Presented Without Context: Rachel Mae Smith
Rachel Mae Smith is a lifestyle writer, photographer, and author of the popular blog The Crafted Life. Her work centers on making fun and colorful projects, using accessible items and techniques to help readers create items that convey personal style without the stress and has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Garden, and Real Simple among others. When she's not brushing glitter out of her hair, you can find her exploring and color hunting around the world.
I met Rachel a few years ago at an Etsy Craft Party at The Burlap Bag in Austin. When I walked into the room she was totally magnetic. I feel like it only took a matter of minutes before she and I struck up a conversation. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where I knew her from. After a few minutes I realized that she was @thecraftedlife on Instagram. Can you believe I didn’t make the connection that the flamingo haired babe I was talking too was the owner of the most colorful, and fun Instagram account I followed? I can’t either. In the time since met, I’ve gotten to watch Rachel’s career soar! She recently published her new book, Hello Color, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your favorite local book store. While she was touring for Hello Color, she and I got the chance to catch up and I got to ask her some questions. I am continually impressed with Rachel’s ability to find beauty and vibrance in every part of the world and share it with the internet, and I’m delighted to have her as the first person in our ‘Presented Without Context’ series.
Do you remember the first time you remember being emotionally affected by failure?
I’m not sure if it was the very first time, but I still vividly remember how it felt to not make the volleyball team when I was in middle school. I had always played sports and thought I’d make it no problem. I remember that crushing feeling in my chest when I read the names on the list and cried all the way home. I didn’t play after that.
What’s the biggest accolade you earned while you were in school?
Got that perfect attendance award. But I also made the Dean’s List throughout college (graduated in 3 years instead of 4).
What does your day to day look like in your occupation?
Oh gosh, everyday is a bit different, depending on the season and day of the week. While I do a lot of creative work with photography and crafting, there’s also a lot of administrative work involved. Emails, lining up sponsored content, contracts, invoicing, bookkeeping, etc. So for me it might look like : a few hours emailing, a photoshoot, editing photos, posting and updating social, writing a blog post, planning editorial calendar, ordering supplies for future shoots, and more. I love that not everyday looks or feels the same!
What does your morning routine look like?
The morning is one of my favorite times because the craziness of the day hasn’t set in yet. I’ll wake up, have breakfast, and get to work by 8-8:30am. On days I’m lagging, I’ll have tea, but for the most part I can get right to work, in my pjs of course.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Save your money and don’t you dare get a credit card.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
Happy. Career wise I feel like I’m always asked this and I never know the answer. I had no idea (or plan) to ever be a full time blogger and author, but that’s where life took me. I’m in for wherever this journey leads.
It’s a random Tuesday and you have the day off and no plans, what do you do to fill those hours?
I might sleep in a bit, and clean up around the house. If the weather is nice, I’ll pick a neighborhood here in NYC and go explore, take photos, wander into shops, whatever I’m feeling at the time. It’s my perfect way to recharge and get inspired.
If you’re comfortable, would you mind sharing one failure from the six months?
I don’t feel right calling it 100% a failure, but I think my book launch could’ve been more successful. There were a few stores that I wanted it to be in that just passed on it. There’s still room for that to change because of the lifetime of a book, but it’s hard when you invest so much blood, sweat, and tears into a project and it not see the reception you thought it would.
If you’re comfortable, would you mind sharing one success from the past year?
I wrote a book! There may be bumps in the road, but just the fact that I was able to write, style and photograph an entire book is a success to me. Now I just have to work on getting that next level of success with it!
Who is the most ‘successful’ person you know?
What do you think makes them ‘successful’?
This girl WORKS. She has a rad blog, shop, and family. She’s the queen of DIY videos and is just such a lovely, happy person.
Describe your relationship with failure?
When failure happens, it tends to knock me out for a while. I’ve lived a relatively privileged life and failure tends to be that no-so-gentle reminder that life doesn’t always go as planned, no matter how hard you work. I’ll take time off, clear my head and regroup.
Describe your relationship with success?
For me, I have a hard time sitting in the moment to enjoy those victories. I push myself to get on to the next thing that will level up. It seems to be a boost of temporary happiness then I feel like I have to get back to work.
This is the last question! And it’s all yours! What parting words do you have for us?
You can fail and not be a failure. When things don’t go the way you expect, try to view them as setbacks and not failures. It’s okay to be down for however long you need, just as long as you’re not out.
Whoops! I have one more question. Where can I get the best slice of pizza?
Tony’s slice house in San Francisco. Or any 99 cent pizza place in NYC.