Tuesday, March 4

Interview - Part two: Tracy & John Porter

Q&A Tracy Porter:

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur
I most enjoy the creative process. By this I mean ALL of the creative thinking that goes into being an entrepreneur….and really it is non-stop. There is always something we are working toward or a situation we are trying to solve and grow from….I love all of this.

I love the collaboration with our team, we have the best team. I love how passionate they are. I find the whole experience to be terribly fulfilling…I love that each day brings something new, some new challenge, some new thought, some new direction. I really embrace growth and change and the idea of our company evolving over the years. I think it’s what keep us dynamic as individuals and as a team.

Who are your style icons
I tend to admire many who have passed on…..maybe it’s their history I love as much as anything. The Diana Vreeland’s of the world if you will.

I don’t dwell too much on style icons to be honest. I think things, moments and experiences probably inspire me as much as anything. By this I mean architecture, gardens, homes, patterns, music….random things….a hotel lobby in London or a restaurant that feels right top to bottom. A meal that has been put together so beautifully that you forget how much work must have gone into it.

Watching my kids do something…knowing that I may long for that feeling someday and not be able to capture it again. Books…I love books, where they take you…movies…those sorts of things.

How would you describe your personal style?
Personal style is “the whole lot” in life…it’s how you approach everything…how you view things. Everything is a choice. I choose not to labor over things or thoughts. I choose not to be a perfectionist. I try not to anyway…I find it is exhausting and not always worth the craziness.

Layers are important to me…in everything. From my garden, to the way I cook, the way I dress and decorate. I am a collector and I think this has had a huge impact on my style. I still wear things that were my moms or my grandmothers…I am constantly looking for another layer. I don’t ever want to get stuck in a look or a feeling or a way of doing things. While I love tradition in so many aspects of my life and with my family, I want even those moments to feel exciting…surprising…but comfortable. Comfort is huge to me and I think it partly dictates my personal style.

What is the one thing in life you can’t live without
My family. And then books.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
I think it would be really fun to hang out with Patricia Wells for a day. She is an author of many cookbooks that I love. I discovered her when I lived in Paris in my late teens…I sort of made my way through the city with her book…eating everything and anything.

I think it would be fun to go to the markets with her, go to her favorite pastry shops and foodies joints. Just hang out and eat and talk. I just read that she offers cooking classes in her studio in St. Germain des Pres…which is where I lived for a few years. I may just need to go and do that, bring my mom with me. Sounds like a blast.

What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
Hmmmm…maybe how much I love food. Many people are also surprised that I didn’t go to college and that I live in Wisconsin. I think that is always funny how much they are surprised by that. I think they forget that you can get anywhere from pretty much anywhere these days…in about 8 hours (give or take) I can be in France, pretty cool. If I lived in L.A. it would take me much longer.

What books are currently on your bedside table
The Russian Concubine, several Taschen books (Paris and London) and Good to Great. Some random children’s books and many magazines as well. I keep a big stack of books to get to on the floor.

I have this thing about my “book lineup”…just in case I don’t like what I’m reading. I have a terribly ridiculous addiction to books. I am certain I would be embarrassed at the money I have spent over the years…I really don’t want to know…I’m afraid if I did I would have to stop and I refuse to do that. I will continue to ignore money spent on book purchasing…happily. It could be worse.

Q&A John Porter:

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
The flexibility and opportunity to actually do what we envision. Think it and then make it happen. It’s really pretty cool.

What is your favorite luxury in life
Date nights and travel. Tracy and I are lucky to have found the best nanny ever. She provides Tracy and me with time – once every two weeks or so – to continue to have a one-on-one relationship.

Travel – to anywhere – is a wonderful luxury, almost a necessity to me. Tracy and I were able to go to Europe for about a month early in our relationship, with no itinerary and no set return date, and we had an incredible experience. I understand that people who have to travel for work all the time don’t enjoy it as much but get me on a plane to anywhere I will have a great time.

What is your most prized possession?
I don’t really have a prized possession in a material sense. If our business can be categorized as a possession then our business because of the how dynamic and challenging it is. I also really love the home we’ve made (as opposed to our house).

What books are currently on your bedside table?
On the top of the pile are a variety of children’s books – reading to the kids and all. Below them are some magazines that are mostly unread. Below that, this month, are some motivational books a la James Canfield and I am mostly drawn to spy novels (James Patterson).

What is your greatest accomplishment
My greatest accomplishment is my relationship with Tracy. We do so much together – work and family – and I continue to be bedazzled by how we continue to enjoy and expand our relationship, and keep it the most important thing in our lives.

So many people are bitter and disconnected from their spouses and I feel that Tracy and I, even though we’ve been married over 16 years, continue to be excited to be together and finding out more about each other.

What keeps you grounded
My kids, my wife and my mistakes. Our children because their needs are independent of what is happening in our professional lives, their demands supersede whatever else is going on. Mistakes, and I make them every day, remind me to keep focus and continue to reflect. Do I really need to expand on how my wife keeps me grounded? Did I mention she’s CEO and we work together?

What is your idea of earthly happiness
A healthy and happy loving family. It’s real and so emotionally powerful, earthly or otherwise.

Interview by Ronda Carman


pve design said...

What an inspirational Part Two.
The energy and passion comes right through!
Continued happiness and good health to a wonderful couple who are following their dream while living a lovely life.

Irene said...

I enjoyed reading this. Inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

The Peak of Chic said...

Interesting insight into two very creative people!

London Calling said...

Definately a "Best" interview!

Anonymous said...

Love them both!! What a great interview Ronda!

ALL THE BEST said...

Patricia you are right on the money, their energy and passion shine!

You are so welcome Irene. I found their story and philosophies very inspirational!!

ALL THE BEST said...

Very inspirational Jennifer and sooo creative!

Thanks Anne and Londoncalling!

Suzy said...

Wonderful profiles and an inspirational story!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I love creative couples!

Mary-Laure said...

Thanks for this great interview, Ronda! As I read it I kept on thinking "Oh, I love that too!" (as in: Taschen books, Diana Vreeland's style, children's books...)
Isn't it moving how he says his proudest accomplishment is his relationship with Tracey?

ALL THE BEST said...

Thanks Suzy and David.

ALL THE BEST said...

I could not agree more Mary-Laure. They just seem like such an amazing couple. Good for them!!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful interview. I've been following Tracy Porter's story for several years now. I find her so inspirational.

{this is glamorous} said...

A great finish to a fantastic interview--they seem so happy and in love--it's no wonder they create such beautiful things.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Great interview, Rhonda! So much inspiration!


Jean M said...

This is my first visit (thanks to "the simpler things")and just had to say how much I enjoyed reading this interview on the Porters. Thanks for sharing it!