Ithaca is People: Olivia Royale
The #IthacaIsPeople Files
Olivia Royale, our #IthacaIsPeople Instagrammer of the week, is the owner and "maker" behind The Art and Found, and she's got a major a passion for fashion, and love for her local artisan comrades.
What do you do, Olivia?
I am a local maker. I had a store on the Commons, but I closed it and now I focus on making products that I sell at the Farmer's Market, online, and I'm also a mom.
So what does the term "maker" mean, exactly?
I make clothing and accessories - primarily hats, which is really my passion. I am really into the fashion scene here, the shopping local scene. There are lots of very talented local artists that I like to support and am very inspired by.
Do you collaborate with any other local vendors?
At the moment I do all the production on my own, but I do employ other single moms to help make it, and then I have a lot of friends that have products at Handwork and local shops on the Commons, other artisans that sell or showcase at the Farmer's Market, so there's collaboration in so far as inspiring one another, for sure.
Have you always been in the fashion industry?
Yup, I have been doing this for close to 12 years, so having a store versus doing mobile and web-based business has been my primary employment.
Are you from Ithaca?
I'm not, actually. I am from outside of Albany... so not too far.
And what brought you here?
Well, I was living in California and the competition and market were to packed. I had a friend who suggested that I move here, and that the Farmer's Market was really cool, so I thought I'd give it a shot, and I've never left!
What's your favorite part about the Farmer's Market?
Mostly the other vendors. There is a certain camaraderie that comes with working with other makers, and concepts that only people who are making their own products can understand. I mean, it definitely takes a certain type of personality who can be in customer service, so I kind of like being in an element where other people understand the experience, and I can connect with them, you know?
If you could describe your business and the products that you make in three words what would they be?
Um... hand-made, affordable, and unique. That's what I'd say.
Last question. If you could describe Ithaca in one word what would that be?
Nature... that's great. And why do you say that?
It's just so beautiful. I think that if you are a mom, if you're a student, if you're a single person, if you're a man, if you're a woman - that is one of the things that everyone here can enjoy and get something out of. When you think about wanting to move away from here, for example, if you are done with school, or want to move to a city, that's always the one thing that you know you would miss and that keeps you around. Gorges, hiking, the lake... it's something that I think a lot of people search for, and we're lucky enough to have that all here.
Now... we're going to get out and enjoy some of that Ithaca nature but first, we're going to check out one of Olivia's handmade ponchos to enter the colder fall months in style