I am beyond excited to introduce you to Olivia Rodrigues, Stylist Extraordinaire! Olivia and I were first introduced through the Providence Lady Project when I had the immense pleasure of working with her on the Lady Project Holiday Gift Guide - we have since become dear friends. Olivia radiates authenticity and her "stay true to you vibe" is contagious. Olivia's mission is to help women celebrate their individuality through the clothes they wear, because when we fully show up as we are, we attract more of what we want. Not only will she help you fall in love with your wardrobe, she'll help you fall in love with "you." Read on to learn more about Olivia and what celebration means to her.
Give us a quick history of your styling business and how it came to be.
Telling my story in brief is rarely an easy thing to do because it's not exactly cookie-cutter. Fashion has always fascinated me since I was a little girl. I am Cape Verdean, but I was born and raised in Abidjan, the capital of Cote d'lvoire (I was 16 years old when my parents moved our family of six to Rhode Island). As a child I couldn't wait to accompany my mother to the fabric store so my sisters and I could play hide-and-seek between the zillions of fabrics. I loved the way they felt, smelled. Most pieces of clothing owned by my mother were created by her with assistance of a couturier; and more than half of my closet (including my sisters') growing up were designed by her. However, it had never occurred to me to listen to and explore that curiosity in depth once time came to head to college. With a BA in Spanish and a MA in Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy, I was convinced that I had found my place in the nonprofit sector.
When I found out I was expecting in the spring of 2012, I became extremely curious about my childhood; particularly photos of my mother. I had looked at these photo albums countless times before; but this time felt very singular. I wanted the pictures to speak to me; to unveil stories of my mother, before and after she gave birth to me. Her style has always been impeccable. Project ideas kept me up at night and in the morning I jolted down thoughts and ideas and that's how my maternity fashion blog was launched. I had realized, with all my time spent diagnosing clothes at TJMaxx, or Zara, or Nordstrom etc...why not give that time meaning and purpose? So I enlisted one of my best friends as my photographer and editor and blogged! It was after my son was born that something else hit me: I want to do more. This hobby/passion had become my creative outlet, but I knew that being a fashion blogger wasn't just it for me. I was itching to explore my passion for style and I had no idea what it was going to look like, but I had a vision and every small step I took, there was an opportunity waiting. A new career sprung from having this burning desire to help people, particularly women, with their personal style, and professional image; and redefine their experiences as consumers of fashion. As a stylist, I also get the opportunity to collaborate with businesses and work on fashion spreads. I wasn't alone when all this started either. I had and continue to have a cheerleading squad and gosh I'm so, so, so lucky - and my squad keeps growing!
Elevator pitch. 1-2-3 go! (You have 30 seconds).
I work with professionals who are looking to explore their style individuality and want to be and feel phenomenal and ready to transition into a new phase in their lives.
You're in the business of helping people celebrate their individuality through the clothes they wear and accessories they choose to carry. How do you define "celebration"?
I associate celebration with happiness, moments and experiences that trigger pure joy. To me celebration means acknowledging a particular event/moment/milestone in your life and surrendering to these emotions. There is hope, optimism, and gratitude in celebrating as well. For instance, my son counting from one to five for the first time is a wonderful feeling, and it's hard to explain but you feel great as a parent.
Recently celebration to me has transformed into making time to recognize that I am enough, that I have done enough, and I'm doing enough.
Therefore, celebrating who I am as a person, as a mom, a partner, a sister, and a friend is just as crucial. Making spacing to take care of me is part of celebrating me. I am sure I sound borderline narcissistic, but it's something I want to be very intentional about.
You are on a mission to help women identify their own unique style & own it! (I love that.) Can you tell us how someone who doesn't know how to describe her style, or may not think she has one, might begin to identify it?
To me, personal style is a journey, rather than an end to a means. We all go through different phases of growth in life; and our taste and preferences most often evolve along the way. I want to know where she is now. Questions I like to ask my clients during our first consultation range from the type of color/pattern/prints she is attracted to, to her favorite style/fashion muse or blogger, and what she is drawn to - maybe it's the color red, or a men's watch, or vintage pieces. Also understanding her daily routine and current lifestyle is important and becomes relevant for the looks/style we are working to achieve. Someone who may not think she has one can begin with paying attention to those details. Perhaps it's buying those animal print pumps you pinned on your Pinterest board or that locally-made statement necklace you can't stop thinking about. Small steps is all it takes and have fun with it!
The mission of & celebrate is to inspire people to find something to celebrate every day. What little things in your business are you celebrating today?
When a client is happy and pleased, I'm the happiest and the urge to celebrate is imminent. Handwritten thank you cards are little things I do to celebrate the people who are part or new to my journey, and inspire me.
This year I am also celebrating saying YES to opportunities that get me totally excited and freak the hell out of me at the same time. I will celebrate being out in the world more, and simply sharing my passion with others through speaking engagements. I am such a visual person and a doer; I like to create and do things, but as a semi-introvert, I stay in my mind a lot. But how far can one really go if all one does is blog and 'hide' behind the keyboard or the camera. With that said, I will make a point (because this will not come naturally) to celebrate imperfections as I grow my styling career.
Describe your favorite way to celebrate.
Music is huge at my house (husband is a DJ and a die-hard Reggae fan), so there is the tendency to break into a dance party at any moment; so spur-of-the-moment celebrations happen a lot, especially with a toddler, and they are my favorite!
Because I am always doing something, to celebrate will mean the opposite of that. So leave all electronic devices far, far away (I bet my husband is going to roll his eyes with this one), lounge with a glass of Prosecco, and enjoy human connections. Last year I began this sort of quarterly tradition, which I call Celebrating Nothing and Everything. I'd send a text of the day to my sisters and 1-2 close friends on a Friday, (super casual); we'd gather around tasty snacks in the evening and raise a glass to the weekend. We are due for one soon as a matter of fact (will you come?). Also this year, at my house, we decided to make a habit of always keeping a bottle of champagne in the fridge and anticipate that awesome things are going to happen and will be worth celebrating. And sometimes, simply making it to the end of a long week is awesome enough and an absolute qualifier!
Lastly, how can we get in touch with you?