I want to share with you all today another Fabulously Fab Female, Ashley Brooke. I discovered Ashley while randomly searching hashtags on InstaGram, something I’m recently very guilty of. I love searching topics I’m passionate about. A few of my most searched topics are: journaling, writing, bloggers, fashion, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, freelance, home office, washi tape, nail polish and more. As you can see, my searches basically describe my life and my hobbies. They inspire me and allow me to discover some hidden gems such as Ashley, which by discovering her I also discovered my new crazy obsession with washi tape. Ashley is not only very talented in what she does- creating beautiful stationary; which of course you all know by now how obsessed with notebooks, note cards and all pretty things I am, but she’s also so faithful and has inspired me in my own faith as well. Every week she posts on her InstaGram a simple line from the Bible, but it’s always so beautifully displayed underlined by gorgeous colorful pens, and marked with beautiful washi patterns, that you can’t help but want to read each one and be inspired by them. This also makes me realize that because I’ve been following Ashley on Facebook, Twitter and InstaGram since I stumbled upon her on IG, she’s also turned me onto Le Pens, which I use daily in my own journal and agenda. Her blog isn’t only about stationary, but filled with lots of different topics. My personal favorite is her Desk Obsessed series where she interviews other like-minded creative people on what keeps them going and what they need on their desk to stay focused and inspired. It could be my love for desk accessories, or my enthusiasm to figure out what keeps other creative minds inspired, but this series kept me entertained til the wee hours of the morning when I first found her blog, trying to catch up with every entry in the series.
Ashley’s creative design and ability to recreate gorgeous images from photos, has turned in her stationary business into a personalization paradise. She designs stationary, mugs, notebooks, calendars, prints, invitations, mailing stamps and much more. Also, if you love calendars, every month you can download a free gorgeous calendar designed by ABD for your cell phone or tablet’s home screen. I must admit, my e-reader gets a cute wallpaper every month thanks to Ashley’s creative talent. Her work is truly beautiful, her blog entertaining and though I don’t know her personally you can tell she’s a beautiful person inside as well. Whether it was her faith, her passion and creativity or ability to turn a negative into a positive, she truly turned a negative situation, like being laid off into a successful business at a very young age. Now who wouldn’t be inspired by that? If you’re a creative mind, like pretty things or just want more tips and inspiration to push you on your own endeavor, writing or blog read on to get to know Ashley a little more personally and how she gets her creative juices flowing and more about her fun and colorful blog.
Now let’s get to know Ashley of Ashley Brooke Designs . . .
Bella Vida Style (BVS): How did you get into blogging?
Ashely Brooke: I actually started a blog when I first started my stationery company and had yet to build a fully functioning website…it was a great way to share my work and get my name out there!
BVS: What pays your bills (what’s your “real” job)?
I am an illustrator and the owner and creative director of Ashley Brooke Designs, a stationery company. I have to pinch myself every morning… “this is actually my job!”
BVS: How did you get started in stationery design?
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.
BVS: Was that always a goal? What did you study in college?
Growing up stationery per se wasn’t the goal, being an entrepreneur in the art world was. I went to school for Interior Design, and loved it! But as stated above a series of unfortunate events landed me in paper… and I couldn’t be happier!
BVS: Other than your blog, and maybe your day job, what else are you involved in?
My blog + day job are one in the same!
I’m involved in a local group for creative professionals, which is a great way to share ideas and connect with like-minded people. I also volunteer at my church and I am currently preparing for my first speaking engagement on branding!
BVS: Why do you blog?
I blog to share my work and as a creative outlet… plus, blogging is kind of addictive!
BVS: One gadget you couldn’t live without?
Definitely my iPhone…it’s my, social media outlet, bible, calculator…you name it!
BVS: Best app?
Instagram… I’m addicted! P.S. Follow me over at @ashleybrookedesigns!
BVS: What inspires you?
Oh gosh, this is a hard one! I get my inspiration from fashion, typography, layout design, textiles….. the list could go on and on!
BVS: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Being creative doesn’t always come easily, there are definitely times when you hit a mental block. Sometimes a great dance party gets me going—just to get up from my desk and move around! Other times, I might take Lucy, my Yorkie-poo, for a walk, it just depends. I think getting out of your space for even just 10 minutes does wonders.
