Ashley Jones, a mom of three, knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur ever since she was a little kid. While other girls were busy dressing up Barbies, she used her imagination to play “business.” She decided to pursue business management as a college major, while gaining experience running a transportation company with her father.
The self-admitted, do-it-yourselfer knew that as she crafted her vision for Bloom Kids Collection there were two characteristics that were important to her: 1) creating a boutique with a purpose, and 2) filling the virtual shelves with products she would use for her own children. She and her business partner, Jayme, are proof that you can mix business and pleasure, as the two co-owners share another connection: as sisters-in-law—a relationship, Ashley says, that succeeds because of their strong communication.
Today, Ashley is reflecting on the journey of watching her dream transform into a reality, with her online children’s boutique stocked full of brands that she is proud to showcase. Get to know her with this behind-the-scenes look into the personal and professional chapters of her life:
What encouraged you to want to open a small business?
My grandmother. She was in real estate, and my favorite thing to do growing up was to go to work with her. I have always looked up to her. She is and always has been such a strong and independent woman. (Side note: She’s currently 82 years old and still push mows her yard and trims her own bushes—that to me, is impressive). Her hard work, dedication, and will to succeed inspired me to be an entrepreneur at a very young age.
What has been the hardest lesson learned so far?
Balance, for sure. Finding a balance between running a business and being a wife and mother to three children. There never seems like there’s enough time in the day to get everything done. I’m a list person, and I’ve got lists for days!
Do you have any go-to activities for “me time”?
I’m a mom, so I don’t have many hobbies these days. Is shopping considered a hobby?! I LOVE to shop! I prefer online shopping over going to the store, though. That way I don’t have to drag the kids out or find a sitter, and it’s so much more convenient—not to mention, I can do it in my PJs.
Is there anyone you look to as a mentor for business, either well-known or not? If so, what about that person inspires you?
My husband, James. He’s been so encouraging and supportive from day one. He’s my biggest cheerleader and is always willing to offer advice when I need it! He’s so positive, and his faith, determination, drive, and can-do attitude inspire me daily.
Name two goals you have for 2018.
To grow our business—and our giving.
What’s your favorite quote?
Life is too short to be anything but happy.
What book are you currently reading?
Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba.
What would you recommend someone think about before starting a business?
Passion, time, and perseverance. Make sure it’s something you are passionate about. A business requires a lot of time, so you want it to be something you truly love and enjoy. It has to be nurtured almost like a child. (I sometimes jokingly refer to Bloom as my fourth child.)
Every business has unexpected issues arise; you just have to be prepared for the unknown and be willing to persevere through them.