Tracy McGhee loves to travel, but that doesn’t mean she enjoys packing.
And after years of trips (to 30 countries so far) she still couldn’t find the durable, good-looking travel accessories she wanted.
The answer, to her, was simple: start her own company.
“When I started looking for accessories that I thought would be able to address my needs while also being more stylish, I figured why not just make it happen?” said McGhee, 51, who started that company, Ms. Jetsetter, in 2019.
“My necklaces were constantly tangled while traveling,” she said. Now she offers jewelry organizers and more than a dozen other items, priced from $10 to $70,.
Other offerings include tech organizers, grooming kits, laundry bags, cases for passports and vaccine cards — even reusable bottles for shampoos and lotions. They’re sold on her website, as well as on Amazon and at Irv’s Luggage.
McGhee now hopes her business will be a hit at her first Inspired Home Show, where she’ll have a booth showcasing her products. The event runs Saturday through Tuesday at McCormick Place.
With 1,600 exhibitors from 40 different countries, it is the largest annual trade show in the Midwest.
This year’s event features a brand-new travel expo with the latest in travel goods, luggage, and accessories.
“I believe that this will be a fantastic opportunity for my business,” McGhee said. “I’m focused on making sure that my booth presence is strong and that I am able to convey what Ms. Jetsetters is and what it stands for.”
McGhee believes the show will help her connect with more luggage companies, small businesses and big-box stores.
“The goal is to hopefully walk away with new clients who can introduce existing clients to new stylish products like Ms.Jetsetter,” McGhee said. “I think that consumers are searching for something new and promising, particularly in the travel accessory space, and I believe Ms. Jetsetter provides that.”
It hasn’t been easy for McGhee to get to this point. She started her company before the pandemic, and when COVID-19 hit, “I thought that the business would not be able to move forward,” she said. “But luckily, I was in a retail accelerator program that is designed to assist small businesses with physical products.”
Thanks to that program, McGhee pitched a wristlet set to Walgreens, which tested it at 40 Chicago locations.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” McGhee said. “There are many opportunities that have started to open themselves up for me and it’s been it feels great to be where I am.”