What started as a distraction to keep a curious girl content for a few minutes developed into a full-fledged business! Fashion & lifestyle blogger, Ashley Larea, is also the brains & designer behind her own line of handmade Ashley Larea Jewelry. Throughout her career, Ashley has learned what it takes to blend a blog & business and can confidently share how she has used the wild world of e-commerce to propel her line!
How did you start making jewelry and when did you decide you wanted to start selling jewelry?
I started making jewelry at a very young age. When I would visit my grandmothers house, she was at a loss to find a way to handle my ADHD self. She sat me down one day and taught me how to make stretchy bracelets with tiny seed beads. It instantly did more than hold my focus and keep me quiet. It became an outlet to design and be creative that my personality so craves. At the beginning of 2015, I saw a necklace that inspired me to create my own and the first day I wore it, someone offered to purchase it right off my neck! I realized I could revisit this old love of mine and make it new. Thus, Ashley Larea Jewelry was born!
You have a successful blog and a business. How did you incorporate your business into your blog?
Why thank you! I actually went to the Bloguettes Workshop to answer this question. I didn’t know if this was a possibility for me or if I was biting off more than I could chew. Being a fan-girl of bloggers nearly became an all day job for me until I gathered enough courage to book my first outfit shoot. I didn’t put on the fanciest or most expensive outfit on I had, I literally put on a pair of jeans and a plain jane top. If I was going to see if fashion blogging was for me, I wasn’t going to try to be anything else than 100% me.
You can not create content for something you are not passionate for and I took that seriously. I have always had a love for fashion but when I received my pictures back I saw the smile on my face. The expression spoke nothing less of happiness, confidence, comfortability, and excitement. Feelings that were so long absent and I suddenly knew I was on the right path. Business was booming when I launched my blog and it did put my jewelry in the back seat for a bit. I became obsessed with connecting with such strong authentic women sharing their opinions and thoughts to readers that really cared what they were saying. It then gave me a deeper drive to create jewelry for these incredible woman who embodied vulnerability, authenticity, and living life with an open heart and that’s what I hope comes out in my jewelry designs.
What shopping cart software do you use and why did you choose that specific software?
My website is on WordPress.org and I use Woo Commerce. I think the shopping cart feature on there is Simply Commerce. I am not totally in love with it and would love to explore more options but for right now, it hasn’t let me down! I also have to admit, I am not the savviest coder so there might be more options with the program, but I am clueless! I am still learning about WordPress and all that it offers. I always have to remind myself that you don’t start off being the best, but working everyday to do your best is all that matters.
How do you attract customers to your e-commerce site?
This is a good question. I think having people click over to the actual post and/or product is a constant obstacle. I love to work with bloggers and have them style Ashley Larea Jewelry in their own way to compliment their own style, which has been very beneficial. I do think styling a necklace says far more words than “Hey I just designed this, you should buy it!” I love when I see people in their everyday life use a piece that makes them feel good and capture it. Reaching out to local boutiques for trunk shoes is also a very good way to gain exposure to collaborate in mutually beneficially ways!