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A typical day for Mary-Kate and Ashley is anything but average. "I don't think there is a consistent workday because it's not a 9-to-5 day in an office," Mary-Kate says. Although every day is different, Ashley says it's a controlled chaos. "We have a very structured life when you actually look at it," she says. "Our everyday schedules go out three months ahead."

The trendsetting twins let Oprah Show cameras follow them to work for a glimpse inside the fashion world. Mary-Kate and Ashley arrive at their Elizabeth and James showroom in New York City and start the day with a model fitting—a task the twins say they are very comfortable with. "We started cutting down adult clothing when we were 6 or 8 [years old] because we couldn't find really great kids' clothing, so we're very aware of the woman's body and what looks good," Mary-Kate says.

Later that afternoon, the twins attend a meeting to discuss shoe designs for an Elizabeth and James runway show. "Especially when you're starting companies, you really have to be there every day because you're being held accountable, so you need to be present," Ashley says. After shoes, it's on to jewelry with a meeting to approve their new spring line with designer Robert Lee Morris. "Ashley will show up a few days later and undo everything that Mary-Kate did," Robert jokes. The twins say they usually find a way to compromise—but if not, they scrap the idea. "If we can't agree, we don't do it," Mary-Kate says. "It goes away."

Time doesn't stop on the weekend in the fashion world—the girls drop by The Row showroom on Saturday for more model fittings. "It's definitely a high-end line, all European fabrics," Ashley says.

At the end of the day, Ashley says she doesn't think of her job as a business. "I really just wanted something for myself," she says. "It's a lot of work, but at the same time, I know how fulfilling it is to develop whatever we feel passionate about."
FROM: Young Millionaire Moguls: Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen
Published on October 23, 2008


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