Olga Litvinenko feature

Lola & Leone Perfume – A Q&A with Founder Olga Litvinenko

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Olga Litvinenko was born in Kiev, Ukraine and moved to the U.S. with her family when she was three-years-old. Raised in Greenwich, CT and though an athlete in high school, Olga was no longer able to participate in sports after an injury and decided to compete in a pageant. At 17 years old she won the Miss CT Teen USA 2007 title, and her love for the beauty, fragrance and fashion industry flourished as she prepared for the Miss Teen USA competition on live telecast. After obtaining her B.S. in Finance & Marketing from Syracuse University in 2012, she started to compete in pageantry again and was crowned Miss CT USA 2017 and then named a top 18 Finalist at the Miss Ukraine Universe pageant in 2018. Olga has now dedicated herself fully to Lola & Leone and feels it is a privilege to be able to share this fresh, clean and sophisticated scent with the rest of the world.

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Olga Litvinenko (Photo Credit – Lola & Leone Perfume) COPYRIGHT CLEARED (3)

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1. When and how did you first realize that you wanted to work in the industry and business you are in?

Subconsciously it was probably when I took my mother’s crimson lipstick from her dresser and decided to paint the walls with it while dousing myself in her perfume as an elementary school girl. I then bought my first perfume with my mom when I was in middle school, loved how it made me feel and that I could express myself through scent. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I experienced a sports injury, which led to my participating in and subsequently winning Miss Connecticut Teen USA 2007. From then on, I have been immersed in the beauty, fragrance, and fashion industries. I was later crowned Miss Connecticut USA 2017 and recently became a top 18 finalist at the Miss Ukraine Universe 2018 competition representing my native city, Kiev.

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2. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?

I’ve had people tell me that they can sense that I’ve been in a room or have recently walked by because the essence of Lola & Leone was lingering in the air. One of my first customers was a complete stranger who walked past me in Bâoli Miami and became enchanted by the scent. It’s spontaneous moments such as these that give me joy in sharing Lola & Leone with the world and motivate me to continue my work.

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3. What is a typical day like for you? And what do you like to do on a day off?

No two days are the same, but the one consistency I do maintain is breakfast: a dairy-free cup of coffee with a double espresso, three eggs scrambled or hard-boiled, with toast or a smoothie. Some days I’m focused on sales, on and off the phone with various vendors and working with my team to introduce the Lola & Leone brand to new markets. Recently, we did a minute-long commercial that took the entire day to shoot, with planning that began weeks in advance. I graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance & Marketing, so perhaps that is why I place a strong emphasis on statistical research before I prepare email blasts or work with publications on upcoming advertisements. I’m constantly thinking of innovative ways to promote the brand and fragrance. Other days I may be focused on logistics; Lola & Leone has a fulfillment center now, but previously you could expect a hand delivered product from the founder herself! I’m currently in Kiev, Ukraine and today was our official, exclusive entry into the market through a partnership with The Fairmont Hotel; we placed the Lola & Leone product in their spa. I’m excited to be working with such a great group and have them be the first (of hopefully many!) to carry the Lola & Leone brand internationally.

When I have some time to off I love to read, watch movies, attend live performances, listen to music, play tennis, shoot hoops, play with my dog, and spend time with family and friends.

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4. What is the next big thing in your industry? What are people doing differently today, compared to 10-15 years ago?

I’m not one to predict the future for what will be the next big thing in my industry but I think there will be a more accessible way to scent sample and educate consumers on fragrance products. Right now, companies like Scentbird are helping with this, but it requires people to sign up and pay for the service. Going to a retail counter and asking for a sample is the free and traditional route of obtaining a sample, however it requires your time in exchange for the cost. Though I wasn’t working in the industry 15 years ago, social media influencers, advertising on social media platforms, and cultivating an online presence has become a crucial component to all brands in all industries – including mine.

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5. What are your three favorite restaurants in New York?

a. Il Mulino (Upper East Side) for fish & light meats;
b. Marea for pasta; and
c. Indochine for spice.

