On Staying Home and Finding Purpose


Name:  Christina Brillati

Degree/Institution: Bachelors degree interior design/ architectural construction technology minor  Oakland University and Baker College

Workplace/Business:  Tribe

Favorite app/website/blog: I used to be addicted to interior design blogs, I even had one for awhile.  I’ve since decided they suck out too much of my energy and leave me feeling inadequate so I stopped reading them.  I now spend a lot of time on IG for my business and I love reading books on business tips and branding.  

Go-to outfit:  Jeans (sometimes ripped), button down and heels

Go-to power anthem:  Alicia Keyes ‘This Girl is on Fire’

Go-to Local Restaurant:  Pizza Nostalgia, a brick oven casual pizza place near my house.  

Go-to Coffee shop:  I don’t need anything fancy, right now I’m drinking Tim Horton’s iced  coffee

Website/Blog/Social Media handle:  www.tribedetroit.com, IG @tribedetroit


Tell me about yourself and why you started Tribe Detroit                                    

 I am a wife and mom to four amazing kids.  As they’ve been growing, I felt that it was important for me to get back to work.  I use my business as a platform to not only inspire creativity for myself, my kids and whomever wants to join us but also as a way to give back to our community.  All of these things fit into the larger vision of how I want to raise my kids.  

As a creative in this area  I can say that we have waited a long, long time for Detroit to catch up with what has been happening around the country.  My dream was that this space would be used as sort of a “ design laboratory”.  I love that one day we’re having an event and the next day a photo shoot for clothing and the day after I’m surrounded by buckets of flowers or babies...  It’s always something different and exciting and the people I’ve met have been amazing.                                             

Your background is in interior design, how do you think that helped shape the existence of Tribe Detroit? 

I know the power of loving your environment, how it can lift your mood and leave you feeling creative and inspired.  I instinctively knew that if I had a beautifully decorated space with positive energy I would be able to draw people in.

You started Tribe Detroit after staying home for 13 years, what was that experience like? 

I’m going to be completely honest here… it was difficult but probably not for any reasons you may think.  It was such a mental thing for me, sometimes I’d wake up and feel like I could conquer the world and other days I’d wake up and think “your idea is crazy, no one is going to get it or care or want to work with you.”  The ups and downs were draining and exhausting and looking back I think I was not only stuck in a rut but also depressed, which is strange to say because that’s not really who I am.  I was also trying to create a new business model so I had no blueprint to follow and I had very few people to bounce ideas off of, most of my support system didn’t understand my concept.  There were days I would be on such a roller coaster that by the end I wasn’t even clear on my concept anymore. 

What advice do you have for stay-at-home moms who are currently thinking about starting their own business?  

The best thing I did was not do anything right away… let me explain.  I almost started 3 different businesses in the last five years.  With every business came the wave of “its going to be amazing/it’s going  to be an epic fail” debate in my head.  Each time I gave it six months and every few days I would check in, “what if I were working this business this week?”.  I really looked at how that business would fit in on both an easy week with lots of free time and a crazy week where I was being pulled in many different directions.   Even though I was desperate to start something, I’m thankful I didn’t jump in because tribe wouldn’t have happened and its the perfect balance in my life right now.  

In your experience staying home, have you ever felt like you made the right choice? 

I don’t spend any time on “what if’s”, you can’t go back and change it.  I also believe you’re on your path for a reason.  I always hoped I’d be able to stay at home when my kids were little and I wouldn’t take that time back for anything in the world.  There was a definite shift for us as our kids got older.  It was getting to a point where they needed to be able to learn some life skills and not be so dependent on me.  It’s also been good for them to see their mom working, it’s a more accurate picture of what society looks like today.  

What advice do you have for stay at home moms looking to stay empowered, relevant and prepared for re-entry into the workplace or entrepreneurship? 

It’s definitely easier if you keep your foot in the door, even if it it’s just a toe.  I don’t think you necessarily need to be on a payroll to do this.  I always stayed up to date on trends and what was going on in the design industry through, books, magazines, blogs, pinterest and later instagram.  I also was constantly taking online courses on blogging and instagram, branding and whatever else I could find.  Last summer I flew to Virginia for a three day workshop for creative entrepreneurs even though I didn’t have a business and didn’t know what  my business would look like.  This workshop ended up being key component in the development of tribe.  I also think you need to show your face at industry events and make the effort to meet, connect and network.  

Do you find that balancing motherhood, family, work and your business to be a challenge? If so, what support system do you have in place to manage that? 

It is a challenge but I guess the alternative is boredom and not pushing limits.  Some seasons or weeks are worse then others and some weeks I’m surprised at how doable it is.  My hubsand is extremely supportive and more excited for me then I am for myself.  He’s all in for me and the kids!  Our moms help out at times and I’m lucky to have an amazing babysitter that I use about twice a week.  She’s so good with my kids that it’s actually easy to leave them because I know they’re having a great time with her.  Even though they’ll all be in school full time next year I will still use her on busy nights when we have multiple activities to get too.  

What do you do for self-care?

Not too much, I’m lucky I can fit in the basics.  I’m working on creating more space for exercise and church and if I can make that happen I’ll be one happy girl.

Whats next for Tribe Detroit? 

Good question.  I’m looking forward to some styled shoots coming up where I’ll be able to step out of the box and try something new.  I also hope to be a resource for creative start up businesses, giving them branding and social media advice, a place to photograph product and a positive place where they can get some creative, constructive feedback.  I also hope to grow my reach to people that are looking for these types of resources.  Hopefully, someday soon they’ll reach out to tribe when they need referrals for photographers, floral designers, life coaches, caterers, the possibilities are endless.  I love encouraging and nurturing people, businesses and relationships.  I also love to connect people with others that can help them on their path to success.  It has always been part of our mission to give back to the community so you will also see some community service projects in our future.

All photography by Diana Liang for Mother Honestly