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Life and Work with Rachel Boyer Shuman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Boyer Shuman.

Rachel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am inspired by a love of color, attention to detail and a belief that “it’s the little things” that are important to notice and celebrate. For as long as I can remember, I’ve needed (and had) a creative outlet – whether it was as a dancer, piano player or singer in my younger days or as a photographer or graphic artist in my “adult” years. My professional background is in Social Work but after my children were born it became important to me to be able to work around their busy schedules and that’s when I began thinking about opening up an Etsy shop. I started with fine art photography and over the years have expanded my work to include art prints, accessories, and home decor items.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not a smooth road. In the time since I first opened my shop so many things have changed — with social media (which barely existed back then) with Etsy, in my life and of course in the world. There’s been a lot of learning to adjust. Often just when I thought I had a handle on something, the “rules” would change. But isn’t that life? We constantly need to reassess and adjust as necessary.

I also struggle(d) a lot with how to balance everything. I still often find it hard to devote “enough” time to running my shop, developing new designs, giving stellar customer service and marketing while also being a wife, mom, room parent, helping to run our little league, finding time to exercise and to rest, spending time with loved ones… What I’ve learned over the years is that balance is somewhat of a myth. I think it’s possible but not if you want to balance everything at once. I think the “balance” is achieved over time. Some weeks/months/years are for focusing more on work, some on family/loved ones, some on ourselves and some on other interests or responsibilities. Day to day, it’s hard to balance these things but over time I do think it works out. But I think constantly striving for balance actually causes more stress or makes us feel like we aren’t “enough.” We have to learn to let go of some things during certain “seasons” of our lives and not be so hard on ourselves that we can’t “do it all.”

Please tell us about ENFRAME Photography & Design.
I create bright, chic, joyful and fun art, home decor and gifts. Many of the items in my shops can make a big impact on a space or on a gift recipient without making a huge impact on your budget!

I have a somewhat eclectic range of interests and experiences and I think that allows me to create an interesting variety of items and thoughtful prints.

I love to work with customers on custom gifts or designs. I love the back and forth process of getting it just right and being able to meet or (hopefully) exceed the vision in the customer’s mind.

I also love providing excellent customer service. I love the personal side of running an Etsy shop and getting to communicate directly with customers. I love when customers share stories with me about how they plan to utilize an item in their space or when they tell me about the person to whom they plan to gift one of my pieces.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
Any and everything! Women are badass! Men have no idea all that we put up with and still get shit done!!

In all seriousness, I think women have a unique ability to integrate our varied experiences and multiple roles in life into our work, whatever that may be. We don’t compartmentalize. And I think we tend to do things in a much more collaborative and thoughtful way. Women are often accused of not supporting one another and I think that’s totally false. Maybe because we know what it feels like to be ignored, excluded or dismissed we tend to try harder to not make others feel that way.

While we still have a ways to go, I think we are finally starting to recognize that women can be amazing leaders because of their unique qualities and not in spite of them.

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