We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenzie Olds and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenzie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I worked in the photo and film industry for years before finally deciding to start my own business and become a freelance stylist full time, like a lot of creatives I found that the entrepreneurial life suited me a lot better than a more structured 9-5 job. Don’t get me wrong, it was terrifying at the beginning and even still has its moments (queue being self employed during a worldwide pandemic) but it has been leaps and bounds the most rewarding and growth filled move I could have ever made. I initially decided to start my own business for a few key reasons: since a majority of our lives are spent doing whatever it is we invest in career wise I wanted mine to be something I was really immersed and in love with, so I figured I should hone in on what that is, which ended up being one of the biggest factors for starting my own business because I realized that there was a huge a gap in the market for stylists who were being ethical with their wardrobe sourcing while still creating high end looks. In addition to that I knew I wasn’t crazy about only having the opportunity to bring other peoples visions to life, I wanted more say and control of what I was doing creatively, what I could wear to work (as a fashion enthusiast wearing all black to set every day began to feel stifling), and most importantly I wanted more control over my hours and income. The sense of power I have over my own life and career feels endless since I’ve started working for myself. I’ve come to learn that no one can take care of me the way I can, no one will ever have your highest interest in mind like you will. Being my own business owner has helped me become so much happier now that I have full control over who I work with, how I ethically get things done, and by being able to take on jobs / collaborations with people who are equally passionate about their work. If you are thinking about taking the leap, please do it, I promise you will never regret trying. It’s taught me so much about self worth, how to negotiate, how to pivot and keep on my toes, a hell of a lot of discipline, and more importantly that if you’re willing to put in the work there are plenty of opportunities waiting out there for you, sometimes it just takes you diving in head first!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a fashion stylist and makeup artist, I’ve been dressing up friends and family ever since I was little and was notorious for my habit of dramatically having multiple outfit changes each day… so ending up in the fashion industry has always felt appropriate! I firmly believe everyone has a niche talent and when you find it and you should cater to it! I’m a LA girl with Seattle roots so for me my niche came from the epiphany that I was in love with an industry that is notorious for harming the environment. That being said, there is was also a clear stigma around what earth conscious sourced clothes look like, I was seeing a hole in the market for stylists who cater to editorial fashion without making a huge impact on the planet or clients pockets, so since I wasn’t seeing it anywhere I decided to create it myself within my business. Like the path of most entrepreneur’s it’s been a lot of work to get where I am and I don’t think the work will ever quite stop to be honest but that’s the beauty of it, I can always be learning and improving my craft. Depending on the day my job has ranged from feeling like feeling second nature to feeling utterly impossible, but I think that’s just something that comes with the territory of being human. Like a lot of things in life my career has taken tons of consistency, trial and error, and countless falls and even more getting back ups, but the pay off of it all is so rewarding in the long haul I wouldn’t have it any other way. While the challenges shift with each project or year it’s always fun when you catch glimpses of how far you’ve come, those things that once felt impossible have become second nature and before you know it you realize somewhere the shift happened from faking it to making it – as much as I hate that saying it holds a lot of truth!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I like to cater my LA itinerary to my visitors (a tactic I do to try to sway my favorite out of town people to move closer to me, in all honesty). If it’s solely up to me however I always make it a point to be outside or have a full on picnic beach day I usually end up somewhere in Malibu after a good hike in the canyon or down at Dockweiler so we can have a bon fire, either way I love to make a day of it. When it comes to food I love to take people to Night + Market for some killer Thai food, The French Market Cafe near Abbot Kinney or OP Cafe for the BEST brunch, The Blind Barber for the best grilled cheese, or I’ll make it a point to drive literally anywhere in the city for some Lettuce Feast because even my non vegan friends are obsessed with it! I’m also a big sucker for entertainment and drinks so places like Beetle House LA, No Vacancy, and Black Rabbit Rose are a fun thing to show people. There are so many great things to check out in this city I need to stop myself from rambling on!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Huge shoutout to Entrepreneur + Photographer Morgan English Oncley and Producer Celeste Olds for being rocks in my life. It’s a game changer to have someone in your life that is always pushing you, rooting for you, and doing whatever is in their power to help lift you up and step in to help when needed while still giving honest and reliable feedback and those two have always been just that for me. Also a big shoutout to Photographer Sue Bryce and her A-team at Sue Bryce Education for creating an environment to continuously encourage creatives and her own team that there is enough room for everyone to be successful. Her support has helped me grow so much both as an individual and as a creative business owner and has introduced me to some of the most talented and kind hearted people in the industry.
Photos by Sue Bryce, Gerson Lopes for Cait Campaign, Daryl Magdangal, Dayron Vera, & Lara Jade.