What do the following phrases have in common? “Lets Always be fancy“, “Good Morning doll face“, “Hey there Buttercup” and one of my personal favourite “Too Legit to Quit“! By now I’m sure you know I am referring to none other but the very talented and creative, Ashley of Ashley Brooke Designs. If you are a regular around here, you’d know Ashley Brooke is a MyCasita favourite (I have often shared her monthly downloads on our social media channels!) Today, MyCasita is very pleased to have Ashley share the story behind her business and designs and how a chance experimentation with her illustrations eventually led to the stationery company we all know and love today.
What is your educational background? I have a degree in interior design from Seminole State College.
At what point did you decide you definitely wanted to pursue your interest in Paper and Design as a career or fulltime business? Well, after receiving a degree in interior design, I was working as a design assistant when the real estate bubble burst and as a result, I was laid off! My parents are photographers and hired me as a retouch artist at their studio. While I was there they encouraged me to experiment with my illustrations and use their printers so I started creating thank you notes for myself. It wasn’t long before I was creating stationery and starting my own business.
How have you successfully increased your clientele? Social Media has been a huge part of our business from day one. Bloggers Nina from According to Nina and Erin from Blue Eyed Bride gave me my first chances to share my art with a large audience. Since then, we’ve developed a daily blog with a consistent editorial calendar as well as coordinating Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages, which has really allowed us to create a following.
And tell us about designing for Tori Spelling and Kathie Lee Gifford: Well I designed some stationery for Tori Spelling’s family through an event with celebrity moms and sent Kathie Lee a few things for her and co-host Hoda Kotb after they began hosting the 4th hour of the Today Show. Tori and Kathie Lee were both sweet enough to send thank you notes on the stationery I designed for them, which was super kind and sort of thrilling!
You are one of the most creative people I know (from your designs and custom illustrations to your DIY videos and monthly downloads. Plus your mugs, those words are just the best!). Tell me how do you draw inspiration for these unique ideas? Oh gosh, this is a hard one! I get my inspiration from fashion, typography, layout design, textiles….. the list could go on and on!
What are some of the challenges you have faced working in this field? Juggling all the different hats that come along with being an entrepreneur—it’s so much more than just the fun, creative stuff, but then again I love a challenge and I love learning as much as I can about business.
What would you say the best things are about running your own business? Being the boss of course—haha! Although that comes with a lot of responsibility. Honestly, getting to do what I love and starting each day knowing that anything can happen (and usually does) is the best.
Your most memorable experience since Ashley Brooke Designs was launched? Oh gosh! There are so many! But a couple years ago we flew up to NYC for a press event… we were literally in the city for less than 20 hours… it was nuts, but so much fun!
Take us through a day in the life of Ashley? And how do you stay organised? My morning routine in crucial in getting me all set up for a productive work day. I usually get up, head to the gym, come back and walk my dog Lucy, enjoy breakfast and coffee while I do my morning devotions and then I start in on my inbox. Each day consists of different things, but mostly creating blog content, designing for clients, managing the business and coming up with new product ideas.
What is your motivation? To be honest, I just really love what I do. I love creating tangible art that makes people laugh if its one of our sassy mugs or creates a special memory by setting the tone with one of our custom illustrated invitations. I love my job, and I feel blessed that I get to call this “work”.
What advice do you have for others who might be interested in working in a similar field (maybe starting a paper or illustration business)? Start where you are with what you have. That’s what I did and over time it’s become so much for than I imagined. You just can’t be afraid of failure, it’s harder than it sounds, I know. But when you’re afraid you can’t put out your best work and being yourself always leads to your best work.
If you could do anything differently, what would you do? You know, I don’t think so! We’ve done a lot of great things and we’ve also made lots of mistakes… but all of the brilliant ideas stem from those mistakes… so I wouldn’t change a thing!
What next for ABD? I never thought ABD would look like it does today, so I’m going to keep working really hard and be open to all the possibilities! I can’t wait to see what we look like in 2, 5, even 10 years!
Get to know Ashley…
Asides drawing and making pretty paper, what do you like to do in your spare time: I love to go on runs, farmer’s market trips, play around in my garden (turns out I have a bit of a green thumb), and go out for a cocktail or two with my favorite girl friends.
Favorite thing about the Summer: Umm…does Watermelon count?!
Brunch or Dinner: Brunch! Because with brunch comes quiche and mimosas and what’s better than that?!
Fave Restaurant in your City to have brunch : I love brunching on Park Avenue in Winter Park…there are tons of great places to eat! The Briarpatch may be my favorite.
Fave Colour(s): Blue! It’s everywhere…our logo, my house…can’t get enough!
Women you admire: Diane Von Furstenberg, Deborah Lloyd of Kate Spade, and SO many others
Quote that inspires you the most: Creativity is intelligence having fun. Albert Einstein
What are you currently reading or watching on TV: I recently started watching Friday Night Lights, the complete series and to say I’m obsessed would be an understatement!
City you’d love to live in: New York City… although I’m pretty fond of my little neighborhood in Orlando!
Other designers whose work you admire: Dallas Shaw, Katie Rodgers, and Jessica Durrant
You would describe your personal style as: My personal style is a mix of things, I tend to go for a more classic aesthetic with bits of girly, preppy, and trendy mixed in. I love clean lines, a good fit, and a great basic. My girlfriends make fun of me because I still have clothes that I wear now that are 10 years old… take for instance a black skirt, it’s a classic fit and it will never go out of style! I have reinvented it a zillion times over! I’m never letting that skirt go! P.S. don’t worry I’m not a hoarder… I only keep the good stuff!
©All images Copyright to Ashley Brooke Designs