Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracey Mostyn.
Hi Tracey, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Curb It – TC was an “accidental” business. It all began when I saw one of my friends posting on local FB pages looking for someone to paint a TX Flag on her curb. After a couple weeks and no responses, I decided to see what it would take… being a hobby artist, I love playing with new mediums. After a few YouTube videos, purchasing stencils and four cans of paint I tested in my driveway… good enough. If I could do two curbs, I’d make my money back.
I set out on a Saturday morning in July 2020. As I was painting my friend’s curb, her neighbor came out and asked me to do his… and then another neighbor and then another. Cool! I made my money back and then some. My friend posted on FB, and the next thing I knew, my messenger was blowing up… I had a business in 24 hours. I ordered some inexpensive business cards and set up a FB page… I soon found I needed a website, and the business grew. I have a regular full-time job M-F, but this became my hobby business as my “repair the house” fund. Since COVID, I have been working from home and have gained back ten hours a week by not commuting. It’s brought great balance to my life and allowed me to pursue my passions on the weekends.
As my business got off the ground, I began getting more challenging requests… one of which was a “Margaritaville” curb with Jimmy Buffet style font. I wasn’t about to try to freehand that… so I began looking at fonts and decided to test making stencils on my Cricut with removeable vinyl. It worked!! and it became a game-changer! I discovered that by using removeable vinyl, I was not getting the drips or smears that the hard stencils could cause… it also opened the door to endless possibilities in design. I soon abandoned the traditional stencils and began cutting all my own.
Much of my work is a combination of crafted vinyl stencils and hand painting. I touch up all of my work by hand, regardless. Each curb is treated like a work of art with time and care. I allow each color to dry before going on with the next layer. Because of my process, I work the curbs in rotation and do a layer at a time. For that reason, I stay local to The Colony. Our town is just the right size that I can drive between my curbs and move quickly between them. I will consider other locations if I can collect at minimum 3-4 curbs in the area to make it worth the trip based on how I work a rotation. I have had a couple of “curb parties.”
Being local, folks know they can call me at any time to get on the schedule. I do not canvas neighborhoods but rely on word of mouth, referrals, my FB page, website, and now Instagram. Here lately I have been told I was found in a Google search, so that is cool!
I love my little cottage business. It gives me a creative outlet while helping folks out and making a little extra income. The Amazon delivery folks are always happy to see me! Making their jobs easier and hopefully that of the first responders as well.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Ideal temp is 58 degrees or above. If it’s too cold, the paint becomes a sticky mess and will not dry properly. Humidity becomes a factor for the same reasons. So that creates a bit of a lull in the winter months. Curb Season is typically April-October.
Other challenging weather conditions are wind and rain. I have a beach umbrella I use in the heat that I have had to chase it down the street a couple of times when it decides to become a kite… and there was that time that lightning struck close by as I was shaking a can of paint in the air.
Bumpy or broken curbs are always a challenge… no matter how careful, there will always be drips or blurs that require a little extra work.
Working in the street can be dangerous. Despite having safety cones, dressing in neon and wearing a safety vest, drivers often don’t pay attention. I have to be constantly aware of my surroundings. I’ve only had one dog try to attack me and I have had a couple of others come to get in my lap. 🙂
Water… rain, sprinklers, bad drainage can all bring a damper to my paint job. I usually can work around it if the water is not standing too deep, but that means I take a bath in the process. There is nothing like sitting at a job and the sprinklers go off!
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
My full-time job is working numbers for a wonderful company that gives me great benefits and work-life balance. I LOVE my job! There have been times in my life I had dreamed about pursuing a career in art… but let’s face it… there is a reason they are called “Starving Artist,” and when I did, it completely stripped all the joy out of my passion.
I knew I had to stick with what I was good at in the corporate world and just use art as my outlet. Over the years, I dabbled in quite a few little art ventures for fun… did some shows… sell some prints… but nothing really had legs until Curb It. The curbs are the perfect balance for my left brain/right brain. I am able to use my math in measuring and design and use my love of color and art. It also gives me quite a bit of much-needed exercise!
I am a contact-free business. We communicate through email, messenger or text upfront. No need to be at home while work is being completed. Payment by Venmo, Zelle, PayPal or CashApp. I love working with my clients to find out what is special to them. How can we make their curb an expression of their loves, hobbies, or personality? I listen intently, and we often come up with something that really speaks to who they are. That is the best part of this work… bringing it to life as an expression on their curb. I love to make my clients happy!
We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
The largest risk I took was when I converted my paint supply to professional graffiti paint. It is more expensive and I have a two-week lead time for it to arrive. I invested in the inventory, not really knowing if my business was going to last long enough to use it all. But I loved the paint and while it was a risk, I had already made that income, and it was worth it. If all else failed, I’d just go paint another mural on my fence. 🙂
I have taken a few small risks with advertising, but you won’t know if you don’t try. It can all be written off and it is a learning experience finding who your customer is and how to communicate to them.
I won’t be quitting my day job, but see this as an avenue for savings and a backup should anything happen. Who knows? It could be a business into retirement if I can still get up and down. 🙂
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.curbit-tc.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/curbit.tc
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/localcurbartist