Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth is all about serious DIY. So much so that she got to create a Sugar & Cloth color wall in Houston (see above) that has been the site of some serious 'gramming.
One look at the website that she launched in September 2011 after leaving Marshall University where she studied Art & Design, moving to Houston and following her dreams, you'll quickly find the injection of color she's put into the blogosphere was much needed. The blogger self-admittedly takes a lot of coffee and macaroon breaks, but she's also the proof in the blog pudding that committing to an idea is sometimes the best idea of all.
We caught up with Ashley in anticipation of Create & Cultivate ATL where she'll be joining us on panel to chat all things craft, creativity, and DIY-why not.
Was there a project where you thought, this is impossible but I’m going to try! And it turned out?
Being a DIY blog, I have A LOT of these, haha! It’s a good mix of trying to reinvent the wheel but it either turns as: a literal pile of trash, pretty but much harder than I anticipated, or it turns out amazing and I even surprise myself!
What lessons have you learned from DIY’ing? That apply to life?
That you’ll win some, you’ll lose some, and everyone is going to have an opinion. What really counts is that you’re honest and true to yourself about the outcome, whatever it is.
DIY is more than a craft-- it’s a choice, a frame of mind-- to do it yourself. What other parts of your life are about “doing it yourself?”
I think in general DIY is simply a frame of mind that speaks independence for whatever you’re creating, doing, or achieving.
What parts of your life do you let go of the reigns a little bit?
Outside of work decisions, I’m actually much more go with the flow, ha! When it comes to where we eat, who drives, what our weekend plans are. I’m pretty much game for whatever as long as deadlines have been met. We definitely make it a point to spend time with friends and family each week.
When you first got started you were working on your blog full time and had a full time job. What have you learned about balance and pursuing your passion?
It’s funny how working multiple jobs seems super exhausting to some people, but once you’ve done it, you learn really quickly how to process through what absolutely needs to get done first. It really helps you prioritize, because you essentially have no choice not to if you’re going to do two jobs well. In some ways I’d say I was even more productive with my time back then. It’s easy to get lost in little details when time allows.
What would you say to women in the same boat right now? Even as simple as how many hours is reasonable to put in?
My best advice is to say — Don’t sweat the small stuff. Whether that means not letting an unkind comment get to you, moving on from a failed DIY, or letting go of the struggle to get it all done before bedtime. It’s not worth spending your energy on worrying about things unnecessarily.
What’s your favorite part of working in a creative field?
Always getting to dream up the next new thing!
Do you ever run out of DIY-ideas? What happens when you’re coming up empty?
I definitely struggle in A LOT of small business areas (hello, accounting and all things taxes), but running out of ideas thankfully isn’t one of them. When I do start to feel complacent with some ideas, I try to just move on to one I am excited about to get the good juju flowing again.
When you live a Pinterest-looking lifestyle, it can be hard to keep up appearances, or have everything look curated all of the time. What are some of the BTS difficulties?
First world problems, am I right?! Ha! It’s definitely super easy for me to get burnt out on social media for that reason, or even just have the constant feeling of keeping up with the Joneses because it’s my entire job basically. I think every online personality feels that at some point, but at the end of the day I think the most important reminder is to not think more highly of yourself than you ought to.
Where do you see the blog world evolving?
It’s basically a new generation of free reality TV! Or at least I keep pretty entertained by it ;)
I don’t think the blog world has hit it’s prime yet, but it’s definitely getting quickly saturated. To keep up at this point, you really have to hustle and be a forward thinker to make it a longstanding career move instead of becoming an overnight, internet one-hit-wonder.
A product line with Target or Amazon!
How important is your Instagram game? Is Snapchat part of your social strategy and how are you using it?
Instagram has become a huge part of our business. Within the last year it’s come super close to being our highest earning platform, and we’ve now started focusing a lot more on Snapchat for the sake of feeling more real. It may or may not take off like IG, but it’s a great tool for followers to see a real, everyday you without the Pinterest-esque smoke and mirrors.
What’s the messiest room in your house/What is your favorite?
Messiest is definitely my closet! My favorite would be my bedroom, I LOVE a good Saturday sleeping in.
What does Sugar & Cloth mean to you?
It’s an attainable place for everyday inspiration. And even if I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d still be making pretty things to share there. You know it’s a passion project when you’d be there regardless of your circumstances.
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