Valrik was from a moderately prosperous family that sacrificed a lot to train him as a wizard and alchemist in another city. To put it bluntly, he has let them down by his gambling, philandering and debaucheries. He was forced to flee his former city ten years ago and established himself in Fairhaven to get a fresh start. Old habits die hard though and he made himself acquainted with all the bad influences to be found here. Legitimate work as a law abiding alchemist never seemed to make enough money, so he quickly began to supplement his income with criminal activity. Much of it was done solo (i.e. graverobbing and some theft), but he did do "contract" work for various criminals over the years. This includes spell support for robberies, a little extortion work and of course providing acids, poisons and drugs under the counter for those who could pay. He finds all the law breaking exciting and probably wouldn't go completely legit now even if he could.
Today he maintains a somewhat "legit" front during daylight hours, providing mundane alchemical products like perfumes, cosmetics, some minor healing aids, jeweler's rouge and dyes. He has made a point of trying to befriend a low to mid level cleric able to cast healing spells in order to create cure wounds potions for sale as well, keeping him/her ignorant of the criminal side of the business.
The bulk of his income is now coming from "after hours" criminal activity. His goal is simply to enrich himself to the greatest degree possible so he can enjoy a life of leisure and hedonism.
Valrik would be most familiar with the working class areas of the city from running his legit business, but would also spend a lot of nocturnal hours in the seedier parts of town where the action is. He has some familiarity with the upper class (primarily through his legitimate perfume sales), but more often than not they have come to his shop rather than he visiting the wealthy areas.