Small Business Q&A | Katie Galloway from O’livia

Name: Katie Galloway
Theme: Small Business Series
Personal Insta: @katieogalloway

When you applied for University, what were your initial career plans for life after?

I initially left school and went to Glasgow School of Art to do Jewellery and Silversmithing hoping to get a job designing my own jewellery.  However, after my first year I dropped out and changed my degree to Psychology in Dundee with no real view of where this would eventually take me. My hope was that my degree would open plenty of opportunities for the future, but until I could work out my “dream job” I decided that I wanted to go travelling once I graduate.

How have you found the University experience, so far? 

I enjoyed my year at art school because I learnt so much and had the chance to grow in a subject I loved. Since changing my degree, I haven’t enjoyed university as much, although the course is interesting, I’ve not been able to connect properly with the subject and now think that my first choice in Glasgow was better for me. I definitely believe university isn’t for everyone and I wish I had considered this more when I was applying, but I also wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made these choices.

Were there any hurdles you had to overcome getting to the point you’re at now?

I left art school because I was worried about how competitive it could be and didn’t want to ruin something I loved. This led to me making the bold decision to drop out of a course I loved, in a city I loved, to move onto something else I felt would look better on my CV to future employers. Ultimately, I worried about the judgement that can come from getting an art degree and the way people think this doesn’t count as a “real degree”, instead of pursuing this dream and learning more about the market.

How did you channel your emotions and experiences into your business (

I had the ideas to start O’livia for a long time but never got round to properly exploring them until lockdown. I’ve always loved the idea of having my own business, doing something creative and fun, that I wouldn’t get bored of. I realised I needed to shake this thought that starting a jewellery business was an unrealistic goal because it is something I enjoy! Lockdown gave me the time to get creative again and I never expected the response I’ve had so far.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at the start of University, knowing what you know now, what would you say? 

Don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing. It’s okay not knowing where you’ll be in 10 years. Just make sure you’re doing something you enjoy!

Do you have any advice to those who would want to go down a similar pathway of starting their own business?

Go for it! You should always make time for what makes you happy. Don’t make excuses for why it might not work because the response you’ll get will probably surprise you. Starting your own business could open so many new experiences, don’t dwell so much on what other people will think.

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