Kelsea Olivia of East Olivia Creative on creating experiences that spark curiosity, joy, and connection

Kelsea Olivia_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

East Olivia is a boutique creative agency that specializes in large-scale floral installations.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I have been starting businesses since I was a child, selling my crafts and babysitting. As an adult, I had an innate desire to create beautiful spaces and experiences in the world that spark curiosity, joy and connection. From there, I was further driven by being able to offer quality career opportunities, at a liveable wage, for talented creatives.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I spent the first decade of my professional career working in the music industry in L.A., specifically in marketing, artist and tour management. I wanted to do something more creative, while still utilizing my business acumen and that is when I transitioned into the aesthetic retail landscape. I spent the next five years working for Anthropologie and BHLDN in N.Y.C., where I learned and gained experience in visuals, events, social media and of course, flowers!

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I have always loved working, creating and connecting with people. From sweeping the hair at my mom’s salon to working the front desk making appointments to selling my own crafts and babysitting, I was born enjoying and having a blast while working.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

When I first launched as a solopreneur, I was supported largely by a small internal team. My strategy at that time was somewhat unpolished but always centered around networking, creating excellent work and sharing it on social media. And that is still our strategy today, with a bit more polish 😉

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

The biggest mistakes I have made are almost always in misguided judgements in hiring or even partnering with the people that I did not do my due diligence in researching. You have to be really mindful of who you are putting your trust in, so now contacting references is a must. 

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Keeping my entire staff employed during the pandemic. It is important to note, that this did require salary cuts across the board and that we had to make some roles temporarily part-time, while launching a direct to consumer Forever Florals Shop. We lost all of our event business last year and this was a huge feat—but we did it!

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

My go-to interview question is always ‘what lights you up about this work?’ or ‘what are your deepest interests?’ Passion is key to what we do and crucial to what we create so this answer is huge for me. My #1 tip is to always check references, even if your gut tells you the person is the right fit. It just doesn’t hurt to check them.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Before the pandemic hit, we were slated to go into our most profitable season of 2020, with over a half a million dollars in work booked and it evaporated overnight. Events disappeared and it forced EO to successfully pivot stat.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Next for EO is just to continue to recover and heal from the pandemic fallout. Events are beginning to come back and things look really exciting and busy over the next few months. It will be a longer road, as there was a lot of loss that we still need to recoup from but our team is re-energized and driven to keep growing our Forever Florals Shop and to get back into the events world.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

This too shall pass.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

That people are always your biggest asset and your greatest challenge.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Community, pure grit and determination.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I hope to believe in work-life balance more once we recover from 2020. I believe that it is different for every person. For me, I love to work and it is threaded in every moment of my day. But that brings me joy and that is not true for everyone. Self-regulation is really important for each person individually on our team.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

That I am a pretty *decent* singer and can definitely carry a tune.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

The first way I stay productive each day is by tackling the least desirable thing I have to do first and getting it out of the way. The second is being intentional with my delegation to staff, including giving consideration to each person’s strengths and challenges. And lastly, no surprise to my team here, making sure I have a fully charged backup phone battery at all times.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista means creating beautiful products, meaningful career opportunities and a vibrant company culture.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Shaping the Future of Media Production with Lena Jenkins-Smith

“As a leader, I knew that it was important for me to know the job. I have to know what it takes financially, physically, mentally to do any job. I would never want to tell somebody to do a job and be responsible for managing them in that position if I didn’t know what the…

Self-Care as a Leadership Strategy with BetterHelp’s Haesue Jo

“You’re pushing yourself beyond what you feel is comfortable, which means you’re gonna have chapters of discomfort or feeling like, ‘I’m not really sure if I’m there yet. And sometimes that’s true. Sometimes you’re not there yet. It’s good to tune into that because then you know where you should be focusing to improve.” In…

Tara Magalski on Founding a Spirit-Led Community for Holistic Health

Hi, Tara! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: My name is Tara Magalski, and I am a wellness maven and the founder of Divine Lifestyles, and the DL Collective: a membership-style spirit-led community and online holistic health + healing resource center, an online sanctuary to experience a deeper state of alignment…

