We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Lovely and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, why did you pursue a creative career?
Initially styling was a essentially just my side hustle, a creative outlet that brought in extra cash. To be honest, I had no inclination to make anything more of it either. I was the director of marketing and sales at a small, woman owned background check company, making content, networking, understanding the business and industry I was completely satisfied with the work I did there. Hair and makeup artistry was simply another channel for my creative side. I was going to cosmetology classes in the evening after an 8 hour shift and beginning to build a part-time clientele. Looking back I have no idea how I had the energy, I was running on dry shampoo and a handful of dreams. The turning point really came in 2016 when I joined an incredible team of other stylists to do hair at New York Fashion Week right after becoming licensed. My perspective completely shifted, styling could take me places, beautiful places I could hardly imagined surrounded by talented and inspiring people. When I returned everyone, including my boss noticed that my focus had shifted, my heart was being pulled in another direction. Leaving my comfort zone that I’d so carefully curated and taking the leap into the great unknown of entrepreneurial-ship took so much encouragement from everyone in my life and even more convincing from myself. Could I really do it all on my own? Once I’d purchased my little townhome just north of Denver and building a little bit of security in rooting down I saw it as my chance to dive in full-time. I was going to pursue a life and vision of my own making filled with the beauty, creativity and authenticity of life itself. The work I do is so fulfilling to my soul, connecting with others in an intimate, fun, enchanting way. My clients become my works of art, seeing their inner beauty and bringing it out. Creating and enriching their look that they then take into their lives is joyful work. I love doing weddings for that reason specifically, becoming a part of their special day, taking care of them in those precious hours before the ceremony. The aim is to make them feel the most beautiful and radiant they’ve ever been. Hair coloring is gratifying in the same way, I like to think of the color palettes kind of like crystals, like I’m somehow infusing their look with magical properties. I’m lucky because my art lives and breathes, a walking testament. My clients can literally see how special and beautiful they are, their worth beyond the beauty. I call my clients the lovelies because that’s exactly what they’ve become through my styling process. Looking back now I can clearly see my heart gave me no other option other than to explore and bring to life the inner artist in me, I’m so grateful and honored to have become Olivia Lovely with styling as my full time career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Becoming my own boss seemed like the natural next step for me. I’m a very motivated, energetic person, I love to get things organized and accomplished. I remember thinking being able to build my own work schedule was going to make me unstoppable. I was surprised at how much my thinking about thus had to shift. I’ve come to understand that daily self-care plays a leading role in my ability to grow and show up 100%. I had to retrain my brain, learn how to relax and take that very necessary time off. I could grind away my 8 hours at an office leaving each day feeling accomplished, the work could stay at my desk and I knew it would be there waiting for me the next day. As a freelance, running things myself there was never an off switch, I had to do the work as it came. When I wasn’t on location I was endlessly focusing on building the business, reaching out, networking, posting on social media and refining my craft 24/7. Within even the first year that grind came to a screeching halt, I found out I had fibromyalgia and my body couldn’t keep up with my ambitions. My body was failing me and my mental health was stretched paper thin. It was critical that I learn how to turn down and turn that work switch off. It meant I had to discover meditation, low impact exercise in order to prevent painful flare ups and negate the repetitive motions of hairstyling. I had to release the death grip I had over control and move into more of a flow with what I would take on. I had to become more flexible when it came to my priories and what I could accomplish in one day. Through that personal work I’ve become more adaptable in freelancing, I’ve found ways to thrive in all sorts of situations, that mindset also translates directly into my work. I don’t just paint on a canvas, I have to be able to incorporate other people’s visions into what I create. I check in with my body and mentality on a daily basis in order to make the most out of each opportunity. Instead of filling up my schedule with productivity and focusing on growing the business I now make time for mediation, walking down to the river I live by, re-organizing my closet or even tucking into a show on Netflix with my favorite snacks. Taking however much time I need for myself looks so different from the usual 8 hours a day 5 days a week job. I’ve learned to relish in the time I set aside for myself, it’s how I show up 110% to making the world a more beautiful place. I never would have guessed the hardest work would be when I’m not working, the time off is equally important as the time I spend on the clock. I’m still adapting and growing these practices as I go, finding balance is a job that’s never done. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned as I continue to strive at finding the ever elusive work-life balance, when the work is your life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hands down, my favorite monthly event is the Science Lounge at the museum, each month they choose a different theme to showcase and enjoy an adult beverage at while you nerd out at the different exhibits, partake in some fun craft and listen to experts on the subject. I can often be found Stem Ciders in RiNo enjoying a sparkling cider and I love getting a fresh poke bowl at Turtle Boat off Broadway.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve worked with so many talented stylists, through their support, training and opportunities is how I’ve gotten where I am today. I’d like to shoutout my mentors, Noelle Benjamin at Salon Noelle, Ashley Smith with Ashley Smith Beauty, and Pauline Castro with PLC Mobile Beauty, and my favorite photographer I’m currently working with Amy Wright of Amy K Wright Photography I also love to read Rene Brown, her book Rising Strong was a cornerstone for me and was filled with motivational, inspirational and thought provoking content.
Image credit; Kayte Demont at Mass Mussings & Amy Wright at Amy K Wright Photography