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I'm the gal behind the lens, and the founder of paige elizabeth photography. 

If I'm not working you can usually find me exploring new towns, eating sushi, or cuddling with my pup and cat. Explore my blog to learn more about me, my couples, and even learn a thing or two!

Hey, there! I'm Paige.

Women in Business: Part 2

We’re back with Part 2 of our Women’s History Month series, where we’re featuring local female entrepreneurs! Each of these ladies has a unique talent they offer our local community and I’m so excited to be highlighting their expertise. Let’s jump right in!
 
Laurie Smoker, Laurie Smoker Photography (Previously S + L Photography)
What She Does: Lifestyle and documentary family photography/small business photography
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Laurie Smoker of Laurie Smoker Photography
What inspired you to start your business?
“I am inspired by human connection, especially families and motherhood, and I strive to beautifully document each stage of family life. I find so much beauty in the simple every day of being a mother, and I want to highlight that beauty in my client’s lives for them. I take a pretty documentary approach to my sessions and most of the time the kids lead the way. I know first hand how hectic and busy life as a mom is, so I’ve focused my business around making family photos a 100% stress free experience. I provide a full service experience, from consultation, to wardrobe styling (including a client closet) and hair and make up, to a fun session full of laughing and playing, to a beautiful gallery of images and a range of beautiful heirloom quality albums and print products. My brand is really all about the experience.”
 
What’s one of the most challenging things you’ve faced as a female business owner, and how have you worked to overcome it?
“As a woman in a creative field, I have found it hard to be taken seriously. Often times people hear ‘photographer’ and assume it’s a hobby, or I’m ‘just a mom with a camera.’ I’ve even had people say ‘oh that’s cute!’ which is kind of a punch to the gut when you’ve spent the last seven years building something from the ground up. It’s taken longer than I like to admit, but I’ve finally accepted that other’s opinions don’t matter. I’m confident in my craft, and with experience I’ve gained confidence as a business owner. Finding my niche, joining inspiring communities of really amazing family and children photographers, challenging myself creatively, and continuously setting and achieving my goals keeps me going.”
 
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with other local business owners?
“Half of my photography business is actually photographing locally owned small businesses for their websites and social media, and I LOVE it! I’ve always been a shop small and local kinda girl, and I love that I’ve been able to connect with other business owners in this way. I just love the heart and soul that goes into these small shops, restaurants, even bowling allies! Getting to meet the owners, hear their unique stories, and see them beaming with pride (as they should!) in their element, and being able to tell that story through photos is just so amazing to me. It’s something I sort of stumbled into, and I’m so so grateful for that.”
 
What tips do you have for other women looking to start a business?
“GO FOR IT! If you have a passion and a talent for something, there’s a reason. If you aren’t business savvy, seek out and hire someone who is to teach you and handle certain aspects of your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you don’t have to do this all on your own. There are endless resources out there, so do your research and utilize all of them! Also, my favorite advice, never give up on a hard day. There are a lot of hard days, but it gets better and better. “
Crystal Giesey, Masterpiece Flowers
What She Does: Local Floral Farmer + Floral/Event Designer
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Crystal Giesey of Masterpiece Flowers
What is your favorite part of being a local small business owner?
“I love the opportunity it affords to connect with people on an individual level. Whether I’m at a market or I’m installing florals for a wedding; I love being able to meet and get to know so many people. I think it’s a pretty amazing gift we are given to be included in such personal moments of peoples lives. When I hand someone flowers at the market I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had someone exclaim ‘my grandmother grew these!’ and proceed to tell me heart felt stories and memories of their loved one. At weddings, the most special day to so many people, creating flowers for them can bring tears and smiles all at once sometimes. For me this is such an amazing part of being a small business owner that I never want to take lightly.”
 
What’s one of the most challenging things you’ve faced as a female business owner, and how have you worked to overcome it?
“For me, my biggest challenge as a female business owner is a work/life balance. I’ve seen a quote floating around online often that says ‘People expect you to work as if you do not have children, and raise your children as if you do not work’. Oh my, how this is true. Society puts an immense amount of pressure on women to ‘do it all’ and it’s just not possible. I struggle to remind myself it’s okay if sometimes I don’t take every job or opportunity that comes along for the sake of my mental health or just so I get to spend a Saturday with my small family; I don’t have to be working 24/7. On the other side of things, if I miss out on an activity with my child or the laundry becomes a miniature Mt. Everest, we will all survive and be okay. It’s something that we all deal with, but I think it’s an important conversation to have.”
 
