We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Hollaus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think that entrepreneurs have a natural inclination to take risks. After all, branching out on one’s own with no guarantee of financial success can be scary. However, for me, risk is inherently part of the journey. Looking back at those daunting decisions I had to take actually led me to many break out moments. For instance, if I hadn’t moved to Beijing to further my study of the Mandarin language, then my understanding of manufacturing may not have been as in-depth. Moreover, living overseas for 10 years in a foreign non-English speaking world gave me the confidence to tackle any issues that come my way… in essence, it taught me to be a problem-solver. When the going gets tough, I remind myself that the journey is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. We are meant to be where we are at present. These positive reminders help me deal with the risks that I take, both personally and professionally. If I started analyzing every single thing that could go sideways when I had the idea to create patented shoe inserts and start my own brand, Protect My Shoes, believe me I would have backed out of the venture. I started my business while being mom to a toddler, so I knew that having my own business would afford me flexible hours. However, the amount of capital invested in the company was a lot more than I had anticipated. But, I have absolutely NO regrets that I moved forward with my product idea. In fact, one of the things that I’m proudest of is taking that big leap into the unknown world of retail, private label and consumer goods. In order to gain, we have to give and that includes taking risks every now and then.
What should our readers know about your business?
My design philosophy is to produce everyday functional yet fashionable items. Coupled with a self-proclaimed shoe addiction, I founded Protect My Shoes, a patented line of handmade shoe inserts to replace the ineffective and wasteful tissue paper shoe stuffers. Since our launch in November of 2016, we’ve also added a collection of shoe bags, bridal shoe accessories, and gift-sets. We continue to develop new products, always keeping in mind stylish functionality. Perseverance, consistency, and conviction has gotten me to where I am today. It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t easy!!! I come across challenges in my business all the time, but when something amazing happens, the victory is that much sweeter. An important reminder is that most companies do not experience so-called ‘overnight success.’ I’ve learned so much about myself through my own entrepreneurial journey. For one, it’s made me so much more confident and it’s taught me to trust my own instincts. I’m not saving the world, but by helping women protect their beautiful shoes, they can in turn confidently conquer the world one heel at a time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live and work in Boca Raton, which means that all of South Florida is my backyard. It’s certainly a very fun place to visit. I would take my best friend to the following places, starting off with Miami going northbound:Miami – you need at least 2 days! Visit and take Instagram-worthy pics at Wynwood Wallsand lunch at Michael Genuine’s Food & Drink.Visit the grounds of stunning and historic Vizcaya, thenhead over to The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables for afternoon tea to live music.Grab a Happy Hour drink at Sugar at the East Hotel – a rooftop bar overlooking Brickell and the Miami skyline.Boat ride around Star Island – touristy, but still fun.Bal Harbour – a chill afternoon shopping at the Bal Harbour shops topped off with either a casual lunch or dinner there. Make sure to stop by the Roger Vivier boutique as it is the only one in Florida (that I know of) – beautiful classic women shoes and handbags. And also the Saks there has a fab shoe salon. Boca Raton- Start off at the Boca Raton Historical Society to tour this historic site in downtown Boca Raton. The staff and volunteers there are very knowledgeable about all things Boca Raton! Book a tour of the Boca Raton Resort & Club – this is an Addison Mizner landmark that is worth seeing. Lunch at Max’s Grille at Mizner Park. Visit the Morikami Museum – it’s a beautiful museum with Japanese-inspired gardens.Delray Beach – Once a sleepy town, but no longer! Beach day for sure plus ice cream at Proper Ice Cream – it’s worth all the calories.Happy Hour that leads into tapas at The Wine Room.Stroll down Atlantic Ave to peruse all the cute local boutiques.Take in a show at the Arts Garage. West Palm Beach – Lunch at Restoration Hardware Palm Beach.Stroll down Worth Avenue and enjoy an Aperol Spritz by the pool at The ColonyHotel. Visit the Flagler Museum and walk through the most beautiful gardens at the Society of the Four Arts.Dinner at St. Ambroeus or Buccan (always a hot spot).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This answer is easy… My shoutout goes to my MOM, Micheline Hollaus! She’s my biggest cheerleader – always there to encourage me, but she will also tell it like it is. I bounce off all my ideas with her. Aside from her great insights, I look up to her.