Stracke chats exclusively with OK! at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City to reveal how she rose from the ashes of a divorce to becoming a successful entrepreneur, her ability to maintain her individuality amongst her fellow cast members and how she's keeping her business sustainable through circular fashion.
"When I started, I just wanted a pet project because I had been divorced for three years at that point, and it had taken me three years to get myself together," Stracke explains.
"I had a writing partner and we've written a movie script together. We were working in the back of the courtyard behind my store," she says of snatching up the West Hollywood location. "So when the front opened up, I got the lease. I was subleasing it to other people, just waiting on the day until I could get my store going. My ex-husband was not fully supportive of me having a store, so it took me a minute."
"I had forgotten because I hadn't worked in 17 years," she adds of starting the company. "I'm still on the learning curve. I don't pretend to know anything that I don't, but love learning from other people. And I'm just kind of chugging along on this reality show to boot."
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Despite being in a cast of other heavy fashion hitters, Stracke has stayed true to her chic and oftentimes quirky — hello cat sweater! — aesthetic. "I dress like myself. I'm very individual and I've never ever tried to dress like anybody," the Southern belle notes.
"I remember going to the Salvation Army and buying clothes and cutting them up," she says of her younger years. "My grandmother and great-grandmother had all these broaches and I would pin them on a vest just because I thought it seemed cool. It probably wasn't. I was like a big old nerd."
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Now, Stracke has put all of her energy into keeping her brand eco-friendly by using the approach of circular fashion with the help of her other Bravo stars. "By sustainable, what we're doing is keeping things circular and profitable," she spills.
"The model that we're using is to have a celebrity to take either their excess returns or excess inventory items from them — because we have so many clothes — and remerchandising or relabeling them [the items]," Stracke explains of the system — which has already been tested on The Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Cynthia Bailey and will soon see former RHOBH Denise Richards do a line of swimwear.