March is Women’s History Month and Northwest Bank, B103 and the Rock River Current are saluting women owned and operated businesses right here in the Stateline. You can hear these women’s stories on air and get to know them — and their businesses — through videos, pictures and more on our social media pages and websites. It is brought to you by Northwest Bank: The power of yes, 50 years in the making.
By Chelsea Meyer
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Business: ellAdele photography
Owner: Elizabeth Steed
Location: 211 East State St., Suite B, Rockford
Tell us about yourself and your business:
I am Elizabeth Steed, and I am the owner of ellAdele photography. I photograph mainly weddings and then boudoir when I am not in the thick of my wedding season. I have two amazing boys, and I am married to the love of my life, Christopher Tyson, who owns his own photography business as well, C. Tyson Photography.
What inspired you to start your business?
I had always loved photography but was told that I needed to go to college and go to college for an actual “job,” so I put photography to the side. I finally followed my heart in 2011 and bought my first big girl camera with the help of a good friend, and ellAdele photography took off. I was able to truly do what God was calling me to do. I went full-time in 2015 as a wedding photographer and have photographed over 30 weddings each year since.
What’s it like being a female business owner here in the Stateline?
Being a business owner in general here in the Stateline isn’t easy. Sadly 2020 taught me that small business owners aren’t really appreciated, and then you add being a woman, and it makes it a little bit harder. There are times when I don’t feel like I am taken as seriously as my male counterparts, which makes me have to work harder. I think the beautiful thing though is I have found an amazing community filled with women who have uplifted each other when we so desperately need it.
What advice would you give to a woman wanting to start her own business?
You will fail and it’s OK. Failure has taught me to work not only harder but smarter. If you find that you fail and aren’t supposed to be doing that line of work, pick yourself up and figure out what your heart is leading you to. The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that you were born with grit that makes you fight for something you love and that starting over can put a fire in your belly to fight for that calling.
Who or what has been your biggest support system as a female business owner in the community?
My amazing husband has been in my corner since day one. When we were just friends, he always pushed me to be my best and know my worth. Even being direct competitors, he has been my cheerleader when I felt unworthy of what God blessed me with. Second would be the amazing women I have in my life who are also small business owners. When you have people pour into your business, it feels so good, and you want to pour back. It is this amazing relationship of community that I have found and will forever be thankful for that.
What are the biggest challenges/advantages to being a female business owner?
Challenges I think are finding your people. When you are authentic and yourself, you will attract the same crowd. I don’t do the fake bull crap and handouts. I worked extremely hard to get to where I am at and had to really fight off toxic people. I didn’t have someone giving me things to get to where I am, and I am proud of that. There are so many people out there that have chirped false statements, and it sucks, but at the end of the day, I know who I am and how hard I worked with so many people telling me no. For the last two years, I have created boundaries to keep those that are toxic out of my life, and it truly feels freeing.
An advantage of being a female business owner is being surrounded by people who have big hearts and want to do good. With this talent, God has led me to bless others and also take my skills to other countries. I have been able to travel and serve in countries like Haiti and Chile and also serve in my community. I don’t even know where to begin to thank God for leading me into this career of mine.
Listen to the full interview with the Morning Routine below: