We had the good fortune of connecting with Michanae Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michanae, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’m an international student who left her home country and family to study in the United States. Making this decision came with very restrictive employment rules. I am only allowed to work 20hrs a week as an international student, which of course, could not cover my tuition fees. My main motivation for starting my own business was so that I could pay my tuition and living fees. With that, I’d also be able to work around my full-time college schedule.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I now have a bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Management and an Associate’s degree in Resort Management. I was pretty disconnected from my creative side for a while. I realized that while doing business the parts that excited me the most, other than happy customers and clients, included designing my logo, brand photos, designing my website, creating graphics. Creating and implementing creative concepts excites me the most. I’m 60% a creative and 40% a business professional.

I am a creative who is passionate about different art mediums such as photography, painting, drawing, pottery, and the list goes on. Photography has been the main way that I express my emotions. I’m naturally drawn to interesting shapes, shadows, and light in nature. I like to capture the way being in nature makes me feel. These are moments that ground me when I’m anxious and reminds me of how beautiful the world is. My photography reminds me to live in the present.

Being a full-time college student, dealing with the mental stress of the pandemic, and managing all aspects of my web design business, I ended up losing motivation and was unable to continue taking on new clients. I went back to work for a 9-5. I felt very defeated and like a failure. But I wasn’t a failure. I made a decision for my mental health and that is truly what matters above all else. This is when I dove deeper into photography.

What I’ve learned is that my mental health comes first always and it’s okay to take a break to take care of yourself.

I’ve overcome multiple challenges and setbacks. No matter what it is, I always get through it. I have no brand, I’m true to who I am and just trying to be my best self and share my truth and passions with others.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Summer is the best time to visit Steamboat Springs in my opinion. It’s so green and beautiful and warm. For the first two days, I’d suggest not doing strenuous activities and allowing yourself to get acclimated to the altitude. We could tube the yampa river and walk through downtown Steamboat which is super cute. The next couple of days can be spent visiting areas such as Fish Creek Falls, doing different hikes in the area like Emerald Mountain where you can overlook Steamboat Springs, visiting the Strawberry hot springs which is a beautiful natural hot spring, and spending a day at the lake at Stagecoach Marina. I’d take my friends to breakfast at Creekside Grill, have lunch at Lousiana Lindsys, and Dinner at Clyde’s Pies, Besame, Aurum. There are also a couple breweries around town worth visiting like Mountain Tap Brewery and Storm Peak.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that I can thank for helping me to get where I am in life:

My mom has showered me with words of encouragement and has pushed me on days where I felt like giving up.
My professor Terry Hunter has also played a huge role in my professional development and helped me to realize my potential.
My close friends, Raeanna, Trezy, Tayz, Anne, Kait, Leroy, and many more who I’ve cried to, who’ve also encouraged me to keep going.
My landlord Terry Vande Velde, provided a safe and loving home away from home for me.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michanaeedwards/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michanae-edwards-0253b4148/

Other: Link to my Coffee Table Book of my Photography:https://www.blurb.com/b/11064460-through-my-eyes

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