Meet Ashlee Meadows, Jewelry Designer & Creator of Ash Jewelry Studio.
Ashlee Meadows is the kind of woman we aspire to be: family-oriented, but also creative and career-minded. While Ashlee is a mom first and foremost, she also values the time that she has devoted to her growing jewelry business, Ash Jewelry Studio. We sat down with this fellow Charlotte native to learn about her success as a small business owner and how she handles family and work life balance. Read on for our interview with Ashlee.
Name: Ashlee Meadows
Occupation: Jewelry Designer and Creator of Ash Jewelry Studio
Resides: Huntersville, N.C.
Education: BFA in Ceramics, BYU.
How did you get into jewelry making? Was it something you’ve always been interested in?
While I was in college studying ceramics I never imagined I would be creating jewelry. After graduation I was teaching art and making lots of pottery. I started experimenting with jewelry and I got hooked. I love working small and I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to craftsmanship so jewelry is a perfect fit for me.
Do you do this full-time or are you involved in other ventures?
I guess I work on my business part-time, but it’s getting to be more involved as I spend more and more hours on it each day. The only other “venture” that I’m involved with is my family. My husband and I have three little girls so I am busy doing all the regular mom stuff as well as creating and running my own business. I try to work on my business while they are at school and after bedtime.
What does a typical day look like for you?
After I get my three girls off to school my work day begins. Normally this time is spent filling orders or doing administrative stuff. After school I’m back to mom mode trying to help my kids with homework and making dinner. When the girls are finally asleep in their beds – that’s when I get to create. I’m a night owl so my brain is awake and I turn the music on and get to work.
If it’s not top secret, can you describe for us the process of making porcelain jewelry?
Each piece begins its life as raw, wet, unformed porcelain clay. It is formed by hand, glazed, gilded and fired three separate times over the course of its creation. The entire process takes me about a week from start to finish, but when I open the kiln after the final firing to see the finished pieces it’s worth all the effort. Then each piece is ready to be strung onto a 14k gold filled chain or attached to 14k gold filled earrings.
Why is porcelain the medium you choose to primarily work with?
As far as different types of clay, porcelain is the whitest in color and the most refined. I love the texture of porcelain when it’s fired to its full maturity. It has a raw yet pristine feeling, which pairs beautifully with the smooth shine of the glaze.
What inspires you?
The actual process of creating is what inspires me most. When I create a piece I’m often inspired to push myself – to take it one step further and then even one more step towards something more beautiful or more successful than my original idea.
For someone who wants to start their own business, what advice do you have?
I would say don’t put off getting started until everything is perfect. Start now. Learn as you go. After you get a few sales you’ll have more direction and hopefully be able to create a more cohesive line around your most successful items. Take the time to improve the photography, the branding, and the packaging as you go. These things will all add value to your work so that you can charge enough to make it worth your time to create your product.
Who are some of your favorite jewelry designers?
How have you been able to grow your online business?
Etsy has been very instrumental in getting my business off the ground. In addition to selling directly to customers, I get approached by shops within the US and internationally about wholesale via etsy. I now sell on my own website as well, which means that I’ve had to take a more active role with marketing and social media. Also, I’m just now starting an email newsletter to help spread the word.
Most memorable #GIRLBOSS moment to date:
Seeing my work at the gift shop at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art located in the heart of the Queen City was a pretty awesome moment. I felt like a proud parent to see my little creations on display in such an amazing space.
What are your hopes and plans for the future of Ash Jewelry Studio?
I’m designing a new collection right now that should be on my site within the next month or so. It features pieces that are modern and simple as always, but a bit more sculptural than my original collection- more three dimensional. I’ve been experimenting with some new earrings and even a few rings. If you follow me on Instagram @ashjewelrystudio, you will get a peek at some of my new ideas.
Ashlee Outside of Ash Jewelry Studio:
Favorite place to eat in the QC: My kitchen table. Maybe this is totally boring but I really like cooking yummy, healthy food for my family.
Best vacation you have ever taken: We just spent the holidays at North Carolina’s Outer Banks with my entire family. We were able to find a home that accommodated my parents’ six children and their 25 grandchildren. It was the best just because I was with the people I love most in this whole world.
What you’re reading now: The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. (I don’t think I’m the only creative person out there who is sometimes a disorganized mess ;))
What you’re listening to now: Mumford and Sons Pandora station. My favorite song of theirs is “Murder in the City”. The title sounds morbid but if you listen to the words it has such a touching message.
What you’re watching on TV now: When I watch TV I’m normally working on my jewelry in some way. For this reason I like shows like American Idol or The Voice because I can listen while my eyes are focused on work.
Ash Jewelry Studio + Topaz & Sapphire Team Up For a Giveaway!
We’ve teamed up with Ashlee of Ash Jewelry Studio and are giving away this beautiful triangle necklace (a $60 value!) to one of our lucky readers. We handpicked this piece to giveaway because it’s classy, timeless, and can be incorporated into any woman’s everyday wardrobe! To be entered into the giveaway you must:
- Follow BOTH Topaz & Sapphire and Ash Jewelry Studio on Instagram.
- Like this picture on Topaz & Sapphire’s Instagram.
- Tag a friend in the comments of the same Insta picture (more friends tagged = more entries, but separate comments please.)
For additional entries, follow us and Ash Jewelry Studio on our different social channels:
Winner will be announced next Wednesday, April 13th on our Instagram account so be sure to follow along! Good luck! XO