In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits + Retreat.
These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity while following their hearts.
Meet Ashley Brooke, founder and creative director of Ashley Brooke Designs. With a background in interior design and a self-taught illustrator, she began ABD in 2008 as a custom stationery design shop. Her playful, charming illustrations soon garnered her a list clients from New York City to L.A., many states in between, and as far away as Germany and Australia.
The foray into lifestyle products was a happy accident and started the day she put a hand-lettered message on a coffee mug and gifted it to a friend. Before long, she had dozens of requests for a mug that simply read, Let’s Always Be Fancy. Just a few years later ABD has evolved into a full-fledged lifestyle brand with an expanding mix of bright, colorful, and fun products from coffee mugs to makeup bags and phone cases to note cards.
Ashley lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and business partner, Ryan, where she also blogs on Ashley Brooke Daily which is all about her latest discoveries, designs, and adventures in home, fashion, beauty, food and travel… the things that make her happy.
What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?
I wanted to be a makeup artist first. For the longest time, that was all I ever dreamt of doing. Then I was introduced to interior design and I fell in love. I went to design school and loved every single second of it.
Honestly, it’s so funny to see how I incorporate both of those creative loves into my work now. And I see both playing tremendous roles as I create new content or products. Our most-requested blog topics are on beauty and décor and I find myself designing products most often for both categories. We just launched new cosmetic bags in August, and last month we launched our framed prints… funny how things work out!
Favorite business tool(s)?
Can I say Google?! HA! I feel like we Google everything all day everyday. Also, we use this program called Trade Gecko for our inventory and it’s pretty darn magical.
Where do you find inspiration?
Textiles mostly. I love finding vintage pieces and mixing them with new pieces. I often find my color palettes that way.
The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?
We recently renovated our back yard and it’s my favorite place to unwind. Any spare second I get I’m out there on the hammock, book in hand!
Best business advice or motivational quote?
My dad told me when I started my business years ago to “Fail, fail, fail again! And each time fail a little better.”
Five Favorites –
Book: Love Does, by Bob Goff. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to!
Movie: You’ve Got Mail, so good even after the zillionth watch!
Song: Signed Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours – Steve Wonder – You can’t not dance when you here this song!
Drink: Champagne, because when is champagne ever a bad idea?
Indulgence: Oreo Ice Cream or Peanut M&M’s
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.
This Q&A series offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s: