Celebrity Stylist, Olori Swank, Opens Up About New Book and Advice to Her 20-Something Self

Swank shares the importance of finding balance early in your career

(Image: Olori Swank)
(Image: Olori Swank)

Known for her electric blue hair and edgy style, Olori Swank has made a name for herself as one of today’s most sought after celebrity stylists.

With a roster that includes Keyshia Cole, Teyana Taylor, Lance Gross, T.I. and many more, Swank’s background as a former psychology major at the University of Georgia provides for a unique segway into the fashion industry.

Now with years of experience under her belt, the blue-haired fashionista is sharing key tips on entrepreneurship, friendship, finance and more in her new book, 101: The Blueprint for A Swank Life, in hopes of helping other women find success in their life and career.

[Related: My Brother’s Keeper: Beyoncé’s Stylist Shares Star-Studded Business Journey]

BlackEnterprise.com: Talk about the first experience you had that let you know you could actually have a career in styling.

Swank: I would say the first experience was my first styling job. I was just so amazed that I was getting paid to do something that I would have otherwise done for free. It was something I actually thought I was doing for free until I got hit with the accounting question. My first client was Asia Cruise and she was signed to Jive Records as a new artist.

Did you start out in the industry as an assistant to someone or were you always styling on your own?

For me, I wasn’t privileged enough to assist or intern with anyone. I was just thrown into it, so everything I know about styling and the business was pretty much from trial and error.

Talk about your new book and why you feel now is the right time to release it.

I think now is the best time because I’m at a point in my life where I have not really reached the pinnacle but I have put in enough work to where I have experienced a lot of things. I feel like it was best for me to write it now while it was fresh on my mind versus waiting until later in life and not being able to experience some of the smaller details of the average women’s experience when trying to be a girl boss.

With the experiences you have now, what business advice would you give your 20-something self?

The best piece of business advice I could give myself is learn the importance of balance. Over my career I burned myself out quite a few times. I’m used to constantly [be] going hard and always staying hungry and never being satisfied. I think taking a step back and having a balance will help you to realize what you want to do. I also think knowing that life is a marathon and not a sprint is really important.

As you’ve moved throughout the industry, are there any mentors who you’ve gained along the way?

My mentors are people who I have never actually met in real life. I say that because I like to watch really successful entrepreneurs. Mark Cuban is one of my favorites. I like Warren Buffet too. I just read about their stories and try to figure out how they got to where they are.

What’s the biggest takeaway you hope readers get from your book?

That it is ok to be yourself and it is ok to learn as you go. I think often times people think they should already know things and they are scared to fail. But it is ok to fail and mess up and get back up again.