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.
Q: What is the name of your business?
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!
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?
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.