Name: Colette Wright
City: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Main Hustle: Labor and Delivery Nurse
Side Hustle: Girl Boss Photographer and Interior Decorator
How did you get started?: We moved to Michigan about three years ago from a suburb in Chicago. Our house at that time was 1300 sq ft, and with four people, including littles, living in it, we were forced to be creative with storage. It was my job (and passion) to make sure that our house was cozy and inviting, despite the small space. We now live in a 2400 sq ft space that is so cookie cutter. I was determined to document our renovation process online to show that you can build character and style into your home without breaking the bank. We aren’t done with our home yet, (but is any house ever really done?) so we still have some more exciting updates planned for this fall!
The Lipstick Lens started as I became more comfortable with my camera (lots of practice in interior photography) and wanted to expand my hobby into something purposeful. I come from a line of very strong women and feel that I’m surrounded by creative women in my own community, both in real life and online. These women inspire me to not only be my best self but to create a business that supports and encourages their hustle and drive.
The Lipstick Lens captures women in business working their hustle, whether it be running a hair salon, teaching yoga to underprivileged youth, or building their interior design business. I provide them with creative headshots, lifestyle images, and on-brand shots to boost their online presence and give them the confidence they deserve!
When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: Because my main hustle has a lot of flexibility in terms of my schedule, I’m able to blog, decorate, and schedule photoshoots almost any day of the week! Working on the renovations in our home does take some careful planning because my husband and I are a team, and we only have limited time to set aside because, well, life!
My favorite time to work on my blog and my photography business is in the morning, first thing, over a hot cup of coffee. It’s when I feel the most productive and creative!
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: The challenges in my blogging and decorating world are complex. Finding the time to renovate our home is tricky with my husband working and traveling and having two kids very involved in sports and band. Also, let’s be real, there aren’t unlimited decorating-all-the-things-at-one-time funds, haha.
More importantly I was in a severe car accident in July of 2017 that has really shaken me to my core. In fact blogging and decorating became extremely challenging for me as I recovered from PTSD. I saw my home and all the things in it as just stuff that was meaningless and futile. Over the last few months however, I’ve been able to get a piece of myself back in that regard. I’ve realized that our homes are our safe haven, the place where we love, and they should absolutely reflect that. Nothing about that is futile. I just redecorated my daughter’s room (not blogged about yet), and it was therapeutic and healing for me.
The challenges in my photography business are valuing my worth and time.
I think it’s a difficult thing to put a price tag on your services; so much self doubt can filter in, especially if you get stuck in the comparison game, which is rabbit hole no one wants to go down. Reminding myself that my time and creativity are valuable is an ongoing process!
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: The rewards in both blogging and photography are similar: it’s about having a creative outlet and inspiring others. I want everyone to feel that they can make their home beautiful and unique without breaking the bank, and the value in doing so goes so much deeper than knick knacks and curtain panels: it’s creating a home.
I want other women to have the confidence to not only create that home but to also know their worth. To be seen. To know that they are beautiful just as they are and to showcase that—wrinkles, scars, and all.
Who is your greatest supporter?: My greatest supporters are my family and friends. My husband is always encouraging me and giving me the space to create, reminding me of my wort, and letting me paint any door I want pink (totally not kidding, lol). I have some crazy ideas sometimes, and he balances keeping me grounded and letting me fly with them.
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: My greatest source of inspiration are all the creatives in this world. I love scrolling through instagram and following along with other photographers and interior decorators who are literally making this world a more beautiful place. I’m in awe of the talent and beauty people possess, and everyone challenges me to constantly learn and evolve.
Have you received recognition for your work?: I’ve been featured on Sherwin Williams many times and At Home!
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: For blogging it’s to continue to create and inspire others. Not gonna lie, if HGTV wants to come feature my house in their magazine, I wouldn’t be mad! Haha.
For photography my dream is to take this business as far as it goes, to travel the world photographing women in business who are living their dream or just starting out.
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:
My advice is to put yourself out there. Start the blog. Do the thing that’s scary. Challenge yourself. Are people going to reject you? Maybe. Are you going to lose/gain followers? Yes. Are some people not going to like your work? Probably. But you know what? That’s okay. Do it for YOU. Know your value and your worth and you will inspire people. There’s enough room for us all—it’s about community over competition.
To learn more about Colette’s interior design business, check out her blog or follow along on Instagram. For more information on her photography business, check out her website or follow along on Instagram. Reach out directly via email to connect tor collaborate!
Feature Photo and Headshot by Paige Grabert
Interior Photos by Colette