By Shayna Mace | Header photography by Natural Intuition Photography
You started Lake Effect Co., a hybrid lifestyle and e-commerce website in 2016. Why was this your calling?
My path has always followed [the] water in some way. I grew up in Hartland and went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for college. I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after college, working for Google in AdWords support. Then I moved to San Francisco, also for Google, doing community management for some of their big products. [I was with Google for] four years, but ultimately my heart was drawn back to the Midwest the whole time.
I started freelance marketing and had been doing that for a couple years … but I ended up not really having any balance. My true escape was time by the water. I had this love of the lakes that I wanted to put into writing, and build something around. Branding is my favorite aspect of marketing that I would do with clients, so it was natural to build a brand around this concept. The retail side of it [came] naturally after people would like the slogans or phrases that I was coming up with.
Now you live in Milwaukee. What do you love best about your adopted home?
I [live] two blocks from Juneau Park, which leads to the water, and I can see the lake from my rooftop. So I spend a lot of mornings, when weather permits, up on the roof and evenings too, catching sunrises and sunsets. I’m also huge into walking by the lake. If I don’t do that daily, it’s like a part of my routine is missing. It’s an amazing city to live in, but I would be gone by now if I didn’t have the use of the wonderful habits crafted around the lake.
In the summer, I pack my swimsuit in my bag at all times and I just dip in the lake after a workout class. People seem to take the lake for granted in Milwaukee, because it’s intimidating. [I love] the big-city feel, the ease of living here and the proximity to the water.
The health of the lakes is also very important to you.
This has been part of my brand from the beginning, to give back to the Great Lakes. So, I started giving five percent to the Alliance for the Great Lakes for the first year. I recently switched to [giving to] the Milwaukee Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. They support my same mission of getting people to fall in love with the water. It feels like it’s my responsibility to get people to fall back in love with the water—to chase the adventure. Maybe for them adventure isn’t jumping in the lake every day. [It may be] making time to see the sunset or see sunrise, or pursue moments that connect them with nature. It’s something that’s very accessible in this area, and that we’re fortunate to have.