Owning a creative business is amazing. Between being your own boss and getting to make sh*t for a living it really can’t be beat… but there comes a point in a lot of entrepreneur’s paths (especially owners of product-based businesses) where I think we all start to wonder if our “brand” is really authentic or if it has morphed into something that restricts our self expression.

Now, this doesn’t mean that our brands aren’t genuine or that we don’t love what we do… it’s just that often as artists and makers we have to narrow down our bajillion creative impulses in order to turn our creativity into a business. It’s both limiting and liberating.

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Four years ago I was able to turn my love of sewing, thrifting, and upcycling into a business that has supported me as my main (and for a very long time only) source of income – that is still incredible to me! In order to have the focus that allowed me to be successful I had to offer a consistent line of products (in my case it was neckties and bow ties + a few other carefully curated accessories) but throughout the years I have still been developing my other passions – crafting, crocheting, knitting, cooking, sewing things other than ties, exploring nature, making fine art, writing, playing my ukulele, hanging out with my bunny, etc.

There have been so many times when I’ve wanted to share something more personal (or totally unrelated to men’s fashion/ties) with my fans and followers but I never felt totally comfortable with it.  Injecting a certain level of your personal life into your creative business is definitely a great way to allow people to connect with you but it seems like there is always a line that has to be drawn in order to maintain a certain level of professionalism and a clear message to your customers. So much goes on behind-the-scenes of pretty Instagram feeds and professional-looking websites. We’re all just real people (sometimes teams of real people) doing hard work to provide a great experience.

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My Actual Brand is my answer to all of that hard-to-navigate “I own a business but I am also a real person” territory. It’s my judgement free, share whatever the f*ck I want zone. It’s my most authentic creative outlet. So, if you are into any of the following:

  • real life sewing tutorials that won’t give you a panic attack
  • thrifting & upcycling tips to save you tons of cash and help you make cute stuff
  • DIY projects that are actually feasible and not Pinterest Fails waiting to happen
  • vegetarian recipes to satiate some of your most specific cravings
  • adorable house rabbits who may or may not have Resting Bitch Face
  • kind of gross mushy love stuff because love is sort of awesome
  • getting deep from time to time because life is sort of crazy
  • and a general lack of f*cks given because you can’t always take life so seriously…

Stay tuned. I can’t promise a veneer of professionalism or consistency but I CAN promise that this will be an honest, messy, mix of great things.

Ashley

 

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