I first met Olivia O’Connor a few years back when she joined the team at L&A Social fresh out of California. Staying true to the L&A Social hiring policy, Olivia has that infectious positivity and entrepreneurial spirit that draws the best out of those around her.
Olivia’s lifestyle blog DontTellSummer has gained an impressive following, spawned into a clothing business, and now presents inspiring conferences/festivals.
On the eve of DontTellSummer’s unique debut event #RadLivin, Olivia sat down to share her story in another Innovate or Die exclusive.
What is DontTellSummer and what inspired you to start it?
I had been going between Sydney and California for a couple years through college and kept missing Summer because of the different seasons. They were the best “Summers” of my life.
I knew that once I graduated I wanted to move back to Sydney, so I grabbed a friend who was keen and we moved!
I finally felt like I wasn’t waiting for anything to do what I love. I felt like I could be myself and do what excites me now.
Where did the name DontTellSummer come from?
DontTellSummer was what I called the lifestyle I was describing.
It means you don’t need to wait; you can do what’s in your heart now.
What are you doing that is different and innovative?
Taking the health and wellness arena and making it digestible for our generation.
We love fun, living in the moment and connecting with friends. We like to feel inspired but in a way that’s genuine and down-to-earth.
How do you go about raising awareness and attracting people to the brand?
Social media, word of mouth and acknowledging that these things take time.
DontTellSummer began over four years ago. It’s been slowly growing and if you’re patient and passionate about your message, you can succeed.
This week DontTellSummer is about to launch your first event, #RadLivin. What is #RadLivin all about, and what inspired you to create it?
It’s a mix between a fun, inspiring conference and a laid-back festival. The whole purpose is to inspire you to do what you love now. It’s about rad people coming together to follow their dreams, while encouraging the person next to them to do the same; building not only a community of adventurous, like-minded people, but a community of advocates for doing what you love.
There will be food, bevs and a space to learn from speakers who are out there doing what they love, coming together to give you applicable knowledge on how you can do the same.
Some of the speakers include the founders of Pedestrian TV, Cait Miers, OneWave, One Night Stand Sleepwear and Tidal Magazine just to name a few.
After the speakers there will be live music from Ziggy Alberts and Sons of the East. It’s going to be an epic day.
As far as inspiration behind it, it was a matter of sitting down and asking ourselves what we love. We came up with festivals, fun, living in the moment and inspiring young people who are doing what they love.
Whenever we hear a story of a young person doing what they love now, we’re immediately inspired and feel like we could do the same. A couple years ago I started doing “Rad Livin” features on the blog and then after speaking with a few close friends who have worked in events for years, it felt like a natural thing for us to give events a go.
You’ve managed to attract some incredible global brands to support #RadLivin, how did you pitch the idea to get them on board?
It’s about finding the right fit before ever contacting them. You have to know how patterning up with a brand will be beneficial for all involved – the brand, you, the attendees etc.
Brands like Contiki, Airbnb and ING Dreamstarter have been favorites of ours for a while and so it’s been cool to see how they’ve come on board. If this is your first event, it’s also about working with the right people who may have done something similar before or could help guide you.
You were a cheerleader through high school / college. What has that experience taught you about life and work?
I think I learned how to work with fear at a young age. I would be tossed high up and have to rely on others or myself for a smooth landing.
Not to mention, I had to perform in front of thousands of people every single weekend – that can be quite daunting.
I like trying new things and pushing myself to go for things that might seem a bit out of reach, which I think cheerleading helped with.
What’s next for DontTellSummer?
Right now, we’re really focused on this first event. Ultimately it’s about building up that community of rad people who want to do what they love, while encouraging the person next to them to do the same.
Finally, what is one piece of advice you’d give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Talk to those who are where you want to be or who have done something similar. As soon as you speak to someone who has done something to similar to where you want to go, it makes it seem way less daunting and possible for you to do now.
Lastly, there will never be the perfect time. If a dream is sitting in your heart, it’s worth your attention, ideas and patience.