Ashley grew up on a farm in a small town of 450 people. She would attend flea markets and start to appreciate vintage goods. Now she has 'mabel'.
Take us back to you as a kid.
I grew up on a farm with 3 older brothers in a small town of 450 people! Life. Was. Good. Tons of time outside by myself exploring which means a lot of creativity was involved on a daily basis to entertain me. My mom was part of a co-op style shop where she sold her handmade/hand painted goods and she also taught art classes from our basement. We went to a lot of flea markets and it was then that I learned to love and appreciate vintage goods.
Who did you want to be?
I wanted to be an Obstetrician (literally wrote that in second grade!), Fashion Designer and an Olympic Gymnast. I didn’t end up too far off as a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Boutique Owner!
What was last Monday like for you?
BUSY! I launched my website on Friday and it was a huge success so I filled orders all weekend and then Monday went to work at the clinic! I came home at 8:30 pm, tucked the kiddos in and started ordering more product!
Walk us through the days leading up to you doing your own thing?
I had been a Nurse Practitioner for almost a year and decided that I needed more creativity in my life to supplement that career choice. I started looking into storefronts in 2015 and found the perfect location in Geneseo, IL. After about 2.5 years our family relocated to Urbandale and that is when I decided to go online!
What keeps you busy?
Being a Nurse Practitioner, having an online store, my two daughters and my husband! We also travel back and forth between our hometown and the Des Moines area which makes life hectic. We really enjoy traveling and try to sneak in day trips or any trips in general that can fit our schedules! Just got back from the Cayman Islands and it was amazing :)
"I have found on the days that I need to be most productive it is really best to ensure the kiddos have alternative plans."
How do you stay focused?
I have found on the days that I need to be most productive it is really best to ensure the kiddos have alternative plans. Splitting my attention between work and kids ends up not benefitting anyone. Good tunes and readily available snacks are also helpful ha!
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Focusing on one thing at a time and effectively planning out my days so those things can be accomplished. My goal for May is to plan on Sunday for the entire week by making a list of to-do’s that I can cross out (I get a lot of satisfaction from that!) for each day. I always find myself bouncing between several tasks and then ultimately I end up with a handful of half done things at the end of the day- which really stresses provoking!
How did you overcome it?
I haven’t just yet but I do have a plan! Sitting down with the calendar at the beginning of the week and just planning out each hour on my work days. I always felt too busy to spend time planning but have realized that the time spent doing that could easily save me a ton of time later on.
"Knowing my weaknesses now, I would love to hand off some of those tasks so that I can focus more on my strengths and what makes me happy."
You get to redo something you’ve done. What would that be and why?
As much as I love being the sole owner of my business and having complete control I do wish I had a team of creatives working with me. I think I would have delegated more from the beginning to lighten the load. I also think everyone has their strengths and it is impossible to be strong at everything. Knowing my weaknesses now, I would love to hand off some of those tasks so that I can focus more on my strengths and what makes me happy.
Someone is starting their own thing. What would you say to them if they came to you for advice?
Just dive in and do it. No one starts as an expert- ask questions, look things up and learn something new every single day.
Why Des Moines?
It was the right fit for our family. It has the small town vibe but yet it is completely full of opportunities and fun events. It is a true hub for creatives and I cannot wait to be a part of that atmosphere.
What’s one new thing that has caught your eye?
Well, everything is new to me but I would have to say all the amazing restaurants! Every week we try to branch out and try something new but it is always a difficult decision. If we can’t decide we just go back to Fong’s- that honey garlic pizza has stolen my heart!
You can grant Des Moines one wish. What’s that wish?
For someone new to DSM where do you suggest they go?
Downtown for sure! The capital is stunning, the restaurants are five stars and the shops are unique and fabulous. Also, the Farmer’s Market!! Cannot wait for this Saturday!
The most underrated thing in DSM is ________. Why?
Well, I don’t know if it’s underrated but the views! The bridges, the capital, and all the awesome old industrial buildings. I could just walk around down there all day.
"Just dive in and do it."
What are you most proud of and why?
From an entrepreneurial standpoint, I would have to say my website. I knew absolutely nothing about building a website, managing or maintaining one but I spent countless hours researching, asking questions and developing it every day. I was too nervous to launch it last week but at this point to see the orders coming and to hear the positive feedback I just couldn’t be happier. I now get to have a dream job and manage it from home!
It’s been six months, what do you hope to have accomplished?
I hope to have met an amazing group of like-minded creatives that I can connect with! It is so important to find your tribe so you can push each other, hold each other accountable and share in the ups and downs.
One thing that matters most to you is what?
My family, hands down. <3