BVS: How do you come up with new and refreshing content?
I work on an editorial schedule which makes it so much easier to be consistent and creative!
BVS: How do you come up with new and creative designs for your stationary?
Ha! That is a good one. The best ideas are always the ones that hit me at the gym or in the shower… they are never the ones I try to force!
BVS: What was the biggest hurdle when starting your own business and how did you overcome it?
Being afraid to fail. 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.
BVS: How would you describe your blog in 2 sentences or less?
BVS: What’s the best way to get more followers and/or get your blog exposure?
Putting out great content consistently is always step 1. You have create something that people want to come back for. For me specifically, I also had the fortune of working with some great bloggers like Nina from According to Nina and Erin from Blue Eyed Bride at the VERY beginning that really gave my work and blog some exposure!
BVS: How can someone starting out figure out how to separate themselves from the rest of the blogs out there?
I think its important to find your own voice and figure out what’s unique about you. That’s the key because there isn’t another you!
BVS: Some people think blogging makes you rich – what’s the truth?
I think it depends on what your blog is about and rich is certainly a relative term. Our blog’s main objective is that it produces quality content that is consistent with our brand.
BVS: How can a blogger better work with brands?
We’ve started working with more and more brands (mostly in our style posts and giveaways) and I think the key is finding the right match. You have to find brands that have a similar demographic and ones that appeal to your readers and vice versa.
BVS: Any photography tips for bloggers?
Light, light, light! I always photograph with available natural light.
BVS: If you had to pick the best 3 devices for bloggers what would they be?
- a computer
- an iPhone (takes great photos even on the road)
- and something sparkly for good measure!
BVS: What blog or person do you consider your example to push for better content or your mentor?
I love everything that Kate Spade puts out there, I think their creative team is genius.
BVS: Many times I get told that a blog is a public diary, others think it’s a waste of time or just a hobby – Why do you find blogging important or of value? Why is blogging a priority for YOU?
Blogging for me is about sharing my work and connecting with readers and clients. It’s a great creative outlet, and for us, it’s an integral part of our business.
BVS: Now we want to get to know YOU better, these are more fun/slightly more personal questions —
BVS: Age? 25
I was born in Titusville, FL (home of the space shuttle—my parents actually met while bonding tiles onto the shuttle. So romantical, right?!)
BVS: Current town?
BVS: What do you love best about your city?
There is always so much to do, and I don’t just mean theme parks! There are great neighborhoods, restaurants, parks…I love getting out and about!
BVS: City hidden treasure?
Lake Eola, I love the hustle and bustle around 6:00pm right as everyone is taking their dogs for walks and grabbing an after work cocktail!
BVS: What music plays in the background as you write (if any)?
Upbeat, high energy stuff. This may or may not include a fair amount of Justin Bieber.
BVS: What is on your nightstand?
3 or 4 books I have the intention on finishing but haven’t seemed to find time yet, Burt’s Bee’s Lipbalm, notepad and pen for those ideas that strike at 2 a.m., and my phone!
BVS: What’s your vice?
Peanut M&Ms…what can I say? I can’t resist!
BVS: What are you reading right now? Any good?
I always have said 3 or 4 books going on at the same time … not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing?! And I’ll let you know if any of them are good when I get around to finishing one of them!
BVS: Other than blogging – what hobbies do you have?
I love to workout, farmer’s market trips, play around in my garden (turns out I have a bit of a green thumb), and go out with my favorite girl friends.
BVS: What is stylish to you?
Anyone who is confident in their clothes… confidence is key!
BVS: Favorite blog to follow?
BVS: Favorite shopping site?
BVS: Can’t live without beauty or makeup product?
BVS: If you have $100 right now what would you spend it on?
A much-needed massage!
BVS: Blog website? Blog’s Facebook? Twitter handle?
BVS: What’s next for you?
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!
Are you a fan of pretty stationary? What do you think of Ashley Brooke Designs? What inspires you? Have you turned a bad situation into something positive like Ashley did? Share with us in the comments below and let all these Fashionably Fab Females inspire you to be fabulous!