Minneapolis Illustrator, Invitation Designer, + DIYer Blog


Art, Inspiration, and Life. Sharing all the inspires me to create.

Posts tagged Small Business
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.

Rapid Fire:

  • 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

Thanks for sharing your journey with us Rachel! You can find Rachel on Instagram at @rachabellaphotography and @themerryhour. And check out her website here.

Monday Muse: Heather Fox

Do you ever see someone on IG or TV and think “we’d be friends in real life” ? That’s how I feel about Heather. This week’s Monday Muse. I don’t know Heather all that well (we met ever so briefly at an event and we follow each other on Instagram - so that immediately makes us friends right? ) but she’s a girl I want to have in my inner circle. She has this energy about her that pulls you in. She loves life and lives it to the fullest. She has killer style (can we talk about all the colored pom earrings she has!!!) in both fashion and home design. Her home away from home is in Palm Springs (also one of my favorite places ever!) and you can rent it out for your next stay there. She loves to DIY and renovate homes, which is how she and her husband started their company - Fox Homes. And to top it off, she’s got a new show- Stay or Sell - premiering tomorrow night (Tuesday, August 27 8pm CST) on HGTV! Yep. You read that right. Heather and her husband, Brad, are going to be on HGTV. So without further adieu- let’s get to know more about Heather!

Let's start at the beginning. What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you go to school for?

I grew up on a small hobby farm in NW MN and as a little girl, I could only imagine working with horses. As I got older, I realized I had other passions and went to school for business knowing I wanted to start my own business someday. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and hoped that I could follow in their footsteps, but I was lost on what my business would be.. something creative. I saw the hard work that went into owning a small business, but also the freedom that can come along with it and the feeling of building something that yours. My parents worked hard and had struggles, but also built everything they had!

Can you share your career journey?How did you get started in real estate? Did the renovating/designing part come naturally?

Real Estate fell into my lap about 15 years ago to be honest. It wasn't my expected career. I was offered a job as a sales person with a local builder and decided to give it a try. I fell in love with helping people build and design their dream homes. I'd always had an interest in home design, but that job gave me SO much knowledge and grew my passion for all things home! I found my perfect mix of helping people and being in a creative career!

My husband was intrigued and started in the real estate industry just a few months after I did. During that time we decided to flip our first home. We had no idea what we were doing and no money to do it, but we went for it and it worked! We literally pushed bills out to the last minute they had to be paid and lived on Mac and cheese to make it happen.

After we had our first son, I decided to join Brad in what is now "Fox Homes". It was a leap of faith to leave my well paying corporate job to be a fully self employed, small business owning couple, but I craved more time with my baby and was lucky enough to make it happen. I was able to work 3 days a week while my kids were small and I will forever be SO grateful for that time.

Over the past 10 years it's been an evolution from just Real Estate (helping buyers and sellers) to a design firm to a full scale construction company. We now have the most amazing team of agents, designers and contractors. It's been slow, hard process to get them all to thriving, but here we are! We now (along with our team) specialize in helping people find fixer upper homes and turn them into their dreams homes- we're a one stop shop.

Fox Homes is a large team! How did you know when to add to your team and did you have any growing pains as you got bigger?

This is always a tough one for me! I'm a "heart" thinker and decision maker. I do everything with heart and just hope I make the right decisions. Luckily, my better half uses spreadsheets and numbers to help ground me. We always joke that I'm writing in a glittery rainbow notebook with stickers while he's using excel and true data. Despite my head in the clouds, we're SO stinking lucky to have the best team ever. We have the greatest crew of creative people who are humble, smart, funny and just completely wonderful. We've said no to some people of course and had to let go of a few over the years, but overall, we've been SUPER lucky! We're like a little family. We hang out, travel together and celebrate each other daily.

You've got a new show on HGTV: Stay or Sell (CONGRATS!) - can you share what that's been like? how did it all come to be?

Thank you! It's been the wildest ride! It all started with a phone call 3 years ago that we thought was a joke. It turns out it wasn't a joke and here we are with a TV show about to air. We never took the prospect of it too seriously and were always waiting for a door to close. I'm so grateful for where we are and humbled by the process.

We never really thought of TV as a career path, so had NO idea how hard it would be. After our pilot that aired last summer got good enough reviews, they picked up a full season that we shot from November 2018-July 2019. It was so fun, but much harder than I thought it would be. Everything is real. We are doing 100% of the work- finding the houses, full design, full renovation... all while filming 40+ hours a week and trying to run 3 businesses and raise our family. Phew! Luckily, we've had a lot of fun and created some truly incredible homes for people. And one of my favorite things was incorporating so many incredible local artisans and artists! And of course, we got to show off MN!!