What is a big misconception about your business you hear often?
“Our value. Unfortunately flowers, especially locally grown flowers, have a huge misconception attached to them regarding their value. When I have people come to one of our farmer’s markets and say ‘$15?! I can get flowers for cheaper at Walmart!’ Well yes, you can; those flowers have been drenched in chemicals sitting in a cooler before they made their journey from South America where the workers who are not making a living wage wore hazard protection suits just to handle said $5 flowers. We grow and harvest our flowers by hand, and without chemicals. We grow heirloom varieties that you will never find in a grocery store bouquet. From planting to bloom one Ranunculus flower has 5 months of constant love and care going into it both day and night, before a single bud is harvested. That $15 bouquet is made of the 5 months of work, the 4:30 am to 2:00 pm day it took to bring it to you at market, the tools, land mortgage, soil nutrients, blood sweat and tears, and putting food on my family’s table.
 
I definitely didn’t become a Farmer Florist to be wealthy. I care deeply about the land, what we grow, and the joy it can bring people. However, I think it’s important for people to understand what goes into our flowers and the value behind that.”
 
Your favorite affirmation or self care practice?
“Coffee, dark chocolate, and a good podcast in the evenings or early mornings working in the fields. It may seem counter productive that my self care involves working, but I love the quiet calm when I’m not on a deadline to get certain things done. I can just quietly work and sip coffee to a sunrise or sunset and enjoy our farm.”
 
Note from Crystal: “I think it’s very important for us as female business owners and creatives to lift one another up and rejoice each others accomplishments. Let’s all create a culture of kindness for one another!”
Cassidy Mister, Cassidy M.R Photography
What She Does: Portrait and Wedding Photography
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Cassidy Mister of Cassidy M.R Photography
 
What inspired you to start your business?
“My clients! I had always loved photography but was never confident in photographing people until my photo professor in college in challenged us to a portrait assignment. I began photographing people and their wonderful stories. It wasn’t until I had a few clients believe in me to be their photographer that unveiled the deep passion I have for wedding photography. I left the design firm I had loyally worked at building brands and websites, to begin building my own brand and message through my photography work.”
 
What is your favorite part of being a local small business owner?
“My favorite part about being a local small business owner is seeing people from high school or in the grocery store who recognize me and compliment my work! It is so fun to feel a little ‘famous in a small town’ and I also love showing others the message that I am a person just like them too.”
 
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with other local business owners?
“One of my favorite ways to connect with other local business owners is by doing styled shoots and hosting Tuesdays Together in Easton, MD. I am the local leader in Easton and light up when I see fresh faces amongst the regulars! I encourage every and all creatives to open up and join a local creative group- having common ground with others is really reassuring as a entrepreneur. 
I also love reaching out to other vendors and collaborating on something creative and fresh. I find this is the best time to get to know other vendors personally which allows you to open up a connection that can result in great ‘friendors!'”
 
What is a big misconception about your business you hear often?
“’You must have so much free time! I bet you can do whatever you want during the day.’  I even misinterpreted how much work actually goes into a self-run business until I dove right in! The maintenance, client relations, editing, proposal sending, social media, content creation, shew, the list goes on!”
Your favorite quote?
“‘Don’t worry. Be happy.’”
 
Your favorite affirmation or self care practice?
“’You are worthy of love.’ I love on myself with epsom salt and baking soda baths along with a good face mask while listening to a guided meditation.”
Rachel Alvarez, Rachel Alvarez Art
What She Does: Custom watercolor paintings & Illustrations, retail and wholesale gift products.
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Rachel Alvarez of Rachel Alvarez Art || Photo by Manda Weaver Photography
What inspired you to start your business?
“My business was started when our son was 2 years old. As a new SAHM (stay at home mom), it gave me an opportunity to celebrate our kids, give to my community, and to do something just for myself. I had majored in art, but had done nothing with it until about 10 years later. I was propelled back into art when I walked into a local coffee shop in Berlin, MD. and inquired about how to become one of the “Featured Artists” showcased on the wall.  Given three months to submit my artwork as a “Featured Artist” and having only three pieces in my portfolio, I ferociously painted 27 new pieces of art over the course of a couple of months to have something current to show. When the show at the coffee shop was over, I had a substantial portfolio of work to sell. That was when my Etsy shop was opened under the name, ‘TheNapTimeArtist’.”
 