Tysheda Williams on Her Journey to Founding a Luxury Experience Company

Hi, Tysheda! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Tysheda Williams. With an unwavering passion for curating enchanting experiences, I’ve spent years cultivating memories that transcend borders. From exploring the historic wonders of Europe to immersing myself in the vibrant cultures of Asia, the opulence of Dubai, and countless more…

Mayra Gomez-Sanchez on Her BIPOC Copywriting and Marketing Company

Hi, Mayra! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hello everyone, I’m Mayra (my-rah) Founder and CEO of Cultural Visionaries – a copywriting and marketing strategy and a Latina-run company. I write for BIPOC business owners—and anyone who shares my values and vision—wanting to create a meaningful impact on other people’s lives.…

Making a Marketing Impact with Lindsey Breitwieser

“We don’t have to do a million things, we just have to do the right things. We often feel like ‘I don’t have a big budget to spend on ads and that’s why I’m not successful.’ We’re chasing all of these different marketing tactics… In truth, we don’t actually need to be doing that much.”…

Kwandaa Roberts Shares Her Success Story Making Modern Dollhouses

Hi, Kwandaa! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Kwandaa Roberts, an OB/GYN and interior designer who sells high-style, modern dollhouses called Tiny House Calls. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I have found networking with other women entrepreneurs to be one of the most important tools in…

Personalizing Maternal Wellness through One Tribe with Emilie Fritz Veloso

“Keep the momentum going. And that’s continuous meetings, continuous networking. And then set dates really set a, ‘We are looking to raise this by this time,’ so that you give yourself a deadline, and you give the investors a deadline, and you can hold yourself to it.” In this episode of Entreprenista, we sat down…

Caitlin Murphy on Her Freight Firm and Passion for Philanthropy

Hi, Caitlin! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, my name is Caitlin Murphy and I am the Founder and CEO of Global Gateway Logistics, a global freight forwarding firm. My firm optimizes and simplifies the global shipping process. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? It can be…

Tabitha DeSeranno on Discovering Her Passion and Launching a Branding Company

Hi, Tabitha! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi, I’m Tabitha, the creative force behind Vivid Pixel Studio, where I blend strategy, design, and storytelling to craft impactful online presences for passionate service providers. I specialize in creating bespoke websites, impactful brands, and tailored marketing strategies to help service-based businesses not…

Transforming Your Mindset Through Hypnosis & NLP with Billé Frazier

“You know, it hurts. Nobody likes rejection and somebody didn’t like you—whether it be in a relationship or in a job. But you have to figure out how to get up and dust yourself off and make it work. And that’s a large part of what I try to impart to my clients, too, when…

Dr. Christina Jerger Shares About Her Femininity Coaching Business

Hi, Christina! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Dr. Christina and the CEO and Founder of femsaloud based in Los Angeles, CA. I offer luxurious femininity coaching for female entrepreneurs, executives, and celebrities. With LA’s #1 VIP femininity makeover I make elite women irresistibly feminine and thriving in life. Whether…

Creating a Meal-Kit Revolution with Ooshma Garg

“[You’re] spending money and growing not at a sustainable pace, but at this hyper-accelerated pace in order to rapidly take up market share and drown out competitors. When you keep raising money to do that, you keep giving more and more people big chunks of your business. The only way it works is if you…

Marine Turned Chef Joanne Thomas Shares About Her Cooking Career and Business

Hi, Joanne! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hi! I’m Chef Joanne Thomas, a world-renowned culinary artist known for exceptional skills, creative flair, and dedication to the art of cooking. With a career spanning decades, I’ve curated a collection of custom-blended spices, gourmet butters, and other culinary delights that cater to…

Joanie French On Her Business That Creates Unforgettable Experiences Through Nature

Hi, Joanie! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hey there! I’m Joanie, the creative mind behind Harmony Escape Experiences. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I’m passionate about crafting unforgettable moments through personalized events. As an Office Administrator by day and an aspiring entrepreneur always, I’m on a mission to create harmonious and…