“Well Ms. Umpta, what do you think?” Olivia asked as her latest client came out of the dressing room.
“My, but it so modern, I will be the talk of the town!”
Olivia smiled modestly while admiring her own work. Her latest trend was fitted shrug jackets with a bit of lace on the sleeves for a feminine touch to complete the look. And of course the fabric for the jacket was made from the most luxurious of materials. The fashionable of Antiford and Titania came to Olivia not just for her ingenious fashions, but also because she seemed to be the only shop these days that could procure quality fabrics in such vibrant colors.
Olivia herself wore a ruffled blouse made of a fine cream silk and a high-waisted skirt which had a bell shape to it. The fashions that Olivia wore were often considered eccentric by her customers. But being an eccentric designer seemed to add to her popularity among certain fashionable circles.
As Ms. Umpta was Olivia’s last client of the day, she decided to close up shop. After locking the front door with a large brass key, she headed to her workroom to check on her assistant, Genevieve, and to sort which orders she needed to prioritize for the next day.
“How did Ms. Umpta like her new jacket?”
“She quite adored it, actually.”
She spent the next hour working on a few odds and ends before heading out. “I’m going to pick up our fabric order, how is the embroidery coming along?”
“I will finish it up tonight, tomorrow at the latest.”
Olivia had always had a knack for business, which she inherited from her father’s family. She had started her first business at the tender age of 11. It all began when she met Jake Boydman.
As a child, Olivia split her days between her mother, her father, and her grandmother. Her mother, a music teacher, taught her to play several instruments and the formal dances all proper young ladies should know. Olivia did not really enjoy these lessons, but did love hearing her mother play. Her father sometimes let her join him at the family factory, Adams Textile. He was the manager of the small factory, working with his brothers to produce fabric and silks which were shipped all over Orr. She enjoyed her time with her father, but her favorite place to spend her day was with her grandmother. Her grandmother was a dressmaker and owned a shop in the Saks District. From a young age, Olivia learned to sew and began to help her grandmother with simpler projects. As she grew older, she spent more and more time helping at her grandmother’s shop and learning the ins and outs of designing clothes, working with clients, and managing a business.
One day at the shop, while waiting to get her next project, Olivia met Jake, a boy about her age with a mop of dirty blonde hair and dirt smudged, well just about everywhere. Jake was a street rat. Olivia did not know what this meant at the time, but he seemed hungry and she had some extra food left over from lunch. She shared with him and struck up a conversation which led to a fast friendship. Meeting Jake opened her eyes to the world of the poorest of the city. Olivia had a big heart and decided she could do something to help Jake and his friends so they would not be reduced to becoming pickpockets or mill rats in order to help support their families, neither being particularly safe enterprises.
Inspired by the women who complained about carrying their parcels while shopping the Saks district, she organized a group of three boys to carry parcels, using her grandmother’s shop as a base. Her grandmother agreed to supervise since it was unheard of for an 11 year old to be running her own business. Within two months she had organized a group of eight girls and boys to carry the day’s shopping for the wealthy of Optilocus.