The business of "The House Of Eliott"
Entertaining the idea of an MBA? Watch The House Of Eliott and you'll learn everything you need to know about business.
The series, which aired on the BBC in the 1990s (and is now available on YouTube), follows a pair of sisters who launch a fashion house in 1920s London. The plot twists are pure soap opera, mixed with leftover costumes from Brideshead Revisited. But the foundational story is the process of growing a business from scratch.
The sisters -- plucky, Kate Hepburn-esque Beatrice and luminous young Evangeline -- discover that their selfish father's bad business decisions have rendered them destitute, while their sheltered upbringing has left them unable to find work. Talented at sewing and little else, the sisters began to turn their deceased father's expensive old clothes into fashions for themselves. The naturally organized Beatrice finds work as a photographer's assistant, a few society ladies see their creations . . . and the House of Eliott is born.
As the opportunities grow, so do the challenges. They hire additional help to keep up with demand. They debate closing the doors to become designers at a Paris fashion house (they decline, and then Evangeline has an affair with the boss). Beatrice and the photographer fall madly in love.
Successful but cash-poor, The House of Eliott is under constant stress. Beatrice and Evangeline negotiate loans with condescending bankers who steal from them. Their workers fight. Their first ready-to-wear line is undermined by cheap copies. The photographer, who becomes a filmmaker, is elected to Parliament. The Great Depression begins to affect sales. Even though both sisters marry and Beatrice becomes a mother, the House of Elliott remains their most precious creation.
Like Beatrice, I'm a mom in a creative profession, married to a dashing photographer! We're working and learning about growing a business together -- his photography and printing, and my voice studio. We've already faced some of the same challenges the sisters faced, and we've also enjoyed some of the same happiness when things actually go right. (I also have a beautiful younger sister, but she's an RN and wears scrubs.) The House of Eliott is a great way to unwind after a long day at the home office. Yes, there are other shows about family businesses, but they don't have such fabulous gowns.
Intrigued? Here's another British-accented actress dispensing business advice. ;)