Just the other day, Carrie Colbert's daughter said the word "rainbow" for the first time. And while that may seem surprising for a little girl not yet 2 years old, trust us when we say that, once you meet Colbert and see the colorful life she's created for herself, it makes perfect sense.
Four years ago, Colbert left a busy, successful oil and gas career to launch a website dedicated to highlighting, celebrating, and encouraging colorful lifestyles. Along the way, she's accumulated a following of devoted readers who devour her creative and inspiring posts, which range in topic from mural guides to bright outfit inspiration to leadership advice.
Houstonia caught up with the stylish, driven entrepreneur and about what, exactly, it means to "live colorfully," her famous guides to Houston street art, how less is more, and her next chapter of helping fellow entrepreneurs.
On how CarrieColbert.com got its start:
"I spent almost 20 years working in the oil and gas industry. There just came a time when I was burnt out. It was a very intense work environment, and I was at a point when I wanted to start traveling and having more flexibility with my schedule. I retired, if you will, three-and-a-half years ago, and then launched my website. I hate the words 'blogger' and 'influencer,' so I like to think of myself as a content creator. I had a fashion blog prior to starting the website, and so when we were looking at rebranding and studying what content does well, we discovered that my brand really is color. I hesitated then to think of color as a brand, but I’ve learned that color is about being vibrant, happy, and joyful, and we incorporate that into living a colorful lifestyle. Our mission is to empower women to live with more color every day of their lives."
On what "living colorfully" really means:
"It’s both literal and symbolic. I obviously love wearing a lot of color, as you’ll see on the website. I think there is energy and power in color. In fact, one of the books that I enjoyed most last year is called Joyful. The author Ingrid Fettell Lee’s thesis is that joy isn’t this nebulous thing that we either have or don’t have or chase without direction, but that there are tangible, proven things that add more joy to our life. She identified eight things from a design aesthetic. The first one, and the one that resonated with me most, was color. Bringing more color to our lives brings more joy to our lives. It’s a sense of living boldly."
On helping other female entrepreneurs:
"I’m getting ready this summer to launch a new sub-business that’s all about empowering creative businesswomen. What I found after being in this new industry for the last four years and observing the landscape is that so many very creative, super driven, super passionate, very determined women with great ideas need guidance with business lessons and business acumen. If we take some of the basics that I learned in my 18-year career that are almost second-nature to me, I believe we can help them accelerate their businesses. I’ve been doing a lot of speaking at conferences lately, and I’ve settled on this idea of coaching and mentoring services. I’m doing a case study with a small, select group right now, and I’m having great fun and great success in helping them raise capital, invest capital, understand basic data analysis, and illuminate their businesses. For instance, I’m working with a fashion designer from Florida and a couple of moms who started a lactation products company called Oat Mama. It’s been a delight to teach those lessons that I learned from my years in the oil and gas industry."
On the surprising reaction to street art:
"When I started doing fashion photos in front of colorful walls in Houston, people would always ask where those walls were located. Even when we would travel to other cities, we would chronicle walls there and people would want to know where they were. The response to street art really blew us away. The Houston mural guide has been published for three years now, and every month it is one of our No. 1 hits. We've covered Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Minneapolis, Denver, and one or two more, and month after month, those mural guides for all those different cities get so much organic traffic. People actively seek them out and use them at their discretion. We even self-published a book that covered Houston’s colorful street art."
On the tricky business of getting personal with her content:
"I’m actually a very introverted and very private person, and the way I process information and life events always starts with processing it myself and getting to a healthy place before I share it. I think it’s kind of dangerous when people share stuff too soon or something personal that is still happening in their life. It’s a fine line to walk. There’s also the issue of kids and family members and how much you share about them. My daughter is authentically the most important person in my life, but I’m very careful about doing any sponsored content featuring her. I don’t feel right about that, so I don’t ever include anything that I feel is someone else’s story, including my family’s. It’s a gray area. I try to draw the line when it goes from being part of my story to someone else’s story."
On learning to live with less:
"About two months ago, my house flooded. Through that process I lost some stuff, and most of the stuff that's remaining is now in storage. I’m living temporarily in a friend’s guest quarters, so all this has really reminded me that I don’t need that much stuff. Stuff is just stuff. It’s made me more cognizant of only buying things I really love. It’s made me cut back. In fact, I’m only doing one outfit post a week. It’s not realistic and also not setting a good example to keep consuming stuff and become weighed down by it."
On her fabulous—and famous—Manolo Blahniks:
"I have developed a great shoe collection over the years. For some reason, though, I fell in love with those Manolo Blahniks. They just seem like the pinnacle shoe. I actually got them through credit card reward gift cards, which makes me laugh. Believe it or not, too, they’re actually very comfortable. I’ve had a lot of expensive shoes over the years that are not that comfortable, but I’ve been presenting in these at various talks and summits, and I can promise you they are. They are my go-to shoes right now. They come in a beautiful hot pink, too, so those are on my list now."
On her favorite Houston destinations:
"I love Bebidas for smoothies. I also love the idea behind Present Company on Westheimer—it’s a very colorful, Instagramable bar that fits in with my aesthetic. For a nice dinner out, I’ve been on a kick of Steak 48. I think their service is like none else in town. I’m also in love with The Post Oak Hotel and going to Bloom & Bee. Shopping-wise, you can’t go wrong with Tootsies for clothes. Also, Alchemia on Westheimer does a really good job of curating a nice collection that’s different than what you can find other places. Kuhl-Linscomb is another favorite, of course!"
On how she sees her content changing in the future:
"I feel like everything in the online world is evolving right now, especially towards more raw, authentic content. I find myself at this moment wanting to be more intentional with content. For a while we were publishing a ton of content, like one to two pieces a day, and we’re backing off that now. I was recently reading about slow content, and it resonated with me. I want to take time to make content more meaningful and impactful, so moving forward, we will be more intentional and have purpose with our work. We will still publish quite frequently, but we aren’t going to publish something just to publish it."