Once upon a time, I set out to develop a line a gluten-free baking mixes. The research & development process was incredibly tasty and I relished the opportunity to work with a graphic designer on the packaging. The whole experience was pretty sweet…until it wasn’t. In a relatively short period of time, things got sticky and some unsavory circumstances left me back at square one with a fresh perspective and absolute determination. Oh, and a lot less money than I started out with. But I am living proof that necessity is the mother of invention and a firm believer that it resulted in some of my best work. Over a few short weeks, I single-handedly conceived, designed and launched my company, kitch & table, from our little home. A year and a half later, I would say goodbye to my first, moderate showing of success but with a lot of good memories and many more gadgets in my cupboard (fyi, that was a really corny euphemism for “experience”). Circa 2008, amidst the housing market crazies, Ashley Brooke Daniel found herself out of a job and again, necessity worked its inventive magic. So, she took her future into her own hands and pooled resources in order to launch her (outrageously adorable) eponymous design firm, Ashley Brooke Designs. She is the mastermind behind the most incredible custom illustrations and a slew of cheeky, must-have products like hand-calligraphy mugs and tees. I have no doubt Plato would be (so super) proud.
NAME Ashley Brooke Daniel
LOCATION Orlando, Florida
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND UCF Business School, 2005 to 2008; Associate of Science in Interior Design, Seminole State College
COMPANY Ashley Brooke Designs
Tell me a bit about your company & how you got started. Honestly, it was an idea that was birthed out of necessity. I was laid off from my fancy interior design job when the market crashed and just decided that I needed to do something and do something fast. No one was hiring for ANYTHING, so I decided to do my best to take control of the situation and start something. I put all my skills together with the resources I had, and Ashley Brooke Designs was born. It’s been pretty crazy.
My family is amazing, and lucky for me I grew up with parents who were and are still today successful, creative entrepreneurs. My parents run a high-end photography company, so I pretty much grew up in their studio playing with old negatives and watercolors… so I guess you could say I was destined to be some sort of entrepreneur–I didn’t really know there was any other option.
Your shop has a great mix of cheeky mugs, tanks & party decor. What inspires your collection? How often do you add new designs & products? Truly? My everyday life. My life in general is a bit crazy, and so the sassiness and the touch of girly-snark just comes out and I realize, “Gosh! That would be cute on a mug!” I have stopped designing for what I think my clients might like and I’ve started designing for myself and things that I need… like a Happy Thoughts notepad!
Your custom illustrations are too cute! So perfectly personal. Tell me about the design process for those custom projects. Thank you!! I love working on new projects and our custom projects are my favorite. Our process is super fun and unique to each client. We like to think that our clients end up being our best friends once the design process is over…and let’s be honest, it doesn’t get any better than that!
What has been the highlight of ABD to date? There have honestly been so very many. I am truly shocked each and every day that this is my job. Everyday has a new highlight!
Apart from creating fun & completely adorable designs, what do you do? Oh gosh, I love to cook (#inthekitchenwithABD), spin, farmer’s market (it’s totally a verb too!), hunt for treasures in antique stores, and get all gussied up for date nights!
Let’s travel back in time a few years. What advice would you give yourself on taking the plunge into entrepreneurship? Be ready to fail and fail often, and ask questions…. never be afraid to ask questions! Persistence and willing to try new things is key.
Fast-forward five years. Where do you hope to see your company? Oh wow! Well, a lady does not spill her secrets! What I can tell you? The next few years are looking very bright and very sassy!!
Guilty pleasure? Oreos
Favorite TV show? Scandal
Cake or pie? C-A-K-E
Perfect Sunday? Church, brunch, nap, walk with Lucy, and dinner alfresco
Last book you read? Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
All photos © Ashley Brooke Designs