September 2018

Birdie James

Author: Gail Martin | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

A long-time retail professional and Pennsylvania transplant to the Lowcountry, Tracy Moss brings her keen eye for fashion and uniquely big-hearted brand of customer care to Birdie James, the chic women’s boutique in the Shelter Cove Towne Centre on Hilton Head Island. Humble and personable, Moss stands out as a warm and engaging leader in the Birdie James family. She found a welcoming home at the boutique, where she now works alongside owner Michelle Taylor and the Birdie James team to support their clients in finding pieces that infuse high fashion into their day-to-day style.

Since opening Birdie James in 2016, Taylor has striven to create something more than a simple shopping destination. “For me, this business is not about the numbers,” she said. “While I have to make the numbers work, and I want to be successful, I feel like the right people have to be a part of this for our vision to be realized, so you can imagine my excitement when Tracy became the leader of our style team.”

A graduate of Ohio University, Moss worked in accounting when she took a part-time job at Gap and discovered her calling. “I always wanted to own a Gap. At the time, I didn’t know they were corporately owned,” Moss laughed. Years later, Moss’s fondness for retail hasn’t faded. “I just love it. I love helping people, talking to people, wardrobing people,” she said. “I never set out to sell. I just like helping people find something they’re excited about.” As time went on, Moss honed her skills while at Gap and Banana Republic on Hilton Head Island and on Savannah’s Broughton Street. She’s also spent time at White House Black Market and The Porcupine.

Reflecting on Moss’s transition to Birdie James, Taylor said, “I knew Tracy had to be strong in sales and know the industry well because of her career experience. She’s always been a part of a sales team, whether for big box corporate stores or smaller independents. I think she and I both saw this partnership as chance to learn from one another—Tracy learning how to take on nearly full ownership of the day-to-day operations and leading our sales team, and an opportunity for me to learn from her tenure of experience.”

The Birdie James family was more than eager to embrace Moss’s fashion experience. “If we don’t have something in the store, Tracy sets out to find it somewhere else, even if that means it’s in another boutique or corporate store,” Taylor said. “It’s funny because sometimes I want her to move on from that piece and direct our client in a new direction to something that we do have, but her ability to be so client-centered and strive to meet every client’s needs is exactly why we value her so much. As a business owner, it doesn’t get any better than being able to trust someone 100 percent, knowing that they have your vision and everyone’s best interests in mind. That’s Tracy, and she leads by example, setting a foundation and tone for our style team.”

Moss and Taylor work together to establish a friendly, first-class styling experience at Birdie James. As she helps clients develop and refine their own style, Moss maintains a comfortable space for women to bring their friends, mothers, daughters, and family members. “I think the world of her,” Taylor said, “and it’s evident that the community does too. In my opinion, she’s a pillar to the style community, because she’s been in so many different roles with different companies and all along the way remains true to herself and provides an energy and consistency that’s hard to match.”

Moss leads the Birdie James team by example. “It’s incredibly important to me that our team understand and feel that they are part of something bigger than just selling, and that is a part of Tracy’s mantra,” Taylor said. “Our team has this fun, familial energy about it. We agree, and we disagree; we all have different styles and approaches to styling our clients; we know one another’s strengths and weaknesses; and we trust one another. We’ve worked very hard to develop our team dynamic, because it’s important to us that anyone crossing our threshold feel positive energy.”

The enthusiasm for Moss’ energy is shared by regular clients of Birdie James. They trust Moss with their wardrobe, because she ensures that everyone is met with careful attention and endearing kindness. Women know that when they visit the boutique, they will interact with stylists who listen to their needs and help them achieve their ideal style vision. Moss and Taylor agree that personal style leads to a woman’s confidence and creates a positive ripple effect in her life.

“Since opening, I think the biggest surprise is how much women are interested in an experience beyond shopping. They’re open to spending time with us and sharing authentically, which is perfect, because that’s what we set out to do,” Taylor said. A regular guest on WHHI-TV’s Girl Talk, Taylor’s vision for Birdie James is a bit like having a chat with your neighbor over a backyard fence. “For me, that’s what this is about. That community discussion around supporting one another and having a positive impact. Mental health is near and dear to me. Being able to have those conversations provides a bit of a respite from our day-to-day routines. I wanted people to want to spend time here.”

Under Moss’s direction, with a team in-place that understands and executes her unique vision, Taylor can focus on bringing clothing and accessories into her shop that invite all to expand their fashion imagination. “We’re always trying to stay fresh and offer something new; our inventory changes every few days,” Taylor said. “During the big season changes of fall and spring, we transition the floor plan completely. We prepare everything in the back, and then within about 12 to 14 hours, the store is transformed. It’s fun because it freshens things up for a new season, and our clients have come to expect this from us. To be honest, at the end of a few seasons, it’s a nice change for us just as much as it is for our clients.”

Focused on listening to her customers, Michelle Taylor is patiently guiding as she allows Birdie James to evolve into her imaginative vision. Meanwhile, Tracy Moss embodies the goals, ethos, and spirit of the boutique and works to ensure that clients leave the store feeling confident and true to their own style. Together, Taylor, Moss, and the Birdie James team stand as pillars of fashion and hospitality on Hilton Head Island.

Birdie James is located at 28 Shelter Cove Lane, #111, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please call (843) 842-2622 or visit thebirdiejames.com.


  1. Great article!


    — Mike    Aug 31, 09:30 pm   

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