What is your favorite part of being a local small business owner?
“After growing up on Delmarva, having an art business here gives me a way to celebrate the unique beauty of our varied landscape. We really have a little bit of everything here, so it’s easy for me to drive around, get lost, and start a new piece of art. It’s been a fun way to connect my own memories and experiences of living on the Shore with people who have the same love & appreciation for it.”
What’s one of the most challenging things you’ve faced as a female business owner, and how have you worked to overcome it?
“To be honest, one of the most challenging things I have faced is charging appropriately for my art. I think, by nature, women have a hard time in this category. We notoriously overwork and under value. I am learning to appreciate that the service I provide is unique and that I deserve to be compensated fairly for that. Also, I’m learning to not be so critical of myself. However, that’s going to be a life-long work in progress, I think!”
What tips do you have for other women looking to start a business?
“My biggest tip would be to take yourself and your business seriously right from the start. Take the necessary time it takes to become legal, have systems in place, and make a business plan. While each of these things is time consuming initially, having them in place will provide a good framework for success (both mentally & physically).”
Lizzie King, Lizzie King Yoga / Smells Like Home
What She Does: Yoga Instructor + Apparel Designer
Contact: smellslikehomeshop@gmail.com // www.lizziekingyoga.com // @leapinglizards and @smellslikehomeshop on Instagram
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Lizzie King of Lizzie King Yoga // Photo by Penny Lane Photography
What inspired you to start your business?
“This can be answered simply or with a bit more detail, but it all comes down to the message of my business which is: create a life that you love. I majored in business management in college so that I could be ‘my own boss one day’ with a low-key fear of settling as far as career went. I have always been a creative and full of ideas, but unfortunately for quite some time I allowed fear to prevent the leap of faith. I have loved creating art since I can remember and I knew for years I wanted to design tee shirts and similar casual accessories with my art. Make it wearable, make it super functional, spread a message. Since I was a kid, I’ve always had an appreciation for a unique, comfy, and stylish tee with some jeans. Eventually, my vision for this was constantly coming to mind- and without understanding one thing about the process of designing shirts- I started drawing and painting. I eventually dropped off my designs to a local screen printer (New Wave) and watched it come to life. A drawing on a piece of paper was now on a grey racerback tank in front of me. It was a rush, seeing an idea come to life in such a way. I loved the way I felt, so accomplished and full of motivation that I decided to turn this into a thing, building Smells Like Home, and have since felt that same spark in my gut when I see someone wearing my shirts. As far as my yoga background goes, much like with the shirts, I had the idea but didn’t bring it to life right away. I loved the way I felt leaving a yoga class or practicing at home, it just felt right. It felt like a calling. I knew in my heart that I would be an excellent teacher, that I wanted to share this with others and help people feel amazing too. By the time I decided I wanted to be a yoga teacher and actually walked into my first day of training, the idea was roughly 4 years old. I had made excuses along the way (too much money, too far from home for too long, not good timing with my current job, too many things planned for that time in my life, etc.) but the second I began my training, I knew I wouldn’t have changed anything about how I got there and how it was happening. Once certified, I took my time becoming a teacher, as I still was unsure about my capabilities. After filling in for a few classes in the studio, I had that same spark of motivation, inspiration, ideas, and was ready to change the world in a good way. Since then, I’ve taken on teaching classes in a studio and private clients and it feels so right. Just like seeing people wearing my shirts, hearing a thank you from students after class assures me that I’m making a positive difference. Tying the two loves and sparks of joy has been easy – as some of my designs are yoga focused even before I became an instructor. I hope to help others live their best lives, take the leaps, tune into what they really want, and go after it. My inspiration comes from the feelings I felt when I first started- and those feelings have allowed me to grow, even if it can be a bit scary.”
 
What is your favorite part of being a local small business owner?
“Compliments. I know what you’re thinking but hear me out- it’s not the compliment that fills my head and ego, but it’s the reassurance behind it. The fact that someone took the time to tell me how they feel about my product and offerings. When someone takes the time to ask me about my process, or that they appreciate the heart I put into it, that it made them smile, that’s how I know I’m making a positive difference. When someone proudly comes to my yoga class with a Smells Like Home shirt on I am over the moon, and sometimes they don’t even know it’s me who designed the shirt. Also, connecting with other creatives and entrepreneurs. I often don’t feel like an important business person, I look to others as if they’re on a pedestal. So if I am admiring something they’ve got going on, or I’m not sure how to do something they do, I’ve grown the courage to ask and compliment. It’s not to be competitive, but I want and need the help. Sometimes, I find out that they feel as I do – that these journeys aren’t without setbacks, low confidence, second or seventy-fifth guessing yourself, risks, money issues, failure, etc. It’s a really good feeling to know that you’re not the only one who needs help or reassurance. We’re all the same, just putting our hearts out there trying to make something of what we love. Sometimes, that first small question can build to a relationship where you continuously help one another, build a partnerships, or even better a friendship. It also helps me to see myself and business in a better light.”
 
