The fashion world is fickle and full of hurdles. But Beverley Olivacce, a NY-based creative designer, knew she had a niche when she launched B. Olivacce.
B. Olivacce is a line of career dresses targeted at the professional woman. Her clothes have been carried by major upscale retailers such as Henri Bendel and Nordstrom.
Olivacce has long been into fashion. “In London growing up as a little girl, I would watch my mother develop samples for a clothing manufacturer. I became fascinated with fabric and all of the ways it could be cut into beautiful ensembles,” says Olivacce, who majored in fashion design and received an award for being the most outstanding designer in her graduating class.
“There were moments when I couldn?t wait until she was finished cutting and sewing, because I knew the fabric left over was just enough to make dresses for my little dolls.”
But turning a passion into a business is another thing. Startup money is always a challenge. “I created my first small capsule collection of eight pieces, and it was financed with my credit card. To my amazement, the collection sold immediately and a re-order was placed one week later. I remember being told by the buyer that every woman wanted to try on ‘that little black & white silk dress.’ If I had any doubts in my ability to design, those worries disappeared with that confirmation,” she says. ?”Starting with my credit card initially was a bit frightening, but I ?threw caution to the wind? and took a risk. My thought process ? if I want someone to invest in me, it makes sense to invest in myself, first. If I didn?t take that initial risk, it?s safe to say that my journey would be different.”
As with most small businesses, obstacles are always a concern. “One of the main challenges thus far has been raising adequate capital to sustain operations. Becoming a business woman is just as important as being an artist. Adversity comes knocking at every turn, so you have to be able to think your way out, strategize your way out and ask for help,” shared Olivacce.
But with her line, Olivacce has tapped into a specific market. “The collections produced are classics and are not trend driven. Women want to feel elegant; a well-designed dress evokes a feeling,” she says. “That feeling allows a woman to step out, step up and shine inwardly. I know, for sure, that a woman wants to fall in love with the way she looks and feels.”
This year has been a year of highs for the line. “I recently held my first ‘Women of Power and Style Summit’ in Westchester County, New York, sponsored by Lincoln Motor Company, in which I introduced a collection of career dresses with a champagne luncheon while guests were able to test drive new models of Lincoln?s MKC and MKZ luxury vehicles, and be empowered by a panel of successful women from the local area speaking about their road to success,” says Olivacce. “The goal for next year is to travel throughout the northeast coast of the United States, London, and Europe to introduce something brand new.”
As for the future, the designer has major plans. “The long-term goal is to build an organization that supports women, and our ‘Women of Power and Style Summit’ does that.? The panel that I choose to speak at each event motivates all women to be the best they can be! The grassroots concept is refreshing, exciting and unique,” says Olivacce.
Olivacce not only believes in her brand–she lives it. “I love being able to create elegant and sophisticated apparel for women. I believe every woman who tries on a B. Olivacce design will fall in love with the way she looks and feels,” she says. “I believe in branding my career collection as an experience. It?s a great feeling to host a special day for both consumers and buyers to sip champagne, view a great fashion show, receive valuable business advice, and test luxury vehicles. The way I promote B. Olivacce is to make people intricately feel like they, too, are a part of N.Y. Fashion Week.”