Lori Andre | July 16, 2024

Spotlight On The Woman Behind The Business: Esther Fishman

I am always seeking inspiration from women who do things that are completely different than me because I love an opportunity to learn. But, this installment of “Spotlight on Women Behind the Business”, is a little different because I sat down with Esther Fishman from Art Effect. It just so happens that we are both in the retail business. And, both of us have been independently owned and operated for over 35 years. Art Effect is one of my favorite stores in Chicago. Esther has an incredible eye for fashion and has a beautiful, unique and curated selection of home accessories, clothing, and jewelry. I wanted to share with you what inspires her and challenges her to be among the best retailers in Chicago.

Esther showing us some of her favorite clothing in her Lincoln Park store, art effect.

Esther sharing some of her favorite clothing in her Lincoln Park shop, art effect.

Q: What is the name of your business?

     art effect

Q: And, what is your business?

      It is a retail store that sells woman’s clothing, jewelry, accessories and gifts in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Q: What are you most thankful for?

      My daughter, Louise.

Q: What nourishes your soul?

      Being in the sunshine near a beautiful body of water that I can swim in. That includes pools!

Q:  Where do you find inspiration?

       I find inspiration everywhere. When I feel the kindness from another person or see people doing good in the world or feel love, that inspires me. I can see a beautiful object; flowers blooming, a bee….So much inspires me visually.

I always admire the jewelry when I visit Esther's shop!

I always admire the jewelry when I visit Esther's shop!

Q:  What do you admire about yourself?

My perseverance. Some people may call it a bit obsessive, but if I have the will I find the way.

Q:  What’s your superpower?

     My superpower is really my “eye” for identifying products that sell. It’s a unique quality that is hard to teach or learn. It’s something that comes from within.

Q:  What does a perfect day look like for you?

      I love just hanging out with my daughter.  My perfect day with Louise would be spending time near a body of water on a warm sunny day.

Naturally, I am most drawn to the clothing selection in her store. 

Q:  How would you describe your style?

      My style is classic with a little boho twist. Maybe that’s because I am a product of the 60’s and today I still love that vibe.

Q:  When you were just a kid, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

       No. Honestly, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I was always independent and had an entrepreneurial spirit just waiting to ignite. I finally opened up my own store when I was 34 years old. My parents always worried about me - but, hey, everyone has their timeframe. I am glad I waited until that time when I really found something that I had a passion for.

Q:  What was your first job?

       A caseworker for the Department of Public Aid in Chicago.

art effect's signature scent, Lincoln Park, and jewelry line, Pretty Things, are some of Esther's favorite pieces in the shop.  

Q:  Describe your greatest accomplishment.

      I consider my greatest accomplishment adopting my daughter, Louise. When I became a single parent life became a bit more challenging. I was juggling being a single parent and running my business. My business is important to me, but being able to be a mother to Louise is by far my greatest accomplishment.

Q:  What did you learn from your biggest failure?

       I would say my biggest failure is that it took a long time but I learned to ask for help.

Q:  Best career advice for a person just starting out in business. 

      Ask a million questions from anyone you know in business. Do your research. Don’t get discouraged. Be a risk taker. Be patient.

Q:  Best life advice?

Enjoy every day!

Q:  How do you find balance between work and home?

      I have been in business a long time and have a manager who has been with me for 25 years. I learned a long time ago if you want a life as a business owner you need to be able to delegate and let go.

Q:  You have been in business for 35 years. Why do you think you have been so successful?

       At art effect, we change with the times and we are constantly evolving.  We have a unique and curated selection and we offer great customer service. We listen to what our customers have to say and what they want.

Q:  What inspires you about Chicago?

      Chicago’s Midwest friendliness.

Q:  What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, would you still watch again?

       White Christmas

Q:  Is there a book that you would recommend that every young woman should read?

       The Catcher in the Rye

Before the days of blogging, we sent out newsletters! This is our newsletter from Fall 2002! How fun to look back and see how we've grown over the years.



  • lynne hall says...
    On February 05, 2019

    Dear Esther and Lori,
    I feel as if I’ve known you forever, and honestly I have. I still remember Esther’s first space, I believe it was the other half of a bakery! Then working for you and loving that time of my life. And it was always fun in the store, maybe not the vacuuming,but everything else was great- the clothes,customers,jewelry and most of all the other people we were all working with. Special time!
    And Lori- you and Brian were always so welcoming and I always loved just coming in to say hi, let alone trying on the best shoes in the city. Love you both, Lynne Hall

  • Mimi Packman says...
    On January 28, 2019

    How lovely to read this wonderful piece about my my friend Esther written by Lori Soul/Sole of Chicago!! I love seeing the pictures…you both look stunning by the by and there is a certain intimacy that comes from being interviewed by someone who knows you so well…. that translates beautifully in the written form.
    I actually learned things about Esther I never knew before in such depth. So thank you Lori and Esther for shining more light on one of my favorite people in the world.. Esther Fishman..

  • Saundra Messinger says...
    On January 28, 2019

    I’ve know Esther since my first trade show almost 20 years ago when she bought my jewelry. Esther is a true inspiration, a remarkable woman and an amazing friend. This article is so well deserved and presents Esther as the phenom she is! Love you, Esther!!!♥️♥️♥️

  • Ricki says...
    On January 28, 2019

    Love both of you and your businesses. You both posses an infectious joie de vivre combined with taste, heart and authenticity. Both of you are so beautiful inside and out. A rarity these days. And a thrill to read the blog.

  • Julie Cohen says...
    On January 28, 2019

    Congratulations Esther!!! You are a pioneer, role model & dynamic business lady! WIshing you only the best!

  • Phyllis klapman says...
    On January 28, 2019

    The two of you made Aarmitage the street it was and will always be. The sole of the city !!!

  • Judie Olson says...
    On January 24, 2019

    Love the store! Thanks for sharing Esther’s story!
    Wishing everyone a Happy & Healthy New Year

  • Pepper Miller says...
    On January 24, 2019

    Beautiful story. Inspiring. Haven’t been to Art Effects in a while. I’ll visit soon!

  • Lucy Baldwin says...
    On January 24, 2019

    Esther and Lori,
    You have both been the heart of Lincoln Park for as long has I have lived in Chicago. You are the go to for everyone that needs a special gift to give to someone they love or care about including ones self (Lol). I can go into either store and walk around and dream of all the places that your goods came from and the inspiration from artists and designers who created them. Your stores are retail sanctuaries! Visual feasts! Thanks for being there for us all. Please don’t ever leave us.

  • Sandy Rebitzer says...
    On January 24, 2019

    Love this article with Lori and Esther. Have been a loyal customer at both stores for decades. Appreciate that you are both independent women who have supported the community for more than 35 years.

  • Shari Michaels says...
    On January 24, 2019

    Great article ! Nice to see two women who are successful and so nice !
    I love Lori and you both have such wonderful stores.
    Shari Michaels

  • Rhonda Stivers says...
    On January 24, 2019

    Congratulations Lori, that was a beautiful spotlight on Esther.
    You both look fabuloso!
    I hope that your families are doing well.

    Rhonda Stivers

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