What’s one of the most challenging things you’ve faced as a female business owner, and how have you worked to overcome it?
“In the yoga world, most instructors are women. However, I will say being an instructor gets dubbed as an irrelevant career choice for those who don’t practice or understand it. I’ve been asked if I can put my leg behind my head while a male raises his eyebrows at me (I’m rolling my eyes right now). I can’t tell you the number of times my yoga practice has been thrown in my face, ‘Shouldn’t you be chill because you do yoga?’, ‘Go do a downward facing dog and calm down’, ‘You’re fine, just go do some chanting’- how about no, you’re being rude and whether I practice or teach yoga – you’ll show me the same respect I show you. This may not be a female entrepreneur specific business problem, but I think that if I was a male, I wouldn’t be told to shut up and Warrior 2 it out or have someone suggestively ask me about or sexualize yoga postures. At the end of the day, these are small problems and I do my best to overcome them by reminding myself that not everyone will understand or respect what I do in life. For myself, it’s best not to waste my energy trying to fix the problem and to use that energy instead to pour into my actions and passions to allow them to serve me more. For SLH, I am mostly in control of how I put myself out into the world. I can choose to stay home, behind my computer, and do most sales online or I can get a wave of confidence and go out into the world to sell things to shops, boutiques, and at festivals. I’ve been in some compromising positions (all out of state – way to go Marylanders for not being rude) at festivals and trying to wholesale my product. I’ve been disrespected to my face about my pricing, why my hand drawn S in one word on a shirt looks the way it does, what my goals are, why am I here, been talked down to, etc. I’ve also had people grab my products to take pictures, only to throw them back down in a heap and keep moving- why do you need that photo? What are you doing with it? It’s a vulnerable experience to put yourself and something you’ve worked so hard on out there in the world- but to be beat down in person over a tee shirt as if I’m not a human with feelings who created it- is something that will waiver confidence. I can tell people to walk away and never come back or I can try to be a polite saleswoman. However, back to being a female, I wonder, if I wasn’t a 5’2” woman standing behind a big table of shirts with a smile on her face- would it be as easy to be mean to me over the way a letter S looks? Again, sometimes I have to talk myself back up, tell myself I’m worthy, that my S looks good, that I deserve to be here with everyone else, and that my prices are the way they are because of the ethics I hold to feel better- and sometimes I can simply say ‘I’m doing me, they don’t understand and it’s not my job to help them to do so.’ I don’t need customers or people in my life like that!”
 
Your favorite affirmation or self care practice?
“Huge, huge believer in self care. I am a yoga instructor after all. I give myself time, literally looking at my schedule and deciding when me time will occur. I’ll do yoga, workout, read, tidy my space (clutter triggers anxiety and overwhelming feelings for me), put a face mask on, take a walk, watch a cheesy Hallmark movie, pluck my eyebrows, or make plans for exciting things I want to happen (whether it be dinner with my fiancé or bigger adventure). During my me time I don’t allow any thoughts of guilt to occur, worry about what needs to be done, or do anything that’s being asked of me. Can’t pour from an empty cup.”
 
What tips do you have for other women looking to start a business?
“Do it, do it, do it! Everything we do in life is scary, until we do it once. Take the first step. Move through your journey slowly and mindfully, though. Feel things out as you go. Your goals and visions will change, as will your plans- let that happen and stay authentic. Don’t allow your mind to consume what your gut and heart tell you. Don’t allow yourself or others to talk you into something different than what your initial inspiration tells you to do; if you want it bad enough, you’ll adapt and make it work. Crawl before you ball – this journey is endless and things will constantly change, so don’t feel like you need to have everything perfect and figured out to begin.”
 
Another wonderful round of local female boss babes! Let’s leave these ladies some love and thank them for sharing their wisdom with us!
 
Leave a comment below and tell us: which was your favorite piece of advice from today’s post?!
 
XO,
Paige
 

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- samantha + ryan

"These are the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen in my life. You are a wizard (yes the HP kind) with a camera - it was meant to be in your sweet perfect hands. Thank you so much for yesterday and for everything. We are so so lucky to get to have you and your talents capture the best day of Ryan’s and I’s lives"

"You Are a Wizard"

- HALEY + BRANDON

"OH MY GOD PAIGE YOU F*@%KING KILLED IT...Thank you so much for capturing everything. We are so grateful for you!"

