Fashion influencer opens new boutique in downtown Albemarle – The Stanly News & Press

A recent employer of a new downtown Albemarle business owner is a famous mouse fast approaching its 100th birthday.

Olivia Phillips, a former Disney employee turned social media influencer with nearly 10,000 Instagram followers, recently celebrated the grand opening of the Livi Bug boutique on South Second Street in Albemarle.

With much of the inventory from the old Lah-Ti-Dah store, the new business was opened last month in downtown Albemarle by Phillips and his mother, Mandi Rogers.

Phillips recently returned home after working for years at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

She started posting her fashion choices on social media in September 2019, where her influence began to grow.

“I didn’t see a lot of plus size outfits, influencers or personalities on social media, or in any media for that matter,” Phillips said.

Phillips said she will receive compliments on her outfits she wears and that she wants to share them with her followers.

“From there it kind of took off,” Phillips said.

The key to being an online influencer, she added, is to post daily, which she does with the outfit she wears that day.

Her husband, Adam, took a picture of her before she left to work for Disney in guest services, which helped her grow her online presence. His role at Disney has shifted from managing emails and phone calls to collaborating with the company’s social media presence.

Phillips is now a brand ambassador with brands such as Aerie, Vera Bradley, Lane Bryant and others showcasing their products.

On his Instagram profile, Phillips states that “all bodies are beautiful bodies” as part of the body positivity movement. It’s a social movement that seeks to empower individuals, regardless of their size or weight, according to Wikipedia.

“It’s really great to be able to share fashion for people who I feel like fashion isn’t for,” said Phillips.

“I really know you can’t just walk into any store and expect to find your sizes.”

The Livi Bug store will carry plus size clothing for women as well as many items from the previous store, such as Pure Vida jewelry.

Recent additions to the store include gifts and locally made items as well as a men’s section. Items in the store range from spa items to handbags and accessories, candles and more.

“We just want to have a place that you can walk in and literally, for any person in your family or friends, any event or occasion, you can find something,” Phillips said.

Livi Bug’s items are not what chain store shoppers would find, she said.

“That’s what I love … you can come and find something for anyone in your life.”

Originally from New London, Phillips graduated from Gray Stone Day School, followed by an English degree from Campbell University. His internship at Campbell helped create his employment opportunity with Disney.

Phillips and his mother both decide on issues with the store as they both worked together to prepare the story for the audience.

The new owner became emotional at the thought of starting the business with her mother after spending years in Florida.

“It’s just moving to think that it all came together, for me to step back and for us to have this opportunity,” Phillips said.

The new store is a “female-owned” business, she added, with a strong bond between her and her mother, “and we are very proud of it. I couldn’t have done it without her… that’s the greatest blessing.

When it comes to her online presence, Phillips said she wants to surpass 10,000 Instagram followers while continuing to represent plus-size women.

She also said she was working on building a website and had the ability to ship items to customers.

“The community that I have built through social media has given me a lot.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was Sports Editor-in-Chief of Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently held the same position since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year award and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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