On Pursuing A Fulfilled Life: Maria Oliveira
Leading up to our Summer '18 iteration of WORK, we'll feature select interviews with some of our conference's speakers and thought leaders. In this piece, Maria Oliveira discusses launching her PASSPORT shoe line and balancing her political and entrepreneurial interests. Oliveira will be speaking on our panel about stress and success management. Click here for the full conference schedule.
Who: Maria Oliveira (panelist) is the co-owner of Passport Vintage, a local vintage shop that focuses on vintage denim. Passport has been featured in W Magazine, Refinery29 and NY Mag’s The Cut. Maria is also a volunteer with Jolt Texas.
What she's currently working on: "Professionally I am working on developing a shoe line for PASSPORT which I am super excited about! Besides that, I am always looking to learn, grow and expand within my role of E-Commerce and Marketing Manager at PASSPORT, a business I co-own. Personally, I am looking forward to my new role as Board Member of Our Revolution Texas representing Jolt, a nonprofit organization based in Texas focused on growing the power and influence of Latinos civically. I am really looking forward to the mid-term elections and conducting research to release my now third Voter's Guide. I always have several projects going at once, so I would encourage anyone who is interested to follow me on my personal Instagram @Maria4Congress."
How would you describe your work / career path?
I have always known in my bones that I was meant to be an entrepreneur. I started my career at American Apparel, where I worked my way up from sales associate to district manager over a period of seven years. I learned to love retail, and thankfully because everything was made in the USA and the company was vertically integrated, I got to learn so much about manufacturing, inventory control, customer service and marketing. I left to pursue my dream of being an entrepreneur, and I started selling vintage on Etsy which eventually lead to PASSPORT. My biggest balancing act now is managing and growing PASSPORT while pursuing my other interests simultaneously and trying to be effective in all sectors of my life.
How do you approach concepts of "work/life balance?" Does that concept mean anything to you?
Balance seems really hard to achieve. I strive for work/life harmony, which is a concept I got from a Youtube interview I watched Lisa Nichols give. Since I am in the building stage of my business I have just accepted that the intense focus I put on my career will come at the cost of other parts of my life. I am not saying this is right or wrong—it is what it is for me right now. I am really passionate about my work with PASSPORT and everything else I am involved with, especially politically, and I just don't see myself balancing that out too much. I am going on a trip to visit my best friend in the South of France in September so that will be a little break. I try to take four to five days off in a row, more if possible, every quarter to give me some life.
Could you describe a moment in your career in which you experienced growth? How do you approach that growth?
I definitely had to grow with the development of the PASSPORT shoe line. My initial shoemaker connected with me so easily and we hit the ground running with the PASSPORT mules. When he had to stop making shoes for a while, it completely devastated me. For almost a year, I tried to figure out what to do and it was very hard and depressing to research endlessly and just end up realizing that shoe manufacturing in the U.S. is almost nonexistent. It was a long process but the shoes are back. I approached that goal like I do with everything, which is to be patiently relentless. Sometimes you just have to keep pushing for a really long time before you get a breakthrough, but you have to keep believing it's something you truly want.
What are your routines and rituals of self-care?
I take a lot of alone time, I'm a true blue introvert so I need a lot of time to myself to re-charge. My best self-care is having quiet time to myself every morning and every night. Every morning I take some me time to drink a few cups of coffee—yes, I said a few—and give myself some time to get ready for my day. Every night I wind down by drinking a few cups of tea, I always have to have serval different kinds at once and do some reading and journaling. I am excessive with my coffee and tea.
About WORK: WORK is a biannual pop-up space, designed for sharing new ideas and approaches to creative and entrepreneurial work. The event's panels, workshops and speaker sessions explore personal and professional development, marketing, business management and entrepreneurship. Our next conference pops up on July 14 from 10 AM to 5 PM at Rowling Hall in Austin, Texas. ✨Click here for more information.