"OH MY GOD"

- EMMA + BRETT

OMFG PAIGE the sneak peek is INCREDIBLE and I’m having so much trouble choosing just a few to post 😂 so so amazed by your talent and artistry girl!!!!

"OMFG"

- Krista, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"Paige is one of the kindest people I've ever met! When it comes to senior pictures, I'm so glad I chose her. She was quick with our photos, always gave us sneak peeks, and hyped us up during our whole shoot! Wish I could be a PEP Senior Rep forever!" 

"I'm so glad I chose her"

- Kelsey + gavin

"Paige made our engagement and wedding photo experience unforgettable. She was professional, fun, and did an amazing job capturing our personalities in our photographs. Great turn around time. I cannot say enough great things about this woman!!!"

"Unforgettable"

- jen and shane

"PAIGE! I just got a chance to completely look through all of the photos. They are absolutely stunning!!! Thank you so much, you captured everything perfectly!"

"Captured Perfectly"

- courtney, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"I genuinely could not be happier with the experience Paige provided me with this year. I was super nervous to be in front of the camera, but my shoots with Paige literally felt like hanging out with your best friend while simultaneously taking photos. Paige sincerely cares about each and every one of her clients, and that is made so evident by the hard work she puts into her craft. I’ve learned so much from watching Paige run her business and I am in awe of how much she loves what she does- and how incredibly talented she is at what she does. Not only did I gain breathtaking photos of my Senior year that I will keep close to my heart forever, I also gained a friend, and to me that is priceless. If you’re thinking about booking a shoot with Paige, do it now- you’ll wonder where she’s been all your life. 💕"

"Could not be happier"

- Gabby + Kyle

"Literally sitting here crying because your pictures are so amazing. I’m absolutely in love they are perfect. I love your style of candid and how you get the perfect shot...The hardest thing for me to choose was our wedding photographer, it took me the longest time. And we 1000% made the right choice. You did amazing. Thank you so much!"

"Absolutely in love"

- Kelly + jared

"Extremely talented, professional, and genuine photographer who loves what she does and loves who she does it for. If she didn’t, would her photos be THIS DAMN GOOD?? Would hire her over and over again."

"Would hire her over and over"

- Baby, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"You're literally the best at what you do...I love them all!"

"The best"

- Tori + aaron

"BEST. PHOTOGRAPHER. EVER...Don't know what we would have done without you!"

"BEST. PHOTOGRAPHER. EVER"

- becca, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"I'M CRYING DRIVING HOME FROM ASSATEAGUE. I'VE ONLY SEEN THE COVER AND I'M DYING....OH MY GOD. You freaking killed the game and outdid yourself. THESE ARE GORGEOUS!"

"THESE ARE GORGEOUS"

- hannah + ross

"Paige is phenomenal. From the very first meet up, I knew that she was going to do everything in her ability to make our day something special. She is so easy to work with, and really plays to the strengths of the couple. My husband and I are awkward and we laugh at everything, and she let us be ourselves and really captured our personalities in the pictures. She truly went the extra mile and brought so much energy to our day."

"Phenomenal."

- Chelsea + seth

"We had a blast with Paige, and have the most amazing photos to show from it. We are blessed beyond belief that we met this wonderful human and that she provided us with photos that will adorn our home for years to come. Through grateful tears, THANK YOU for your work. We are so happy to have a friend in you."

"The very best day."

- Morgan + Matt

"I can't stop staring at my wedding photos!"

"Can't stop staring"

- Keeley, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"Paige is one of the most kindest, hardworking, selfless, people I know. I’m am not a confident person at all, but when I did my shoots with Paige she would make me laugh and feel confident. One of my favorite parts of my senior year was being able to get to know her, and do my senior casuals with her. She is not only a great photographer but a great person💕"

"She would make me laugh and feel CONFIDENT"

- Alicia + Justin

"From personal experience, I can say that Paige is incredible to work with. She was the best photographer we could have asked for! We highly recommend her!" 

"Highly Recommend"

- Tori + otto

“Paige is an outstanding professional with AMAZING photography skills. My husband and I LOVE her, and we were so delighted with our experience using her services on our special wedding day. Paige has a way of making you feel so comfortable in front of the camera and the photography she creates is absolutely top notch. Thank you Paige!”

"So Comfortable"

- morgan + skye

“Paige is just the best. She (sometimes literally) bent over backwards to make our day and everything before our day go absolutely perfect. There aren't enough words to explain how thankful we are for her AND her beautiful work. I can't imagine our wedding day without her and will most definitely be recommending her to everyone in the future.”

"Aren't Enough Words"

love notes.