Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Walling.
Hi Ashley, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In 2017, I started my small business Ash Art in Nashville, Tennessee. At the time, I was attending college at Trevecca in Nashville, TN pursuing a degree in communication studies. My grandmother had passed away in 2015 and I was looking for something to do in her memory. There were a bunch of mason jars leftover that were passed down to me that used to be my grandmothers and instead of keeping them in kitchen cabinets, I wanted to make something beautiful out of them. I painted a few mason jars and it all started from there & I decided to name it Ash Art. In 2017 there was a job opening at a local boutique called Bits & Pieces in my hometown of Nashville. One of the students that I went to school with posted the job opportunity at my college. I started working there as a shopkeeper. The shop was full of antiques, vendor booths, boutique clothing, records & it was so inspiring. The owner of the shop, Aubrey Prosser, had a few students who included their art in her store & sold it as vendors.
By 2018, I had my first vendor booth at Bits & Pieces Antique Boutique in Nashville, Tennessee. I had a small stand with painted mason jars, vintage clothing & jewelry. That year I began growing my business in other craft fairs and shops around town. In 2019 I graduated college and was still running my business. I decided to keep it going even though I took a job in Nashville within the country music television industry. My job in country music has inspired me in my small business growth. I grew up listening to country music and have a passion for the outfits country music stars wore on the Opry stage. The world of rhinestones & fringe soon came to be a part of my business and I developed a passion for embellishing jackets, shoes, hats & more. In 2021 I came across an opportunity to open a vendor booth in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This past October, I opened a booth at Painted Tree Marketplace as a second location. Ash Art is now located at two stores in Middle Tennessee: Bits & Pieces Antique Boutique in Nashville, TN inside the heart of Germantown & Painted Tree Marketplace in Murfreesboro, TN.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The main struggle I had was while I was in college. It took up a lot of my time & I had very little time to blossom or grow my business. Once I graduated is when my business really started to take off & grow. I had time to develop my passion and know what kind of pieces I was interested in creating. I watch a lot of fashion trends and try to make sure that I put my own personal spin and want the items to of course sell. I enjoy being a part of many women’s trips to Nashville. Whether it’s an embellished hat, fringe jacket, piece of jewelry or pair of rhinestone shoes that they take home- I want to make sure that people like my products and know that there was a passion or person behind that product. My vendor booth is not a chain business. Small businesses have had it very rough this past year from 2020-2021. Buying something local is supporting people’s passions and hobbies.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I work in television as a programming coordinator at a country music & lifestyle network. Country music has been a major influence on what type of styles I have designed within my small business, Ash Art. I think what sets me apart from others is that I developed this at nothing more than a hobby and it grew into something that I look forward to each day.
Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
The very first step I took being a vendor, I didn’t know if any of my items were going to sell. I just had to test it out and begin to see what people like or what they may want to take home that is unique when visiting Nashville. Once I got over that fear of something not selling is when I really began to flourish. Instead of wondering if something was going to sell, I just started making things that I liked, and that’s when I think others began to like it too. It caught attention. I want to make things flashy! With bling, rhinestones, all of the fringe…something you would see on a vinyl music cover from the 1950s all the way to the 90’s. That’s what inspires me.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ashart.tn/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AshArt.tn