We were lucky enough to do this while we had a functioning business and people to help us run it. And we have an amazing nanny and both grandma's helping often. We could never have accomplished what we have without them. And I wouldn't have wanted to do any of it while my kids were babies/toddlers, so the timing was somehow perfect.

What's the easiest remodeling trick you can share that gives you the most bang for your buck?

Paint! Paint is the least expensive and most transformative trick ever! It takes work (or you can hire someone too!), but it will be worth it! Are you disliking a space? PAINT IT! I promise it will feel new and fresh. The hardest part is choosing the right color. We can help with that though!

What's the best advice you've ever received?

That is a great question! I can think of so many!! But... the one that stands out the most is something my mom always used to say (and still does!) "Kill them with kindness- whatever the situation". If I was 12 years old and fighting with a friend or 32 and not getting along with a client. It's not always easy, but I try my hardest to smile and choose kindness. Of course, I'm happy to speak my mind when needed, but in minor disagreements or rude people I encounter, I try my hardest to choose happy. I rarely leave a situation feeling regretful for what I've said or how I've acted. So, if someone is rude to you today instead of rolling your eyes, try telling them to have an amazing day.

What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now? And what would you tell your younger self?

I wish I would've understood that some people just won't like me and there is nothing I can do about it. Everyone can't like everyone else! Maybe the reason for not liking someone is that they smile too much, which could also be the reason that 100 other people love you. I'm still working on this one and might be forever, but I wish I would've spent less time caring about other people's opinions of me! It seems people think that because you're on TV that you're open to public criticism, so it's an ongoing and ever changing battle for me.

Rapid Fire Questions

  • Early bird or night owl- Is it possible to be both? I'm part insomniac

  • Control freak or go with flow- 100% go with the flow

  • Design Style- I'm organic modern with a good dose of color.

  • Beach or Mountain get away- Can I choose desert with a Mountain View? Pool is a must.

  • Favorite room to design/style- Kitchens!!

  • Go to paint color- Paper white by Benjamin Moore

Thank you Heather for sharing your journey with us! Tune in to watch their new show Stay or Sell on HGTV.

Monday Muse: Lindsay Grabb, Up Yoga

It’s MondayMuse time. This week’s muse is none other than Lindsay Grabb, co-owner and co-founder of Up Yoga in South Minneapolis. Lindsay has created a vibrant, empowering community with Up Yoga, let’s learn a bit more about her.

When did you start yoga and what lead you to it?

My first Yoga class was prenatal yoga at Blooma in 2009. I first found Baptiste Power Yoga in 2011 and was drawn to the combination of strength and ease.  It connected with the runner in me and also provided ease which I needed as a new mom with a full time job.

What inspired you to leave your corporate job and start Up Yoga?

In 2013 I left Target Corp and moved to Singapore with my husband for a few years.  I loved the community  where I taught at yogamovement in Singapore. When we returned home I was inspired to open Up Yoga because I felt something missing in the Minneapolis yoga community.  There were amazing classes to take, but not the close family style community I’d felt at my trainings or in Singapore.

How did you go about building the amazing community that exists at Up Yoga?

Honestly, I welcome students like they are walking in to my home. That’s what Up Yoga is to me, and my teachers, and now to our students as well.  It’s home.  People want to be seen and feel accepted.  Everything we do from cleaning the floors, to developing teacher training programs is about community.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self that she is loved and that she belongs.  I would tell her she doesn’t have to try so hard, that she is everything and has everything she needs.

What is the most rewarding part of being a small business owner?

The most rewarding part of being a small business owner is creating something that makes a difference.  It is rewarding to see an idea of mine become real and see it impact others.  Also after a corporate job it is incredible the speed at which I can make things happen! 

What's the toughest?

The toughest part is that my personal life is wrapped up in the studio.  So when I make decisions for the business that others may not agree with, I often lose them from my entire life. It can be lonely at times.

Rapid Fire

  • Favorite Pose:  Handstand and Savasana

  • I feel empowered when: I’m in forward motion on an idea

  • Introvert or extrovert: Introvert with moments of extrovert

  • Favorite Quote:  We rise by lifting others

  • 3 words to describe you:  Strong, Resilient, Compassionate:

  • Thanks Lindsay! It was fun getting to know more about your journey. Check out Up Yoga if you’re in the Twin Cities. You won’t regret it.