When Giving Back Meets Global Girl Power: Lh Interviews Olivela Founder Stacey Boyd
Love Happens correspondent Jasmín Nelson had the honor of interviewing charitable luxury e-commerce site Olivela founder Stacey Boyd. Read on to learn all about how Olivela came to life. How it supports the women’s empowerment movement. The future of the company and more!
You know the give-back movement is real when a charitable mission for women’s empowerment meets luxury fashion sustainability. Investing in clothing while supporting causes you care about makes for a pretty sweet transaction. Online shopping just got guilt-free. If you need a sign, this might be the green light to add to cart and raise awareness while doing it. Feel free to wear your heart and your favorite charity on your sleeve.
Lh Exclusive Interview with Stacey Boyd
Jasmin Nelson: Let’s start with the basics, tell me about the concept behind Olivela and how did it start?
Stacey Boyd: The idea for Olivela started when I was at a refugee camp with Malala Yousafzai. I had this incredible moment where I was taking pictures of Malala and this young group of women who were part of the distant learning programs. I realized two things: firstly, that talents are equally distributed but opportunity is not. And secondly, that just a fraction of the cost of the bag I was carrying could send a girl to a school for a year.
I don’t know how to describe that moment – but it’s one you can’t quite un-see once you’ve seen it. When I returned home, I talked to a number of top designer brands about creating a luxury platform where doing good goes into every purchase – and Olivela was born.
JN: From there, how did the idea for spotlighting charity partners like the Malala Fund and CARE come about?
Stacey Boyd: Before Olivela, I set up Schoola – a company that helps create fund programs for schools so that kids reach their full potential. Education is hugely important to me, and I think it’s the answer to poverty. So it was in that context that I met Malala – and you can’t meet Malala and not say I’m going to do everything in my power to help you.
We set up a fundraiser on the Schoola platform that raised several hundred thousand dollars for the Malala Fund and Malala then asked me to celebrate her 19th birthday with her and her father. But Malala doesn’t do a typical birthday celebration, instead, she visits places where girls are otherwise denied an education. In 2016 when I joined her, it was in Dadaab, Kenya and that was where the idea for Olivela was born. And from there, we brought in other causes, like CARE and Project Glimmer that all tie back to education.
JN: How important is the ethos of the brand? – The idea of the women’s empowerment campaign?
Stacey Boyd: It’s so important to us – giving back is at the heart of everything we do. We partner with organizations that are thoroughly committed to empowering women, particularly enabling young girls through education. We ensure that all of our cause partners committ to transparency and that it’s the children who receive the greatest benefit from donations.
JN: How does the brand set itself apart from the competitor and crowd next door?
Stacey Boyd: Olivela is unique – we are the ultimate philanthropic retail destination. For every purchase made, we donate 20% of the proceeds to our cause partners. This means that the Olivela customer has depth and impact when she is shopping – providing schooling and opportunities to young women, simply by purchasing what she loves.
JN: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since the creation of Olivela?
SB: It’s all been a great journey, and incredibly exciting. Where we have challenges, you just have to remind yourself of the amazing impact we’ve had so far and that we’ve managed to provide over 150,000 days of school for young women.
JN: What excites you most about the brand?
SB: We are beyond excited for the future. Our customers and brands make such an incredible and positive impact on the world and we’re only just starting!
JN: What’s next for Olivela? We’d love to hear what’s in the pipeline!
SB: We’ve opened stores in Nantucket and Aspen, and plan to open more boutiques and pop-ups this quarter. We are also excited about extending Olivela with more brands and categories, including home and menswear, and of course, evolving the cause partnerships.
JN: What’s the long term direction of the brand?
SB: Our aim is to fulfill our promise to make Olivela the ultimate philanthropic retail destination.
JN: How are designers receiving the brand?
SB: The world we live in today – everyone wants to be a part of the solution, including brands – particularly those in the luxury sphere that really believe in the notion of philanthropy. When I started Olivela, every brand I approached said yes and I think the focus of girls’ education is especially compelling to them. You can buy the same products on other sites, but with every purchase at Olivela you can help send a girl to school – so I think that’s the real draw with brands, and consumers.
JN: Any non-luxury brands on the cards for the future?
SB: Yes, we are focusing our assortment on both luxury designer and some of the most unique contemporary fashion-forward brands. We continue to explore and discover new brands each and every week that get us and our customers excited. We always have something new to buy.
JN: Why do you think the fashion industry should give back?
SB: The world is becoming more conscious, so it feels like a necessary step for brands to take to keep up with today’s consumer, their needs and how we evolve. It’s telling that when we first initiated these conversations with designers, such as Valentino and Stella McCartney, they immediately said yes. With Olivela, we’ve made it as simple as possible so that it feels like a low-level lift for designers to make an impact.
About the Author:
Jasmín (Jazzy) Nelson is a true “Jazzy” of all trades. This multifaceted mom boss keeps busy as a journalist, an independent paralegal, Life Coach, photographer, and Juris Doctorate candidate. When she finds free time, you’ll most likely spot her doing yoga and catching good vibes at the beach with her son in beautiful California.