What does a day in your work life look like?
I head to the shop after dropping my child off at school. At the shop I’m either plasma cutting a custom sign by hand, grinding and cleaning up or welding up a new creation. I always wear a respirator to ensure I keep my lungs healthy.
What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?
I’ve always had a love for art. I never used to think I would pursue it as a career but it sort of fell into my lap. I used to repair industrial snow plows as my job. There was always a plasma cutter sitting on the bench but I never did anything with it for years. One day I decided to try it out. I made a small tree and attached it to a rock. It became a necklace holder. Literally, from that day forward, I was hooked. I dabbled in art on the side for many years until I finally took the leap and decided to start my small business - Metal by Rachel. I’m still learning and growing but, what I love most about running my own business is that the possibilities are endless!
Did you complete any training? If not, how did you learn your trade/skill?
I haven’t gone to school for what I do. I worked in a welding shop right out of high school and learned a lot from my then boss. I’ve also learned a lot just by actually doing the work - trial and error can be a great way to learn.
What did you want to be when you were growing up, or a little kid?
To be honest, I never really had a set idea of “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” That’s part of the reason I never went to college after I graduated high school. I felt as though I needed some life experience before deciding on a career.
What do you have to sacrifice to be good at what you do?
I have to sacrifice time with my kiddos. It can be tough sometimes to run a business when you have children. It’s a bit of a balancing act. But it’s definitely worth it to have them see that it’s possible for them to run a business one day too!
What are you great at, and what do you suck at?
I would say one thing I’m good at is making sure what I create is the absolute best I can do at that present moment - and finding ways I can improve with each new project. Something I’m not so good with is time management.
What scares you?
What do you want people to know about being a woman in your field?
Sometimes it can feel a little intimidating but for the most part, it’s quite rewarding.
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?
Spending time with my family - my kids and husband.
How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do?
If any other women ask me about what I do, I try my best to explain my process and let them know that it’s a great opportunity for growth.
If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice, what would it be?
To just start. Be who you are in this moment and just start doing what you love.
Do you have any special projects or cool things you want people to check out?
I always have new projects on the go and share most of my journey on my Instagram page (@metalbyrachel). I’m really hoping to dabble a little bit more with 3D metal sculpting in 2023.
Let’s get deep. Workwear specifically by and for women- what does it mean to you, how does it affect your life and why is it important, philosophically?