Monday Muse: Rachel Seifert
Raise your hand if you’re glad it’s Fall. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE summer. But Fall. Fall is my season. Crisp days and cool nights. Routines that are back in place and schedules that are kept. It’s like a refresh. And what better way to kick of the fall season than a new Monday Muse? This week’s Monday Muse is Rachel Seifert of Rachabella Photography and The Merry Hour. I met Rachel at the very first Merry Hour event over 2 years ago. I had recently left my corporate job and wasn’t 100% sure what was next for me. So I took a leap of faith, did something completely out of my comfort zone, and I showed up to the Merry Hour Event. Rachel was taking head shots in between hosting the event and getting to know all the amazing women they had brought together. Rachel’s energy and passion for lifting others up is evident from the minute you meet her. She’s a connector and she thrives on helping others succeed. She’s not afraid of the struggles that come with running your own business. She tells it like it is and shares the good, bad, and ugly. So grab a cup of coffee and a donut and read on to get to know Rachel.
Let's start at the beginning - what did you want to be when you were younger and what did you study in school? Was photography always the goal?
I never wanted to be one thing when I grew up. I loved shoes. I was a gymnast who dreamt of the olympics. I loved art. I was always moving. I started college as a phycology major and quickly changed my focus to art. I focused on Graphic Design, Spanish, and of course Photography!
How did you start your business? Was it a side hustle at first or did you dive right in full time? How did you build up your portfolio and clientele?
I was always the one with a camera. First rocking the disposable cameras, the family video camera and then my dads 35mm film camera. I always enjoyed looking through old photos of my family and found my true love in the dark room developing black and white film through high school. It continued to be my side hustle while in college. My younger sister and family members were my photography muses. I photographed an intimate wedding in the summer of 2011 and it launched me into my future dreams of photographing full time. After 5 years of jumping from job to job-- corporate jobs to sales to special education assisting in the schools-- I took the leap 3.5 years ago and haven’t looked back since.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
CONNECT. Reach out to people. Ask questions and challenge yourself. Create, create, create. Failure is inevitable, but its the learning from the failure that will keep your business going. Trust that everyone had to start somewhere and that people are there to help and support you.
You're also the co-founder of the merry hour. You and Sara have created an amazing community with these events. How did the two of you come together on this and what are your future goals for it as it wraps up its 2nd year?
We met over the beautiful inter webs as Sara and I co-designed a dear friends book. We were thousands of miles apart and over email and some IG DM's she created the beautiful print graphics and I the photographs. It was pure destiny because we both didn't realize how badly we needed someone like each other in our lives. We wanted to feel a part of a community of other makers, creators, dreamers and doers and so out of selfishness we brought women together and made just that. As we approach the end of our 2nd year and almost 13 events later it has been incredible for us to reflect on how many women lives we have impacted by creating the Merry Hour and how much we have ahead for this community. Our goal is to keep reaching women and bringing them together in a space that they always feel welcome, can be their honest selves and can celebrate everything that they are up to.
You're a beacon of inspiration - challenging others to follow their dreams and not afraid of showing the struggles along the way to get there - what keeps you going at the end of the day? What brings you back for more?
I love adventure and I love connecting with people. My job has allowed me too do both and connect the two in ways that I never imagined. Working for myself and building a business off of my creative talents has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life. There is power in acknowledging the good and the bad. Because running a business sure has thrown some major curveballs, but what really keeps me going at the end of the day is the fact that I get to serve so many incredible people in some of the most important and memorable days of their lives. Honesty is key and by keeping things real we can relate and can connect on a much deeper level. Also, knowing that because I work hard I get to create and experience more, adventure often and support my family is pretty badass. AND my family. My main motivator in all that I do. The reason I will keep pursuing what I love is so that I can in turn teach and lead as example for my son and those around me.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? Would you change anything?
I would say worry less, you are a badass and you can do it, wayyyy more often. I wouldn't change a thing. I am a firm believer in learning from all experiences in life. Everything that I have done has made me into the woman, mama, wife, friend, creative, business owner, teacher and daughter that I am today--failures, accomplishments and all.
Morning bird or night owl Neither. But good coffee gets me out of bed!
Mountains or beach vacation: Mountains. Always.
Favorite venue to photograph at: Paikka
Favorite donut: Good ole fashion cake donut with sprinkles
Go with the flow or control freak: Go with the flow
You've got one free hour to spend anyway you want - what do you do? Slow morning with coffee in the mountains with my husband Gary and son Griffin