Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak • Rachel Zoe
Meet Minnette Oliver.
Entrepreneur. Stylist. Designer. Influencer.
Minnette not only built a massively influential following on Social Media, but has translated her social privy into a hugely successful brand collaboration by making her design debut for trend-setting local active wear label SweatGear.
Here’s a very special peek into the mind of Minnette – hands-down one of the most stylish women in Bloemfontein (and beyond).
Fashion stylist, blogger.
So, what’s your story?
Where were you born?
Where did you go to school?
Where and what did you study?
Consumer Science, University of the Free State and also did a course in image consulting in Australia that jump started my career.
What was your childhood dream?
To work in clothing, fashion and make-up.
What was your first job?
I worked as a floor salesperson at Queenspark.
Advice that shaped your career?
Start small. Don’t live beyond your means. Growing pains in business never end.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Only, a very strong, and very black coffee. Which my husband makes. I literally cannot wake up if he is not home to make it for me. #statesecret
What motivates you?
I find absolute fulfilment in persuing what I am passionate about. Converting my passion into a job or career and then converting that into sales or monetary reward, is what keeps me going.
I also find motivation in creating something out of nothing. Once I decide to go for a challenge, I put 110% into that and grab the opportunity with both hands.
How do you spend your down time?
What is that? My two tinies don’t allow any… currently…
What does success look like to you?
Success is to be content with your life the way it is. If you want make a specific amount of money, and achieve that, then you are successful. If you are a stay-at-home mom, who dedicates all her time to raising strong, independent, confident kids, and achieve that, you are successful.
What sets you apart as a influential stylist?
I try to be authentic. Staying true to who I am, what I like, what I do, instead of putting on a show for social media. I think people can very quickly see if you try too hard to gain attention, or take photo’s just to post it, or wear certain outfits just to post it – living the Instagram life.
I try to be real by posting about real life. Long days spent with my tinies, but also combined with cool finds, (whether it be home, fashion or kids fashion,) and outfit combinations so that other ladies may find creativity and inspiration in their own wardrobes.
What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt in your career thus far?
- Persistence is key.
- Don’t mind other people’s opinions.
- Be confident in your own decisions.
- Focus your time efficiently on a tangible end goal.
What makes a great stylist?
The best stylists are those who can interpret high end fashion into a wearable look, which is both functional and comfortable. Good stylists can discern between trends to adapt and make their own. They do not follow fashion like a slave.
Give me 3 words that describes you best?
What are your 3 biggest accomplishments in your career thus far?
The South African Image Company
My first self appointed challenge I set for myself, was to become the best image consultant in South Africa, and make image consulting and styling a full time career. That career and business started out in 2007, when image consulting was still very under the radar.
I loved the challenge of educating people about image consultants and their jobs, doing a client’s wardrobe over from start to finish, shop for them, change their hair and make-up and train others to become image consultants. That business I started grew into a company called The South African Image Company. During the time that I was CEO and founder, I consulted with clients such as Miss South Africa, numerous celebrities, featured on radio and TV, wrote for magazines such as Cosmopolitan, spoke to over 6000 people and trained up more than 200 image consultants. I worked nationally and internationally as a stylist and image consultant.
When I felt like I reached a platau, 10 years into it, I had my first child and sold the company so that the next owner can take it to new levels.
We Wear What
The next challenge I set for myself was the day that I created my Facebook Page called We Wear What.
At that time it was called, What I’m Wearing. With 3 followers, I started posting outfits of my daily looks, and soon the page reached 5000 followers.
I then realised this is a platform which in the future could hold plenty of potential and I felt an urge to see how big I can grow it. I’m still in the process of building this more recently established brand but in the past few years the simple facebook page expanded to an instagram profile, a blog, an online shop, and a platform which companies or brands can use to advertise and gain exposure.
SweatGear designed by Minnette
I am constantly searching for unique, high-quality, trendy products that I can stock on my online shop. This is how I came across SweatGear activewear, an established company whom I have now collaborated with to launch my own range within their company, SweatGear designed by Minnette.
Another local brand featuring on my shop is DryBone Official, speciailising in hand-made leather jackets.
I wish I could tell my 22-year-old self:
Party more, work less. I have always had good work ethic and started my first company when I was 20. So at that time, I skipped the student life pretty much alltogther.
Your hidden talent:
No-one seems to know that I have a grade 7 Unisa in piano and I still love playing if I get time.
What other stylists and influencers do you look up to?
- Anine Bing. She started her own clothing line in her garage, and 7 years later she has flagship stores in London and New York.
- I also enjoy following Not-So-Mumsy. She is super stylish while showing her most raw moments of parenting.
What is one characteristic that you believe every entrepreneur should possess?
You have to be completely and undeniably resilient.
Absolutely nothing should phase you, fluster you, bring you down, break your confidence, crush your spirit or cease your determination. No-one else is going to motivate you, except for you.
What advice would you give someone starting their career in the fashion industry?
Hustle. Build connections. Work everywhere and do anything in the field that you are passionate about. Take many short courses, but most of all, hustle.
Within the fashion industry ,you don’t walk into the ultimate career. You start at the bottom, do a million different things, try everything. That’s how you build a portfolio and these small efforts may guide you to where you eventually end up.
What role does Social Media play in your business?
Social Media is my business!
It is the platform I use to drive feet to my online store, and also a platform other companies use to advertise on my profile.
Social Media is extremely powerful. It takes time to build a trustworthy reputation on social media, one where the followers trust what you say is truth.
- Colour: Black.
- Food: Pizza.
- Drink: Jameson.
- Band: Maroon 5.
- Brand: Always shopping at Zara, Witchery and Country Road.
- Happy place: Wherever my mind is at rest.
- Car: Always something else with my husband trading in the industry
- The Influencer by Jeani Meyer for Hello Smart Blog
- Minnette Oliver for Hello Smart Blog
Minnette is wearing:
- Jacket and T-shirt by Drybone Co available on the We Wear What shop.
- 5 Disc necklace available on the We Wear What shop.
- Pants: Zara
- Shoes: Anine Bing
- FJ Potgieter for Eye Poetry Photography
- Bloemfontein Inner City hotspot Big Massive Studio