Ever thought of starting a creative biz after hours? Meet Ashlea – She moonlights as a interior design blogger & etsy maker
For years I thought about starting a creative biz after hours. It’s such a common dream to have and something that always gets put off until later. So, this month we’re having a heart to heart with Ashlea from Glamour Coastal Living. She lives and creates on the Sunshine Coast of Australia where the sea, salt and sun seems to have sunk into her bones, inspiring her work and her infectious positive attitude.
Ashlea works hard during the day and after hours moonlights as a blogger and Etsy maker. She’s one of the first creative online friends I made way back when I started blogging. We used to email each other about how we were working hard building our mini empires after hours, we were so busy but had so many creative ideas to get onto. Her encouragement as a fellow Aussie creative went a long way and I’m really proud to say we are both still chipping away at what we started a few years ago. x Yen Taylor
Hey Ashlea, introduce yourself to our readers! Tell us a bit about yourself…
Hello! I am Ashlea, I live on the southern Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia and love the lifestyle living on the coast. The early morning beach walks, the endless sunshine (yes Queensland is actually called the Sunshine State!) and fabulous cafes and food. I am a massive foodie and love trying new cafes each weekend.
I call myself a house enthusiast as I am interior and home obsessed. I have a life & style blog where I share my home enthusiasm with my readers – posting home tours, shopping picks, inspiration and also snippets of my life.
I have always loved creating and working with my hands. I made a dreamcatcher for my bedroom one day and fell in love with how it turned out and wanted to create more – so I started selling them online via Etsy. I now have expanded my range and sell handmade dreamcatchers and timber bead garlands.
What is your workspace really like?
I run my blog and creative Etsy business from home, most of the time from my kitchen table! I like being creative rom my kitchen table as it has a lovely outlook of the garden and has plenty of natural light.
What drives you in what you do?
I love having an outlet where I can be creative with my mind, creating beautiful visuals on my blog and then with my hands with my dreamcatcher and garland creations.
What drives me to do it initially is on a personal level – being creative is so good for the soul! It is so different to my 9am – 5pm job, where I run a Construction business with my Husband, so it is an outlet for me to do what makes me smile. I always say it allows me to get in touch with my more feminine side, after dealing with construction sites and tradies all day!
Secondly, the drive for me is knowing that I am bringing some beauty and inspiration into someone’s life. I have sold my creations from Perth to California and beyond and it makes me smile receiving the kind words and photos from a happy customer.
Where are you at right now? What are your proud of?
2015 was a great year for Glamour Coastal Living.
I feel like I was blessed with some wonderful opportunities and as a result have made some wonderful friends and a supportive network of fellow bloggers and creatives! Being a top 30 Finalist for Kidspot Home & Wellbeing category definitely was my proudest achievement, the opportunities that came of that were incredible and I feel very blessed to be a part of such an amazing Australian Blogging and Creative community!
Right now, I am just letting everything take its own path and direction in 2016. I feel like I have not put as much pressure on myself to regularly be making new creations for my store or writing a new blog post. Instead I do it when I feel like it and want to.
You have to be creative in your own time and let the love and thoughtfulness shine through. It cannot be forced!
Tell us about your audience/customers
Glamour Coastal Living has a wide audience on the blog – predominantly females and those who are fellow home and interior lovers.
My creative dreamcatchers and garlands in my online store tie into this same audience – it’s also mostly female and those wanting to add a little boho beauty to their home, bedroom, living space or nursery.
What challenges have you faced in your creative work?
There are so many other talented creatives out there. It is hard to create a product that is different and not already on the market. In saying that, each product I make are unique and one off as they are all created using vintage doilies. I love this aspect of it, that I can never replicate and have two of the same.
What is your favourite thing to share on your blog?
I love sharing home tours on Glamour Coastal Living, showing my readers inside real homes. I have a wonderful network of fellow house and interior loving friends on Instagram and they are always putting their hand up to be featured and share a little about themselves and their home which is so nice. I love showing people’s individual styles and how they incorporate it into their home – their sanctuary.
What would you tell women wanting to do what you do what you do?
If you feel a pull to be more creative, then do it. We must live as our true authentic selves to be happy and feel fulfilled. For me, my life was lacking ‘prettiness’, as I mentioned earlier, working in the Construction industry is not so feminine, so I took a plunge down this creative path to reconnect with my girly side. I was enjoying reading other people’s blogs and spending a lot of time on Instagram to get my fix and then I thought, ‘Why can’t I have my own?!’
So just do it. Don’t procrastinate. Take the plunge if it is what you feel would make you happy. Start a blog, write a book, start an online creative Etsy business, whatever it is that will give you that creative outlet and allow you to mingle (in an online sense) with other like-minded creative people.
Any other creative business tips that you’ve discovered lately that you’d like to share?
If you have a creative project or blog that you are trying to get off the ground, then invest time into your social media. Social media and growing an audience, readers and followers is hard work. It’s all about interaction and networking. Take the time to write an email, or leave a comment on social media that is genuine and thoughtful. It has worked wonders for me and I have been so lucky to meet some wonderful people and even be a part of some fun ‘Insta-meets’ where I have been fortunate enough to meet these like-minded creative people on Instagram (my favourite social media platform!).
Is there something about you, your life or work that might surprise my readers?
Let’s see…Here are some fun facts about me:
I married my high school sweetheart and we have known each other since we were fourteen.
Dinner is my favourite meal of the day – all day I look forward to it!
I don’t drink coffee, but I have a coffee machine and love the smell of it and making it for other people.
I grew up in Byron and used to ride my pushbike along the sand to school each day.
I wanted to be an architect when I was younger and loved drawing house plans and studying designs.
I love camping and sleeping out under the stars by a campfire. Nothing beats starry nights!