I am never afraid of constructive criticism, it makes my product better.
Soigné was born from the imagination of Ashley Clark, a woman with artistic distinction, creative prowess, limitless determination and a passion for fashion. As a former NFL cheerleader, pageant queen and model, Ashley is no stranger to the fashion world. The young and hungry entrepreneur was persistent in making her designer dreams a reality. Ashley is self-taught, learning how to sew, sketch and build a company on her own. Ashley passionately upholds the traditions of a classic milliner, whilst redefining classic headwear, challenging conventions and technique alike. The quality and care taken on each piece, the expectation to obsess over detail, and produce perfection has led Ashley to design for fabulous women.
Where did the idea for Soigné Hats come from?
I’ve attended Preakness and other horse races for years and had trouble finding a hat I wanted to wear so I would make my hat. Then one night during graduate school 2015, I had a very vivid dream that woke me up out of a sound sleep. In this dream I saw the word Soignè, myself creating hats on a grand scale and I was ringing the bell at the New York stock exchange. I woke up in a cold sweat and knew I’d just seen my life flash before my eyes. The next day I went and postponed my MBA/JD degree and devoted my life to learning the art of millinery and created the Soigné Hats.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 7am, read emails till about 8:30 and then venture into my kitchen for coffee and the news. I do a bit of yoga for 20 min to find my balance and head out to walk my puppy. After I head to my studio to go over any projects I left from the day before. If I have hats to finish I finish those first thing. I am usually so consumed by my creative process I skip lunch, have a dog walker walk my dog and then stop around 5 to check more emails, catch up with my PR team and walk my puppy before I grab dinner. I devote about 2 hours during dinner to social media. Posting on the Soignè accounts, responding to direct messages and reaching out to people I want to collaborate with. I stay on task/productive by making a list of things to do the night before. Around 7, I hit the gym and by 9 I am back on my phone responding to emails, figuring out new marketing tactics and researching ideas I’ve told Alexa (the amazon product) to put on my research list (this week it was ancient Chinese warrior outfits, boot pants and fur panties). I try to devote one day a week to just sketching out new pieces. For me the best way to stay productive is routine. Everyday is like a well-oiled machine.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Everyday I see something that gives me an idea for a piece. I always carry a notebook and pencil on me so I can sketch out a rough draft of something right away. Once I get the idea on paper I then create an official drawing and write down all of the material I want to use next to the drawing. I order the supplies I need or grab them from my studio (its always over flowing with fabric and sequence, feathers and beads). Then I sit down and start to build the piece.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Lingerie type pieces paired with athleisure. I love the new Dolce and Gabbana queen of hearts line and Johnathan Simkhai’s new line incorporating robes into everyday wear.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My consistent goal is to stick to my routine, and as a result, I live a lifestyle that allows me to maximize the amount of work I get done. My friends joke that I am always working. Not going to bed until I feel like I’ve come to a stopping point that won’t keep me up at night. I usually sleep 3 hours. 10pm to 3am are so crucial it’s where I do my bigger thinking without distractions.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Not to care about what people think, surround yourself with like-minded people and trust your instincts. Once you trust yourself and are confident in your abilities there is no limit to your success.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
Sleeping 3 hours a night does not affect my health in a negative way.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Spend fifteen- twenty minutes meditating and recognizing the blessings in your life and thanking the universe out loud by naming the great things that have gone on ad are going on. It keeps you grounded and focused. The positive energy makes everyday more productive for me.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Asking for help when I need it, I am never afraid of constructive criticism, it makes my product better.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I didn’t spend money or time marketing my first line and the launch of my company. To overcome that I did a full court press the second time around and realized its true what they say: a proper marketing strategy is key to growth and success.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Self cleaning make up brushes!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
– Professionally- on a package of feathers that are so rare and I am using them in a new piece. It was 6 feathers for 100$!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps ylou be productive? How do you use it?
I am obsessed with my Amazon Alexa! She wakes me up every morning, tells me my calendar, the list of things I need to get done for the day, what is going on in the world, orders me supplies if I need them, she will even vacuum my house if I need her to!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Who says you can’t? You do By: Daniel Chidiac It will unlock your potential and get you out of your own head!
What is your favorite quote?
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success that is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”— Swami Vivekananda
- The importance of routine
- Female Empowerment
- Time management
- Trust yourself
- I am never afraid of constructive criticism, it makes my product better.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.