Small Business Spotlight: Sage Collective
Meet Laynee Rietz, owner of Sage Collective and the creative branding and portrait photographer of your DREAMS! She currently resides in Des Moines, IA but travels across the country for shoots!
With over 7 years of experience in photography and editing, Laynee loves working with LOTS of color, artificial lighting, and props. She loves brands and clients that aren't afraid to be bold and different! She believes that every session should be a positive experience from start to finish. She helps her clients conceptualize their creative vision. She ensures the photos reflect them or their brand, and also assists them with styling and staging for their shoot. Laynee emphasizes being inclusive and accessible to people of all skin colors, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and body types. Her work is about celebrating the things that make someone or a brand unique. She wants her clients to see a reflection of their truest selves!
Check out our Q&A with Laynee below and learn about her current mini sessions and how to book!
LLF: What drew you towards a career in photography?
SC: I grew up in the Myspace days when your profile picture had to be ICONIC! My older sister was really cool and I loved the selfies she would take of herself. She taught me how to take and edit photos. Mind you, they were all taken on a crappy digital camera you'd buy at Walmart. However, it truly was the start of my obsession with taking portraits. I even used to take pictures of my friends for their profile pics. I loved able being to give them pictures that were unique and made them look and feel their best.
Evidence of Laynee's Impeccable MySpace skills! We're pretty sure photos like this were the calling card for Millennials and Older Gen Z!
LLF: How did you get your start as a small business owner?
SC: My husband bought me a used camera for my birthday 5 years ago. I was always doing photoshoots for friends to practice and perfect my craft but I was to make a business out of it. My best friend at the time also loved photography and approached me about starting a business together. That's how Sage Collective was born!
LLF: How would you describe your photography?
SC: My work is different, bold, colorful, and creative. Sage Collective is for people that march to the beat of their own drum & are confident in who they are. I've felt like an outsider my entire life and I've spent most of it trying to fit in with everyone else. Photography has shown me that there is beauty in being different and I love showing that to other people. I genuinely believe that being YOURSELF sets you apart from everyone else and that's not a bad thing!
LLF: Who or what inspires your work?
SC: A lot of my inspiration comes from my favorite photographers and music! I'm inspired most by David LaChapelle! His creativity is unlike anything I've seen. All of his work is so bold and original. I love how different it is
LLF: What is your favorite thing about being a small business owner?
SC: My favorite part of owning a small business is how much it has and continues to help me grow and evolve. I used to have severe social anxiety. Now I love networking! I've made so many amazing and meaningful connections through my work. I've also become more confident in being different. My brand is all about self-expression and not caring about what other people think. My business has given me permission to finally be myself.
LLF: What is one thing you wish your clients knew?
SC: I wish my clients knew that it's okay not to fit in! I know I'm not the only person who has grown up feeling ashamed about who I am or where I come from. I want them to know they should be proud of who they are and show it off to the world!
LLF: If you could give any advice to existing or aspiring small business owners, what would it be?
SC: I preach about this all the time, but BE YOURSELF! Your work and your business don't have to be like everyone else's. Your audience and clients will LOVE the real you and as long as you are passionate about what you're doing, they will be too!
LLF: What is the best career advice that you've ever received?
SC: "If you try to make your business for everyone, I promise it will be for no one."
LLF: What are your top 3 favorite small businesses?
LLF: Okay, one last question! If you had to choose one song that would play when you walked in the room, what would it be?
SC: I'd say Mother's Daughter by Miley Cyrus. I feel like it really embodies my beliefs and it makes me feel like a bada**!
Are you a small business or non-profit interested in being spotlighted? Let's connect!
All photos and logos featured are the property of Sage Collective, LLC. Please contact the owner before using her copyrighted materials. All models can be found by clicking on the image.