Olivia, where are you from?
I was born and raised in College Station, Texas, home of the Fightin’ Texas Aggies! I went to school there, went to college there, I spent my whole life there. I’m excited to be here having a new adventure, but I’m a big Aggie girl.
What’s your role in the shop?
I handle the shipping and inventory, making sure orders are on track for fulfillment and shipping on time. I also help out with customer service shipping inquiries. I mostly respond to emails and handle phone calls, but I do help out with leather work, mostly with knot bracelets and knife sheaths.
Did you have any experience working with leather?
I had no experience working with leather! All of my experience is working with kids in schools and some restaurant experience, but I had not done anything “crafty” with my hands other than elementary art projects and stuff. The interactions I’ve had with kids make me very comfortable with customer service and working with people though.
What's your educational background?
My degree was in Parks and Recreation, focusing on conservation. It was a lot of land management, putting on programs, interpretive stuff. Some event planning as well, and a little bit of “kid-oriented” youth development classes. I wasn’t an education major, but I plan to do that in the future and get my teaching certification.
How does the conservation background tie into Ranchlands?
It's really cool, especially that we work with The Nature Conservancy. I wasn't familiar with ranching conservation because I was more focused on forests and national parks, but getting to see it from the ranching side of things is really cool. I appreciate ranch work a lot more because of it. I didn’t know it was happening on ranches, I just thought they were doing what they needed to do, but I see a lot more of the science behind it now.
What were your first impressions of the Chico?
The first time I visited I remember thinking “wow this place is huge!” I’ve been on ranches back home, but everything was a much smaller scale. I had not been on any big operations in Texas. But I remember driving on the Chico and saying “wow.” I don’t know how you learn where everything is here. It’s just so big. The landscape is so different. I’m used to trees being everywhere because I lived in the post oak belt. Here, there's barely any trees, but plenty of cholla cactus and sagebrush, neither of which I had ever seen before. It’s so different. It’s crazy that it’s so big that there are different ecosystems in the different areas.
What are you looking forward to the most during your time here?
I’m really looking forward to the guest season and branding season. I love the fast pace, there’s always something going on. I also miss the heat, too, it’s been so cold every day. I can’t wait for the sun to shine and bring all its glory, because summer here is so fun. Being here last summer was so fun and busy.