Olivia Suchko is the founder of OLIVE, a brand that empowers women worldwide to confidently chase their wildest dreams. We know what a solid outfit can do for a woman, and we believe every woman deserves to feel that powerful, unstoppable confidence. Olive’s mission is to support you through every step of your career with comfortable, beautifully made clothing that works with you, not against you.
We recently caught up with Olivia and asked her to share a bit of her experience as an entrepreneur. We SO admire the brand Olivia is building, and we’re grateful to share more about her experience as a founder with all of you!!
Were you always interested in starting your own company? What inspired you to create your own business?
“No, actually, I never really imagined that I would take this path, which is funny though because my father is an entrepreneur and my Pappy was an entrepreneur as well. I realized it ran in my blood. So it definitely was not a big dream of mine growing up to be an entrepreneur. I don't think a lot of people, a lot of kids really think of that, but then when it kind of presented itself to me in college, I was like, maybe I could do this. And then I just kind of started to test the waters then.”
After years of doing pageants, going to school for fashion, and knowing all the fashion hot spots. While searching for clothes for an interview for the first time in her sophomore year of college, Olivia couldn’t find one single outfit for an interview. That was when she saw the need. It wasn’t just her who couldn’t find interview clothes but other women too.
This was a huge problem here. So I started to just do a little bit of market research. I realized I have to do this for women around the world. I have to do this to support them. They don't have anybody when they're coming out of college, trying to get their bearings in the workforce. So I started out just wanting to support these women.”
K: “I have to do this for women around the world!” Period. When your “why” resonates this strongly with you then you know it will hit a chord with others too.
What was the beginning of starting OLIVE like? Did you have a hard time getting started, or did the pieces fall into place?
“It's been different just because of COVID. Starting this in COVID has been pretty unique. And I think that everything happens in due time, but it needs to happen. I'm one of those people; I very much believe in timing. The biggest thing that I think I needed from the beginning was to learn. I needed to know how to be a good leader. How do I be an entrepreneur? “
“And on top of that, what are the elements of business that I need to understand? And so it really took me a while to understand that, but I’m thankful for COVID. It allowed me to address those things and learn and understand and kind of prepare myself for it. So, it's definitely been slow, and a lot of learning on that angle. Everything happens for a reason because it delayed me and the production and the clothes until now, which I think is the best time to launch our first collection.”
On Getting Started
Everything definitely did not fall into place, but I think it's falling into place the way it needs to be. It’s happening when it’s supposed to happen. And I think that it's going to give us the best opportunity to help women. If we would have launched earlier or right before COVID, I don't think we would have made it, and it wouldn’t have been as impressionable for women.
K: I loved Olivia’s ability to see the silver lining here. COVID as horrible as it is has given us the time and space we need to reflect and make improvements.
What's the best advice you've ever been given, life or business?
The biggest thing that my dad has said time and time again since I was a kid, he would always just say, “Be you, Olivia, just be you.” That resonated slowly but surely over the course of my life,life-changer to focus and just be true to who I am, being really authentic, you know, and making sure that I'm not putting myself in a position that's not meant for me.
K: Be you. That's all that matters.
What's the most recent lesson your business has taught you?
Don't stress over the little things. If you can, don't stress over the things you can't control. There were a lot of stressors in entrepreneurship, a problem to solve, things to work on, and figuring out a solution. I think it's essential to categorize, why stress about something you can’t control? You know, there are boundaries you have to put down to keep yourself from enjoying entrepreneurship.
K: I’m not going to lie. I’m still working on this! It’s a work in progress.
What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Just go for it. Just, you got to go for it. You can sit and think and strategize for years. And I think I accidentally did for a while there. For example, I'm a planner, Type A, and like to be prepared for what I'm going in for, but there's a point where you have to stop planning. There's no more planning you can do, and you just got to go for it. And on top of that, you're going to screw up; there’s going to be problems. You're going to make a wrong decision. It's all a lesson.
K: Starting with an organized plan is always advised but there comes a time when the excessive research phase is just another hidden way to procrastinate. Start now! Take the leap and start before you are “ready”.
What's your favorite part about being a business owner? What's the hardest part?
The gratification, honestly, I love being able to post sneak peek pictures and so many women were like, Oh my God, I'm so excited. Like I love the color, and I love the shape of it and structure. Like I'm glad to wear it. I think that feeling is just incredible. I don't think I've ever gotten such gratification from a job.
Right now, I feel like there's always going to be a new, hardest part. Because I feel like there are so many different phases of entrepreneurship and right now, I think the hardest part is that it's kind of transitional. I'm currently trying to get myself into a full-time position with Olive. So balancing the time between that and my job keeps me going. It’s all a balancing act. So that's probably the hardest part. I want to spend all my time on OLIVE, and I want to spend all my time on the things I'm passionate about, that's definitely the most challenging part.
What is something you have accomplished that you are most proud of?
Putting the deposit down for our first collection? And finally, being able to take another step forward, a big step forward.
K: That's really, really awesome. Congratulations on that!!
What are the most important skills or traits you've found helpful in entrepreneurship?
“I'm still learning time management, and I'm still balancing that, but scheduling the block out my time and my mental space has been something that I've been working on strengthening. A skill that comes in handy that I learned during my pageant days; I’ve just learned communication and how to understand people better. And in turn, I think that helps me understand my customers on top of the people I work with.”
K: I’m still learning time management myself. Also, great advice from Olivia, be sure to take time out for yourself even if you have to schedule it. Self-care is a must!
Are there any traits you've discovered that make it harder to succeed if you don't keep it in check?
“I have to just constantly remind myself that it's not going to be perfect. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but I just got to go with it and do the best I can.”
What's your favorite 'game-changer tool that you can share with everyone? (ie. hellobonsai, airtable, later, etc.).
“Notion, and the minute I started playing around with it, I was obsessed with it. And it's such a game-changer. It has helped me tremendously to focus on writing everything down, everything that's in my head, all my ideas that I come up with are all in Notion.”
K: I love Notion, too! It's one of the most customizable platforms for making something that works just the way you need it to!
Where can we find you if we'd like to learn more about you?
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