She’s A Total Betty is a mini shout-out to the fabulous women crushing it in the world of business with confidence and style. Hosted by our friends Business Betties, this ongoing highlight series explores the entrepreneur in conversation and stunning visual images.
On a typical humid summer day in New England, I drove to Providence to meet up with this month’s Featured Betty, Olivia Rodrigues.
Olivia works with women professionals and entrepreneurs who want to feel radiant and polished in the clothes they wear, and are looking to explore, embrace, and cultivate their style individuality. She primarily aims to redefine the shopping experience and give personal style purpose and meaning for the driven and ambitious professional/mother.
Business Betties: How did you get started as a stylist?
Rodrigues: 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’Ivoire (I was 16 years old when my parents moved our family of six to Rhode Island). As a child I loved accompanying my mother on her trips 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 and smelled. My mother designed the majority of her wardrobe and she’d have a couturier sew them, including more than half of my closet and my sisters’. It had never occurred to me to listen to and explore that inner curiosity in depth once time came to head to college. Later on, with a BA in Spanish and an MA in Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy, I was convinced that I had found my place in the nonprofit sector.
In the spring of 2012 when I found out that I was expecting, I began to reflect a lot on my career path, and whether I was truly pursuing my heart’s desires. For some wild reason I became obsessed about old dreams I had kept secret, and I began to jot down thoughts and ideas. It was as if my intuition vibrations did a whole 360 on me. I craved a creative outlet and the freedom to direct something of my own, and blogging felt like the perfect avenue. I also knew there was going to be an element of conquering vulnerability with the launch of my maternity fashion blog; regardless, I enlisted one of my best friends as my photographer and editor and blogged anyway! After my son was born, I realized that there had to be a bigger purpose with my blog. 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 (admittedly a very foggy one). I decided to enroll in Jill Marinelli’s stylist training program because I wanted to be an informed fashion blogger as well as master the art of styling various body types. Also, I would network a lot after leaving my job at 5 pm. Looking back, it was quite an insane schedule but it became the new normal. For every small step I took, there was an opportunity waiting.
To read the complete article and learn how Rodrigues deals with Imposter Syndrome, click here.