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Olga Litvinenko (Photo Credit – Lola & Leone Perfume) COPYRIGHT CLEARED (4)

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6. What are your three favorite bars in New York?

a. Rose Bar;
b. Nomad Bar; and
c. Bar at the Baccarat Hotel.

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7. What are your three favorite locations to visit in New York?

a. The Frick Museum;
b. Central Park; and
c. Bergdorf Goodman because of their beauty and fragrance sections… and conveniently located next to #2!

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8. Which three events on your annual calendar will you will absolutely not miss?

a. New York Fashion Week;
b. Russian New Year; and
c. The Oscars.

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9. What was your best New York moment? Your worst?

My best New York moment was . . . where do I begin? Going to my first Opera, Don Giovanni.

My worst New York moment was leaving my purse in the backseat of a taxi and never getting it back. I’ve always had faith in New Yorkers but lost some in that moment.

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10. Tell us something that people do not know about you. (And you cannot say it is a secret!)

Most people don’t know that I’m a hopeless romantic.

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Olga Litvinenko (Photo Credit – Lola & Leone Perfume) COPYRIGHT CLEARED

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11. How would you describe your personal style?

Comfortable and unique.

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12. Who is your style icon? Where do you find your style inspiration?

I find my style inspiration in my travels. One day I’m in New York City where silky chic fabrics flow on the streets paired with 4” heels, another day I’m in Greenwich, Connecticut where flip flops are worn to accent a Vineyard Vines polo, and then I find myself in Kiev, Ukraine where colorful skirts are matched with bold lip stains and accessories of feathers, roses, and more.

My style icons include Sofia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Brigitte Bardot, to name a few.

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13. Who is your favorite Fashion Designer, Artist, or Architect – and why?

I love art, and Seurat in particular as I studied his work when I was living in Madrid, Spain for half a year — I can get lost in his paintings for hours.

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14. Name your favorite… and tell us why:

a. Outfit. A dress with my Louboutin sneakers, a watch, and jewelry – it’s comfortable, emphasizes my femininity, and gives me the freedom to do what I need to do.

b. Perfume/Fragrance. Lola & Leone – it’s fresh, clean, and sophisticated.

c. Movie. The Pianist – A great story and performance by Adrien Brody.

d. TV show. I don’t watch too much TV, but when I do it’s usually the news – BBC, CNN, FOX, NBC, and EuroNews.

e. Book. Not sure about a favorite but I’ve been on a Robert Greene spree; I just finished Mastery after completing The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction.

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15. What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What is it you love about it and what is your favorite dish?

I don’t have an absolute favorite restaurant in the world. My most memorable meals have been simple, fresh seafood paired with a delectable wine at restaurants on islands off the coast of France and Spain that are only accessible by boat.

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Olga Litvinenko (Photo Credit – Lola & Leone Perfume) COPYRIGHT CLEARED (2)

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16. Name your favorite vacation spot and hotel? What makes these places so special?

Hôtel de Paris in Monaco. You never have to leave the hotel if you don’t want to as they have a spectacular spa, and if you do want to step out everything is easily accessible.

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17. Which three items can you not live without?

I cannot live without self-respect, a bottle of Lola & Leone, and my smartphone.

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18. What song, meditation or mantra can you listen to on repeat? And why?

I listen to Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way almost daily because the audiobook shares a wonderful perspective on how to manifest intentions while staying at peace with yourself and those around you.

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19. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you like to meet? And why?

I’d love to meet my grandmother, who I was named after, as she passed away during my mother’s pregnancy with me. My mother tells me I have certain characteristics of hers and that the one thing I can whip up in the kitchen, an apple pie, is an exact replica of how my grandmother used to make it. The first time I made apple pie for my mom, she cried . . . and she’s not a crier.

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20. Is there anything else you would like to share, discuss or promote?

Yes. Buy your one-of-a-kind bottle of Lola & Leone at www.lolaleone.com today! My team and I put a lot of effort into the creation of something very special, and it’s a privilege to be able to share it with the world.

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Images Courtesy of Olga Litvinenko and Lola & Leone Perfume

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