INTERVIEW: Olivia from Don't Tell Summer

After the amazing RadLivin festival we hosted at COMMUNE in April, we had a chat to Olivia O'Connor, founder of Don't Tell Summer about her growing brand and event series.

How did Don't Tell Summer originate?

I grew up in Portland, Oregon and moved to California for University. While at Uni, I studied abroad in Sydney and fell in love with it, so after graduation, I moved here and have been here ever since! Don’t Tell Summer started in my small college town in Orange County, California. I kept going back and forth between Sydney and America and I kept missing summer. They felt like some of the best times of my life because I wasn’t waiting for anything; to be myself or to do what I would love to do. I took that lifestyle and mentality and launched Don't Tell Summer with the help of my housemates and it turned into a site that inspires you to do what you would love to do now, rather than waiting for the future. 

DTS has grown into a hat brand with a purpose and now puts on #RadLivin. 

You just held your second #RadLivin event at COMMUNE in March, what was your inspiration behind starting the festival?

I wanted a way to inspire and connect rad like-minded people to each other who want to do what they love now instead of waiting. This could be traveling the world, starting a business, or saying yes to something that’s in their heart. For years I’ve held #RadLivin features on Don’t Tell Summer where we interviewed young people who were doing what they love now, and how they got there. I wanted to take these interviews offline and bring them to life. My housemates and I would have house parties in California, and people would come from all walks of life wanted to live life to the fullest and be themselves. #RadLivin was launched as a conference but with a festival feel - having live music helps too!

What was it about working with COMMUNE and the space that aligned with the ideals of #RadLivin?

We loved that we could create #RadLivin to be exactly what we wanted it to be within the space. The space was a blank canvas, while having a rustic vibe that really fits what we’re about. The space was kind of ‘what you see is what you get’ and we liked that rawness. 

We also wanted a big enough space where people could mingle and have space for our partners (ING Direct Dreamstarter, G Adventures, Red Bull, Bonds) to be able to genuinely connect with attendees. 

What were some of the major highlights from the day?

The speakers were incredible! Across the board, they gave such good insight and advice. My favourite part was the incredible group of people there. Everyone wanted to do what they love and see the person next to them succeed. 

What is your process pulling together an event like this, and what do you look for when searching for speaker and performers?

It’s a long process. Most of the speakers have been interviewed for Don’t Tell Summer before we select them to speak. It’s important to know their stories and who they are as a person first. We pick people based on their stories, but more importantly because they are aligned with the event and believe in the purpose behind it. 

What do you think are the key ingredients for trying to pursue your dreams and passion projects and make them sustainable? 

Having passion is key. You need to be fuelled by your vision and it needs to excite you so much that you’re willing to dedicate your time and take action (even if it’s scary!). Having a clear vision of what you want to do is extremely necessary. Stay true to that vision, be open to something even better, and have a team of people around you who want you to succeed. Whether that’s literally a team that you work with or your friends and family. #RadLivin wouldn’t be possible without the incredible people behind it. 


What is on the horizon for Don’t Tell Summer and RadLivin?

We’re really excited to create more events and build #RadLivin in Australia and the States. We want to continue to live the lifestyle of Don't Tell Summer and inspire others to do what they would love to do now too. 

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