Today, we are so excited to introduce you to Ashley of Ashley Shelly! Ashley is a Florida-based graphic designer and product designer with a passion for creating journals and notebooks to bring peace to women’s lives! We were struck by Ashley’s originality, authenticity, and passion for bringing peace to people in creative ways! That’s why we’re so excited to share our Q+A with Ashley below. Enjoy!
WGG: Tell us about you, your business, and what inspired you to get started. Were there any hopes (or fears) you had?
Ashley: Hello! I’m Ashley and I’m the one woman (for now!) behind the brand Ashley Shelly. I took the traditional college route after high school and got my BFA in Graphic Design because I have always loved being creative. I knew I wanted to make a career out of using my creative talents but I never dreamed of exactly how it would take an entrepreneurial turn. I always pictured myself working for a huge fashion brand as a designer (which I did right out of college) for my whole life. I just happened to start a little Etsy shop a few years ago doing custom invitations on the side and in October 2014, I launched my very first physical product, The Budget Notebook. I made this product because I was making my own budgeting layouts in plain notebooks for myself every pay period, and I quickly realized how helpful it could be to others. Since then, life has changed SO much! The Budget Notebook has taken off in a way that really excites me as a product designer, but more importantly is truly helping women rock their finances.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]The Budget Notebook has taken off in a way that really excites me as a product designer, but more importantly is truly helping women rock their finances.[/pullquote]
WGG: What is the heart behind your business? What do you hope you convey through your products and services?
Ashley: My business motto is “Living Life with a Peaceful Heart”. All of my products are designed to help women live more peacefully. When you have control over your finances and don’t have that stress hanging over your head anymore, life is so much better. Hearing feedback from women who were once scared of budgeting that are now set free in that area absolutely inspires me. I also recently released The Daily Peace Journal. It is a guided daily journal to help women clear their minds and create focus on the best things in their lives. It follows a simple process of getting all of the busy thoughts out of their minds and then being able to list the top 3 to focus on. At the end of each page, there are spaces for gratitude, prayers, and a short journal entry of memories and thoughts on the day. In general, for all of my products, I hope they convey to women that they can live without all of the stress if they take a few moments each day to sit down and write things out. I’m such a huge fan of writing things down!
WGG: What type of role does faith play in your life and/or in your business?
Ashley: With the motto for my business being what it is, living peacefully, faith is a huge part of that. Having faith in God allows me to surrender my fears and anxieties when they get the best of me. I am a natural over achiever and sometimes find myself worrying too much about my business or the details of daily life, but the great thing is I can always let go with God on my side. It’s such a freeing feeling that we don’t have to be in control – a true challenge for me! haha
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Having faith in God allows me to surrender my fears and anxieties when they get the best of me.[/pullquote]
WGG: What does living “With Grace and Gold” mean to you and/or your business?
Ashley: This is a fun question because I think everyone would answer it completely different based on their own life! I would love to see how you ladies would answer this one too. For me, I think living “With Grace and Gold” means creating meaningful products that help women in some of the most important areas of life, while still giving them pretty options. There are so many boring finance related notebooks out there y’all! If I can change the world of finance by bringing some “gold” to it, I’m doing my job right!
WGG: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome personally or professionally? What did you learn?
Ashley: Oh my gosh…PATIENCE! That is my biggest obstacle no doubt. I am probably one of the most impatient people on the planet. I think a lot of that has to do with being a creative person. If I want something, I literally make it happen. So when I have to wait for something in life, I get antsy. But it is one of the most recurring patterns in being an entrepreneur. Everything doesn’t happen on my timeline. I love seeing how starting my own business has shaped me into a much more patient, thankful person. I realize now that some of the best things in life take time and investment. Investing in my company and enjoying the process instead of racing to the finish line is a new way of life for me.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]I love seeing how starting my own business has shaped me into a much more patient, thankful person. I realize now that some of the best things in life take time and investment. [/pullquote]
WGG: What is the biggest victory you have experienced personally or professionally? What did you learn?
Ashley: The biggest victory I have experienced would be learning to ask for what I want. No one is responsible for our own happiness but us, and if we don’t communicate what we want out of life, it’s probably not going to be given to us by chance. I still work full time as a creative director for a major corporation 4 days a week. I have Wednesdays off to focus on my brand until I can take the leap to full time on my own. I used to work 5 days a week at my corporate job and I knew I could do my job just as well working only 4 days. I wanted to ask for a different schedule to give myself that day of freedom, and I DID. Terrified, but I did it. And do you know what? I got a YES. And everything has been great. The world didn’t end and I didn’t get fired for asking. They trusted me to handle my job professionally and I’m able to balance life much better. If I didn’t ask, I’d still be working 5 days a week. I learned not to be scared, because your best life may be just on the opposite side of that scary idea you have.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]No one is responsible for our own happiness but us, and if we don’t communicate what we want out of life, it’s probably not going to be given to us by chance.[/pullquote]
WGG: Look back on your first day in business. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Ashley: Have patience! Do you see a trend here? Haha. I would definitely tell my younger self that everything is going to be okay, and just because all of the parts of your business don’t immediately fall into place, doesn’t mean they aren’t going to. Creating a successful business takes time and if you are offering something to the world that is needed, you will be just fine. You will be more than fine. You will be surprised at how awesome it will be!
WGG: What advice do you have for someone who is interested in starting a business?
Ashley: If you have an idea or product that is going to fill a need or solve a problem for people, you will do great! I think sometimes people just want to start a business to have more freedom with their schedule or be able to work from home, but there are so many other things that go into running a business that can truly support you financially and be a blessing instead of a stress. The Budget Notebook is filling a void where pretty financial tools just didn’t exist before, and that keeps me going. Running a business is hard work! But if you have a vision for something that you truly believe in, and you can find realistic ways for people to use those things, go for that dream!
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Running a business is hard work! But if you have a vision for something that you truly believe in … go for that dream![/pullquote]
WGG: In one word, sum up your hopes, dreams, and wishes for 2015. What is your “goal word” or mantra?
Ashley: Peace. I want to approach this year with a sound mind in every decision I make. Whether it is how many products to order for my next launch in the summer, or what products to offer that match my company’s purpose, I want to feel peace in those decisions. In order to do that, I know that personally I need to make the big decisions without being rushed, get plenty of sleep to recharge my brain and body, take time out for rest and play, and approach my business with love.
With Grace and Gold,
Kelly and Andra
Ashley has been featured on With Grace and Gold as part of our Featured Series.
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