Role reversal at home has allowed her photo studio to grow during the pandemic
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“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.
Women have quit their jobs at record levels during the pandemic as they took on more responsibilities at home, including child care. Over a million women were missing from the labor force in January compared to February 2020, according to the National Women’s Law Center, while men have regained their losses. But on the other hand, the number of companies founded by women during periods before and during the pandemic grew 27%, according to a study by LinkedIn.
Liz Hansen is the owner of Chicago Boudoir Photography in Evanston, Illinois, where she specializes in a “Victoria’s Secret-style photo shoot experience for the everyday woman.” Women come into her studio to celebrate themselves or feel empowered, Hansen said.
Her clients range in age from 20s to 60s.
“I’ve had a woman who was 69 years old who came into the studio. She was celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary and wanted to create an album for the love of her life.”
Hansen opened her business in 2018 but had to shut down in March 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, and that “was a really scary time for me.”
“As a photographer, I don’t make any money if I don’t take pictures, and I can’t take pictures if the person doesn’t come into the studio,” she said. Fortunately, that didn’t last long. Hansen secured a Paycheck Protection Program loan and was able to reopen in June. “There was this pent up demand, and suddenly I had all kinds of clients.”
Her situation at home was changing, too. When the pandemic hit, Hansen’s husband, who works for a big university, started working from home for the first time, and that led to changes with child care.
“We basically had a flip-flop in roles; he became the lead parent and the lead child care provider, while I started spending more time in the studio shooting clients and running my business.”
That’s helping Hansen expand her business — she’s added hair and makeup artists to her team, training a new photographer and is looking for a bigger space as well.
“We’re excited to see what’s ahead.”
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