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Check Out Olivia Lo’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Lo.

Hi Olivia, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I have always been the creative type growing up. My mom taught me how to sew in second grade and since then, I fell in love with ways to adorn ourselves whether through fashion, jewelry or other accessories. I started making and selling jewelry and crocheted wear in high school. Eventually, I had to discontinue selling due to my busier schedule in college.

Throughout college, I always felt like a part of me was missing. I was no longer creating or crafting. As college was wrapping up, I knew I had to get back into what I loved. After I graduated, I started making and selling jewelry as a creative outlet. I took advantage of the summers that I have off as a Baltimore City school teacher to brand my jewelry and help others find everyday, high-quality, eco-friendly and handmade 14k gold-filled jewelry. Today, my jewelry brand, OPL Accessories, can be worn as an everyday piece, as a gift for friends, or a way to adorn yourself.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
As a Baltimore City teacher, I unfortunately cannot keep up my small business like how I normally do during the summers. This year was especially challenging as we shifted to online distance learning. I felt like I was working at all hours and it was difficult for me to compartmentalize work, home, my hobbies, and self-care. As the school year is wrapping up, I am very excited to dive back into my love for jewelry making!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a Baltimore City elementary school ESOL teacher, meaning that I teach English to speakers of other languages when I am not making jewelry. I became interested in teaching ESOL after I spent a year after college teaching English in Spain. Related, I also grew up as an English language learner. My parents are Hmong refugees from Laos, so Hmong was a language that we frequently spoke while at home. Unfortunately, while I can still understand the language, I have lost most of my ability to speak it. My goal as an ESOL teacher is to help students take pride in their home languages and grow in both their first and second languages. I have always loved teaching and in particular, I found that teaching ESOL was a way I could help students grow and develop a love for learning. I am always learning just as much from my students as they are from me. Our constant smiles, laughs, and jokes make me love my job and I love my students!

What are your plans for the future?
It is difficult to bring art into the classroom while also keeping our curriculum in mind. However, in the future, I would love to work on more arts and crafts projects with my students. During my time teaching, I have found that many students struggle to fit creativity into their school work. Many need this type of creative outlet. Next year, I would love to introduce more crafts and art into my students’ school lives.

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