the other ways you are involved within the community?
I have always tried to help young people understand that their mistakes do not define them. I have mentored young women and inner-city kids and am an angel ambassador with Angels and Doves Anti-bullying.
I have also been a voice against domestic violence and love to go on Christmas day and feed the less fortunate and spend my time with other who don’t have a lot.
I’ve been focusing a lot on the younger generation of late.
What advice would you give to the next generation of fashion designers?
I was a tomboy growing up and spent a lot of time driving motorcycles and dirt bikes. One day in middle school I started to get intrigued by fashion and it has been a love of mine ever since.
I would encourage anyone who has an interest in fashion that if you have a thought, to go with it and go buy some material to make it happen and remember to never give up.
Any young people interested in getting started or with questions about getting started with their fashion idea can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That is also the best way to reach me regarding hat questions.
What do you love most about Ponte Vedra Beach?
I love this area because it’s just a little beach town. I enjoy offshore fishing, fashion and mentoring is the most important thing for me as a human.
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