How long have you been creating jewelry?
So my line, Accessories by ASH officially started in May of 2010, but i've been making/selling stuff for years. I used to sell friendship bracelets in Elementary school, then I got a sewing machine for my 16th birthday and I moved onto making bags and clothing. Then I started a design club in college and started to sell my wares in the student union.
What's special about your business?
I think the core of ASH is all about making a statement and wearing unique pieces. I've always been able to look at something and see how it can be repurposed. ASH are my initials, but it's caused some confusion. People have started to think my name is Ashley. Even acquaintances for years will start to doubt my name.
I like to say I have a business on a budget. My friends have been a huge part of starting my business. A friend from college hooked me up with the photographer that took the pictures of my first collection. My current photographer, model, makeup person, logo, PR director and website were all connected to me through friends. It's been amazing how something so personal has gotten others so excited. It seemed like such a daunting task to start a jewelry company, but i've been pleasantly surprised how easy it was and how willing people are to help.
On your website, you write that part of your inspiration comes from when you worked on a documentary about lobster fishermen. How did that come about?
Senior year in college I took a documentary film class. Our final project was to make a film, so my group chose to do one on wooden boatbuilding in Maine. We hung out with some amazing and passionate lobster fishermen. I've always been attracted to texture and woven bright colors, so when I saw the knots they made while on the water, I knew I had to learn them. I learned the basic ones from fishermen during shoot breaks in the boat yard. I started to make some of my own, and experiment with whatever cord I would find. I've been making these knots ever since but only recently started putting them on chains and making them into necklaces. Now I want to knot everything. I love rope, I think there is something so organic about it.
What other sources do you draw inspiration from in your work?
In terms of inspiration, I work in the fashion industry so I do get trend reports and downloads from the runway shows, but I don't really use them for direction or inspiration. I get inspired when i see a cool piece of chain and play with it for a while. I don't sketch anything out, everything is thought out while i actually make it. When it comes to my materials, i sometimes let them find me. I'll walk into a trimming store in Vermont and see they are going out of business, i'll buy a box of assorted tassels or cord and then see what i can do with it. If it works, i buy more and include it in the line. If not i have a one of a kind piece that i keep around for future inspiration. My line tends to grow and extend upon itself, rather than off of runway trends. Part of the fun of designing is the challenge and allowing yourself to truly be creative without an end goal, without trying to fit into notions of saleability.
How did you find out about Jimdo?
I found Jimdo when looking to build my ecommerce site. I have very basic coding skills, so I wanted a template driven interface that I could easily manipulate and update. I had been using one of Jimdo's competitors but I found the customer service to be horrible, really stale responses. I love the zoom in feature on the item pages. It's really helpful for my customers to be able to see all the detail of my items.
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