With Sassy & motivating products that describe our lives on most days, Ashley Brooke designs products that are just our style. This girl boss is sharing those awesome mugs/notebooks/prints on our business blog today as well as some real world tips for all the striving entrepreneurs out there. Touring her cute office is pretty fun too. We’re a fan, and soon you will be too.
Name: Ashley Brooke
Company: Ashley Brooke Designs
Title: Owner + Creative Director
We love Ashley Brooke Designs! What led to you starting your own company?
Honestly, it was an idea that was birthed out of necessity. I was laid off from my fancy interior design job when the market crashed and just decided that I need to do something and do something fast. No one was hiring for ANYTHING, so I decided to do my best to take control of the situation and start something. I put all my skills together with the resources I had and Ashley Brooke Designs was born. It’s been pretty crazy. I didn’t have a business plan or an outline, I just asked a bazillion questions to anyone who would listen to me, read every business book I could get my hands on and hustled. I worked really hard and made lots of mistakes but every once in a while I would have a success and that is what kept me going. I have a fairly persistent personality, so I focused all my energy on that.
Where did you start your career? Did you always want to design?
I always knew I was creative, and had a thing for the arts, but I didn’t know I could really draw until my senior year of high school. I had run out of credits to take, took a advanced art class, (I had faith in my crafty skills!) and realized quickly after my first assignment that I could draw! My teacher even had me stay after class one day so we could chat about why I had never taken one of her art classes before! Ha! I told her, “You and I are both thinking the same thing!”
A day in the life of Ashley looks like a lot of fun – what does a typical work day entail?
Oh gosh, it changes a bit everyday but the normal day usually looks like this: Spin Class from 5:45 a.m. – 7 a.m. House Chores, taking Lucy for a walk, and getting ready 7-8:30ish. I sit down to do my daily devotions and journal around 9ish…And around 10 we start! We have our morning conference calls around 1o o’clock every morning and depending on what we talk about in that call really road maps the rest of my day! I then work on e-mail, social media, and blogs and spend the rest of the day working on projects! I try to stay as organized as possible so that I am working at a higher efficiency rate while I am at work so that when I am not, (i.e. nights and weekends) I am fully present. Organization is key. Also, I try to keep my priorities in check; I know what my limits are and all “my people” know that they come first. Work is always last. Always. (P.S. don’t take this the wrong way, I love my job and it is important that I tend to it diligently each workday. But if my Great Grandmother who is 100 needs a visit and a few flowers from my garden to cheer her up… everything else waits. End of story.)
Your products are so fun! Where do you find your inspiration?
Truly? My everyday life. My life in general is a bit crazy, and so the sassiness and the touch of girly-snark just comes out and I realize, “Gosh! That would be cute on a mug!” I have stopped designing for what I think my clients might like and I’ve started designing for myself and things that I need… like a Happy Thoughts notepad!
Do you have a favorite product?
They are all my favorite, but if you are MAKING me pick, our new floral ceramic to-go mug is my favorite. It’s just so stinkin’ pretty!
We love following along with you on Instagram and your blog, how would you describe your personal style?
I love a classic silhouette with a bit of flare! So, maybe classic, girly, with a touch of whimsy… do those things even go together?! I don’t know… but that is what I am going with!
What’s your favorite part about your job?
The ability to build and create something that I am truly proud of, even though each day has its own struggle. I get to wake up every morning and do what I know that I am good at, and there really isn’t a better feeling. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I also reallllly like being my own boss. When I was little, I would get in trouble on the REGULAR for being a bit too bossy. My dad would say (daily), “You being so bossy is one of my favorite qualities you possess, and one day this whole bossy thing will work to your advantage, but child, today is not that day.” Ha! So I guess being my own boss was kind of inevitable!
What’s the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
Oh gosh, probably that there isn’t a manual on how to run and operate ABD! I wish there was; we are constantly learning and trying new things, failing and succeeding…but, that’s the name of the game, and we love it!
What business advice would you give to young entrepreneurs like yourself attempting to start their own company?
Take it one day at a time! Sometimes the big picture can be unhelpful, and when you stick to what you know you are good at and keep trying everyday to move forward in small action steps, that’s when the biggest things come together. Persistence, endurance, and faith are key.
What I wanted to be when I grew up: Make-up Artist
Spring Fashion Trend I can’t wait to try: Croptop.
If I could work for anyone, it would be: Myself (does that count?!)
Favorite date spot with your hubby: Highball + Harvest
Favorite Quote: I have so many! But here’s one of my faves! “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews