Creating RV Gems With Traci Thompson
RV Gems, Traci Thompson
MRV: The Buzz, Your RV Lifestyle Insider. Written By: Candice Reed
RV Business Style: RV Gems
Designer Works To Live On The Road While Designing RV Charms, Jewelry, Key Chains, Car Accessories And More
People create art for different reasons. Some are impressed by the skill it takes to depict some object in a realistic manner. Some find it relaxing to sit down and create something aesthetically pleasing that they see, and others have a need to give form and visibility to the things in them that they cannot express in words.
Traci Thompson creates art so she can buy an RV.
“Full-time RV living has been a dream of mine for years,” said Thompson who lives in Orlando, FL. “I sold my husband on the idea a few years ago. It really wasn't difficult, as he shares my love for travel and the outdoors. Our plan is to buy and live in a small motorhome within the next few years -sooner if possible. Orlando will be home base until he retires a few years later. We'll travel as much as possible, on weekends and Curt's vacations, until he retires. Our two Cornish Rex cats will be joining us.”
Due to Fibromyalgia and other conditions, Thompson was forced to quit her job and a 17-year career in administration/office management in 2007. The couple eventually claimed bankruptcy- losing their home and one of their vehicles.
“We continue to live paycheck to paycheck and have a lot of debt due to unexpected expenses, sometimes normal daily expenses,” she said. “I do the best I can to contribute; writing resumes for job seekers and making jewelry and selling it online in shops such as etsy- https://www.etsy.com/shop/RVGems.
The open-road has called Thompson’s name ever since her family moved from Florida to California when she was 12. They visited all of the major attractions along the way- the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns and the Alamo.
“Some of my happiest childhood memories were made during that trip,” she said. “Years later, when my son was 10 years old, we rented a motorhome for a camping trip and I fell in love.”
One day in 2015, Thompson was brainstorming about ways to make money on the road after her RV dream had been fulfilled and that's when she had the idea to design RV charms for her jewelry.
“Catering to RVers makes perfect sense. Of course, I'm not making a profit, but this time will allow me to grow my social media audience, cultivate relationships with RVers, and workout any kinks during start-up,” she said. “I also started a GoFundMe account, but I find it difficult to ask for money and only received two donations. I stay inside our apartment most of the time and can't wait to change my way of living.”
In addition to the RV charms, Thompson has designed class A motorhome, class C motorhome and Airstream/camper charms. She designed metal RV stamps for jewelry stamping. Her latest stamp design is the back of an Airstream. She only sells online now but is looking to expand her line into campground stores soon.
She also designs jewelry, key chains, car accessories and household items that feature RV charms, as well as other pieces with a boho flair
“I design my own charms and use high-quality materials in each of my pieces,” she said. “People really love wearing my eclectic jewelry because it makes a statement that they have followed their dreams to love a different type of life.”
The Florida couple has always had a love of travel, and Thompson’s husband Curt has camped his whole life. In December, as a gift to the future adventurers, Thompson’s family rented a 27- foot Thor Fourwinds for them to travel to a holiday gathering in Statesboro, GA.
“It had been quite a long time since we traveled together,” Thompson said. “It was a wonderful break and a way for us to gain a better understanding of the features we should focus on when we go RV shopping.
Thompson said she liked the size of the Fourwinds, but it was a bit noisy.
“We love the 25 foot Thor Navion 24V, a diesel with twin bed layout,” she said. “Our plan is to keep it small so I'll feel comfortable driving it with our car hitched to the back. The price is surprisingly reasonable for a diesel and we'll get a used one to cut down on costs.”
Thompson hopes that the art she creates will help her find a new life on the road, making new friends and seeing beyond her illness and the past.
A graduate of Kelsey-Jenny College in Communications as well as a
certified grant writer, Candice has written for The Los Angeles Times
& The New York Times. She loves entertaining and all things French.