Influencer / House of White
Talk about a Type A personality: Olivia White not only runs the super successful parenting, fashion and lifestyle blog, House of White, she also creates marketing strategies for clients, writes, and collaborates with amazing brands and is a mother and wife (exhausted? Me too).
What makes this #careerstory so remarkable is Olivia’s brutal honesty.
When you read this interview, take notice of the themes, the journey taken and the NOW. Take joy in reading about her life at high school, because it in no way reflects the ‘Influencer Boss’ that Olivia was to become.
She is real, uncandid and very much the inspirational start that I wanted for 2018. In the current world, we live in, it’s never been more important to realise that we… really… can do anything.
Olivia, welcome to The Cool Career, can you tell us where you grew up, and how your experience shaped the career that you are in today?
Sure thing! Well growing up it was just my mum and I, and we lived for most of my childhood with my grandparents. I came from a working-class family, heavily involved in industrial relations. I remember when I was younger that my mum worked really hard to provide any and all opportunity for me that she could. Even though we had little money, my mum would make sure I had a life rich with experiences, both little and big!
Seeing my mum work so hard to provide a life for me really instilled that work ethic in me, and gave me a lust to create opportunity wherever I could. Nothing is beneath me and I will do what I have to create a better life for myself and for my family.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I moved around a lot, six high schools in total. Having moved from a small primary school in the Dandenongs to the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s inner suburbs I think I got a little immersed and perhaps fell in with the wrong crowds. My mum at one stage sent me to live with my aunt in Year 9 (the real terror year) in rural Victoria and quickly realised it didn’t matter where I was, I could find trouble.
While in my “shitful teenager” stage I dropped out for a term. My mum told me the rules were I was learning or earning so I got a job. I effing hated it, I worked in retail which will make anyone get back to school.
Eventually, I finished my VCE at Essendon Keilor College. To be honest, high school wasn’t the greatest experience for me. I think I struggled immensely with my identity, tried too hard to fit in, and be something I wasn’t and completely lost my sense of self at one stage. It wasn’t about getting a good ENTER score but more just fucking surviving high school.
I think we can all totally relate to the “Survival” aspect of high school. Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Nope. Just gonna tell it bluntly. I realised later in life that for me it was really an exercise of working out what I didn’t want to do before I found what I wanted to do.
I’ve worked dozens of jobs, attempted many tertiary qualifications, and it’s just been trial and error. You get so caught up on thinking you HAVE to know what you want to do but i’m 28 now and I still don’t know, I’m just okay with that now!
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I did a gig with Country Racing Victoria just after school but not during. It wasn’t actually a big thing when I was in school.
But there really is no experience like being in the thick of things! That being said I think the internships need to be relevant and give you real-world experience and not just have you punching holes and fetching coffee!
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
Bahahaha Oh gosh, where do I start. Well, I thought I wanted to be a Primary School teacher, did one term and realised that was not for me!
I then applied for division two nursing in a hope to then go onto division one and then realised I hate blood so that was a no-no! Finally, I found a passion for public relations and marketing and started a diploma and RMIT. I finished that and moved to Professional Communication at Monash University. I absolutely loved it and this is when I got the gig with Country Racing Victoria as their fashion blogger. This was my first taste of the digital sphere and blogging and I guess the rest is history!
What an incredible journey. Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
To be honest I was only 23 when I fell pregnant so I hadn’t exactly got my foothold in the door with my career. I studied and also worked part-time for fashion designer, Bettina Liano. I got a little insight into the marketing space there and of course with my role as the fashion blogger at Country Racing Victoria but other than that I was green. I have however always had a thing for tech and always been an early adopter of social media. When I was younger I taught myself HTML and would make websites about Buffy The Vampire Slayer hahahaha.
When Instagram began in 2011 I was right on it and one of the first of my friends to start an account. When I had Annabelle in 2013 I decided to start a little hobby blog while on mat leave I started posting images and created a blog and off I went! In that time I was working as a marketing manager for a small business but they were unable to keep me on. So when that ended I decided to throw myself into the blog and see if I could turn it from hobby to business and three years later, here I am!
I love it that you were creating websites about Buffy The Vampire Slayer. haha! Ok, so lets head to present day. How did you get the job that you are in now?
Well I created it! My blog House of White has become my full-time job. From that, I’ve also started consulting for brands on their influencer strategy. So I now work for myself – it’s amazing!
I love House of White, it’s such a beacon of info. What is the hardest part running it?
That it’s 24/7. It’s just me so if it doesn’t get done it’s on me. But that’s also the most rewarding part of my job!
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
Well, I juggle a house, husband, two kids and blog most days. I have begun to work an office day when the girls are in daycare where I sit at a desk and basically work a 9-5 day and get as much work as I can done, but a lot of it is late nights, early mornings and meetings taken with screaming kids in the background.
We also have some amazing opportunities so from time to time we have events, travel experiences and media opportunities which is pretty cool.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
My mum! 110% she is and always will be my biggest inspiration and the only other person whose opinion matters to me! she worked so hard to give me this life and I will not let her down!
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
If this is your passion, then go for it. Take the leap, believe in yourself and just do it.
But realise it’s hard work, like anything else in life!
It doesn’t get handed to you, you can’t fake it or pretend, you need to be prepared to do the hard yards.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration:
- Favourite Websites: Not so much websites but I’m a huge YouTube watcher. I love Casey Neistat, Nerdist, TWiT with Leo Laporte, Ted Talks etc
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: I recently followed and met Clair Hill (@clairhillcoaching_) who’s daily affirmations and mantras are music to my ears.
- Favourite Podcast: Mums with Hustle is great, otherwise I listen to all crime podcasts haha
- Favourite Netflix Series: Oooo I have so many but cannot go past The Sinner ATM.
- Favourite all time book/s: The life changing magic of not giving a fuck is my current favourite but of all time its always gonna be the Harry Potter series. SO MANY VALUABLE LESSONS!
- People: My mum, my good friend Nicola Dore whom I also see as my mentor – we met when I was starting out and she’d had my back from day 1!
- Others: I believe there isn’t a person on this earth you cannot learn from, whether its wise words, learning from someone else’s mistakes or seeing someone and thinking “that’s what I DON’T want to be” you can take something from everyone – never think you’re above ANYONE!