In conversation with: Olivia Palermo

Olivia’s first dream job? “I always liked sports commentating, so that was always something I thought I’d go into but fashion was something I loved from an early age, in my late teens and early twenties I became less sports focused and that is how things shifted and I began interning.”

Did you ever think to be a journalist? “Having some editorial direction was something I wanted to go into, so building Olivia.com was a perfect thing to do, with online being at the forefront. Fashion has changed so much in ten years but so has online, the way that people receive information and shop.”

When was the change? “In Paris, being in a different city, not speaking a lick of French, seeing how the French woman dresses, how people look to fashion.”

Fashion is so big and in a way journalism is so big. What do you do without contacts? There are so many different things you can do, I always say don’t have a huge C.V but try different things, working in a magazine is fantastic, interning meant seeing designers, layouts and advertising and hours upon hours of fact checking.”

What about modelling, what has that brought? “As a model, as anywhere else, we support each other. Social media is very important. I do think with the production, hair and makeup, styling, everything that goes into it, the girls line up and have put so much time and energy into it so an extra clap is good, every girl likes that. I am very fortunate to work with incredible stylists, all over the world, seeing their eye and how things are put together has made my job a lot more well-rounded, especially for Olivia.com.”

OP: “Give five minutes to everybody, maybe people don’t realise that does go a long way.”

How should people use social media? “Everybody is very different, some like Instagram, some like Snapchat, others Bebo.  You don’t want to put too much out there, there is a balance with being private and public, I like to do both but you don’t need to take a picture of a cheeseburger, I would rather see two girls having fun, maybe looking absolutely fabulous , just a moment of happiness, you can say you go girls.”

OP: “Everybody needs someone they can have complete transparency with.”

What would be your advice to people who can only hire two staff members? “Just start and build. Everyone needs to gel and think where are we going long-term or is this a three year plan and then off to try somewhere else?  That’s completely fine but within our team we have been doing this for a long time. I have two agents and they have my best interest at heart, always and everybody communicates. If we are talking about a job, everyone is in the same email.”

OP: “I am an old school person, calling people– hearing someone else on the other line, I like having a conversation.”

What would impress you? “I think a lot of the time you can see a quiet passion and quiet drive, it’s not getting overly excited about something, but saying I love to learn, I am interested in this field, where can I start, those paths are most interesting to me.”

OP: “It is important to trust your team and that someone else can make a decision on your behalf, I always know I am in good hands.” 

How do you have the capacity to do it all? “I am only home 160 days a year, I am very disciplined, this is something my agent Karen taught me, you can work all throughout the weekend, but I think that it is important to have boundaries and shut down, you need your own life, time to see friends and your significant other. In order to thrive in the work environment your personal life has to be relatively stable and healthy.”

OP: “On airplanes, that is when all my ideas come out, I do like a phone and pad and paper to check off my list. For me, growing up, computers came in later, you retain information just differently [writing it down].” 

There are a lot of influencers who work with brands, what advice would you give to people about what brands to work with? “See how you like the product and work from there, it is absolutely about personal connection.”

How do you keep your team motivated and going? “I think that I am really fortunate that my two agents have 70 years of experience combined, they have been doing this for a very long time. We are really happy. You have to take responsibility for everyone , what needs to be taken of. You have to be the last person to be taken care of.”

OP: “Having your own business is a serious responsibility.” 

Do you ever think there are just not enough hours in the day? “I always think there aren’t enough hours in the day but I do honestly think and it is something I have changed this year, I exercise six days a week every morning. You have to make that time because you can make any excuse under the sun but you will be the energiser bunny while everyone else is drinking coffee and are really tired. I am a dedicated Tracy Anderson girl.”

Do you have any regrets? “I always think anything you do, whether you are happy or unhappy you learn from it. If you fail, climb back and change– course correction.”

There are a lot of challenges you face when starting a business, when you first started what did you learn? “I asked a lot of older people feedback from a business perspective and I was very open to it. I don’t think there is a stupid question. If you ask at least you know the answer, if you don’t ask, you don’t know.”

Other than being passionate, how can you stand out? “You have to have your work speak for itself.”

Did you get on The City because you already had a career or did it make your career? Which came first? “I had a little bit of a career at the time in fashion at magazine and seeing behind the scenes of the entertainment industry and the structure, it reassured me that I was going to work in the fashion industry.”

OP:You have to faith in yourself and want to succeed, not just like the idea.”

How do you see your business evolving? “I can’t tell you everything, you have to look forward to something.”

 

Website: http://oliviapalermo.com

Twitter: @OliviaPalermo

Instagram: @oliviapalermo

Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark

Scarlett Victoria Clark is Editor-in-Chief of Scriptoeris and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar, when not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.

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