1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Ashley. I'm 21 years old and live in Louisiana. I've been with my boyfriend, Will, for six years. He encourages me to follow my dreams and do my best, even when that means starting a business from scratch with no plans and no idea what I'm doing. We have four dogs; Martini the Miniature Pinscher and Marie the Catahoula Cur, along with two of her babies Magic and Skunk. We also have a horse named Peppy and Will owns bucking bulls also.
You can usually find me in my kitchen cooking and baking, at my computer designing or curled up with a good book. We spend a lot of our free time at rodeos. Will is a bull rider and he is also a stock contractor when he's not working as a Correctional Officer. I'm a huge crafter. I love to make things, I love anything that is DIY and I am a huge vintage nut. I could spend hours doing nothing but thrifting!
2. What do you make and how did you get into this?
I specialize in paper goods; invitations, stationery, business cards, etc. I also work on photo edits, Photoshop tutorials, brochures, banners, product hang tags, shirts, tote bags and magnets. I have previously made designs for bands and various designers to use in their own work.
I've always been a huge art fan. I was always painting or drawing and when I was 11 I was introduced to the digital aspect of design. It was my first design program, Paint Shop Pro. After playing with that for a while I branched off into Animation Shop, which held my interest for many years. I always thought I would end up searching out a career in Animation but I started to get away from it in the years to come. When I was 15 I got my first taste of Photoshop and I was hooked. Since then, it's one of the only programs I will touch. I currently use Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Illustrator CS5.
3. Why did you name your shop Fancy Designs?
I honestly wish that I had a cool story behind this but when it comes to naming things, it's definitely not my strong point. It basically came down to ______ Designs. I knew I would keep it simple and pop Designs after something but picking the main name was hard. I had a list of names and none of them seemed right. Most of my screen names were Fancybelle. (Fancy plus belle as in southern belle.) Fancy is one of my favorite songs and I love something about the word fancy, so I can basically thank my strong love for Reba McEntire's music when it comes to nailing down the name Fancy Designs.
4. Where and when do you like to create?
Last year when I made the decision to run my own business we decided to turn our guest bedroom into an office space/guest bedroom. One corner is basically all mine (and one day hopefully we will have an entire room to make MINE.) My work days are usually 8am-4pm but I don't have a track schedule. I've had work days that lasted 6am-3am. I'm apparently a terrible boss!
5. What or who inspires you?
I'm inspired by everything. Nature, books, movies, clothing. There is inspiration all around us. Some days I will see someone who has a really funky fashion and all of a sudden I will have an idea running in my head to design something that I feel embraces her fashion. I could sit and look at colors for hours. I love piecing together colors that I would never dare put together and being pleasantly surprised at how well they work together. I am constantly doodling away in my idea book. I feel like my dreams are even a source of inspiration. I can't begin to count how many times I have bounded out of bed and into my office to sketch a design I was thinking about in my dreams.
6. What’s the best thing you’ve ever made?
I don't think I've made it yet. I'm not trying to sound modest, I just believe that my best is yet to come!
I do, however, have a favorite which is my Vintage Floral Stationery. I love everything about this design and it's definitely one of my most popular stationery designs.
7. When you create what do you like to drink, snack on, listen to, or watch?
I'm usually drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper, Coke Zero or a nice cup of hot tea when I'm designing, it just depends on the time of the day. Apples, bananas, yogurt, hummus and rice crackers, and baby carrots are some of my favorite snacks! I would definitely advice all who love hummus to avoid contact with your keyboard at all costs. It's definitely not fun to try to scrape hummus out of a keyboard! Luckily I don't have a tv in my office, so when I work I'm not watching something that can potentially distract me.
I have a specific playlist that I listen to when I'm working. It changes a lot but the constants are usually Matisyahu, Passafire, Jack Johnson, Alexi Murdoch, Ray LaMontagne, Givers, Florence + The Machine, The Fray, Mason Jennings, Gary Jules, Mishka and The Shins.
8. What skill would you love to learn and who would you like to be your teacher?
I'd love to learn how to knit (though I will fully admit I think I lack the patience to actually learn how.) I'm not sure of any very patient knitting teachers, but if there is one out there who thinks she/he is ready for a lost cause, I'd love for them to take me on!
9. What are you working on now and what are your goals for the future?
Right now my main focus is new products and advertising. I spent last year putting my profits back into my business and this year I am spending more time on that but I'm also looking to branch out. I hope to have two new shops open and running this year. My main goal for this year was to stay focused and advertise.
My future goals include what I'm doing now but I would really love to one day own a boutique. I want to be able to sell the things I love made by wonderful and talented designers as well as my own designers to people from my very own store front!
10. What are your five favorite websites? And why?
Young House Love: DIY, house crashing, decorating!
I Heart Organizing: I love all the organization tips!
Facebook: It's Facebook, maybe it's not so much I like it as I'm obsessed with it.
Freckled Nest: I adore this website. I feel like it's all the things I love rolled into one neat and adorable package.
Zazzle: If it wasn't for this website or the designers I met through this website, I wouldn't be where I am today.
11. Where can we find you online?
Simply Kelly Designs