#startupmom: Ashley Cooper

Ashley Cooper Design Parlor Blog

Tell us about Ashley Cooper Design and how you got started

Ashley Cooper Design, LLC is a unique design studio specializing in fashion illustration, graphic design and textiles. I launched my company in May 2013 after being a finalist in a fashion illustration contest with Project Runway and Aquafina, called Pure Challenge. I went to NYC with the other finalists and my illustrations were such a hit I knew I had something I needed to create and share on a bigger scale. I opened my little online retail shop a few months later with a few illustrations that I sold as wall art and now my company has expanded to become a full service graphic design studio for branding, logos, digital content, theme and concepts creation for large companies including their conferences and meet ups, as well as textile design. 

What inspires you and your work?

I love Pinterest. If ever I am in a slump and need instant inspiration I jump on Pinterest where I find a plethora of inspiration from fashion to interior design to other graphic designer's work. I love music too, we are a family of music lovers and you will rarely find me working without some music playing in the background thanks to Spotify. I also share lots of what inspires from artists to products and people on my Instagram (@ashleycooperdesign) on Friday’s. We call it #ACDfeaturefriday. I believe in sharing what and who inspires you. I love sharing with my followers great finds that hopefully inspire them, too. 

Tell us about the adorable Cooper kiddos

I have three children, Dylan 5, Stella 3 1/2 and Goldie 14 months. My husband and I want at least one more child. My kids are awesome with fun personalities and happy dispositions. They all have their own independent personalities. Dylan is the chill, super laid back kid (he get’s it from his Father) with quick whit, Stella is Miss Independent, unknowingly hilarious and beautiful, and Goldie is a ray of sunshine who literally just makes everyone around her happy. 

Ashley Cooper using Covered Goods nursing cover

Did you take time off or scale back when you had your babes? 

When I started my business I already had two kids. A few months after I opened shop I found out I was pregnant with Goldie. I definitely scaled back on how many hours I was working right after I had Goldie. About a week or so after I had her I slowly resumed projects, working about 5-10 hours a week. Probably by the time Goldie was 6 months old I was working about 20-25 hours a week. Now I can work on average 30-40 hours a week. 

What do you love most about being a #startupmom?

I love that I am not only a mother, but I am a business woman, confident in my skill and working hard to build something for myself. There is no manual for the business I have created and where I want to it expand. I kind of love that, there are no limits and I really do believe anything is achievable with hard work and a clear business plan. If you follow through you are bound to make your dreams and your goals happen. 

What kind of mom are you?

I’m not a normal mom, I’m a cool mom! I would like to think so at least. I try to be open with my kids and have open communication about behaviors, situations and consequences. I like to laugh and be silly and a daily dance party is always a necessity. 

Any advice on first time motherhood or entrepreneurship (basically the same thing, right!?)? 

Go easy on yourself. Not everything will work out, there will be disappointments, but there will also be so many wonderful triumphs. Listen to your heart and follow your own path. Stay original and don’t worry about being like everyone else. 

 When and where do you get most of your work done?

I am completely and solely running my studio from my home. I absolutely love it. There are pro and cons to working from home, but the pros for me totally outweigh the cons. Someday, when my kids are older and all in school, I would love to have a separate work space and studio that is outside of my home, but for now, I love running my creative business seamlessly while being Mother. 

Ashley Cooper Design ShopFollow @AshleyCooperDesign on Instagram and leave a comment that you found them on Babies4Babies and they will send you a one time code for 50% off one illustration or typography print on AshleyCooperDesign.com.

What does a typical day look like for you?

On a good day, I will wake up around 5am when my kids are all still asleep and it’s quiet and I will begin my day with some personal reflection and spiritual study and have small bowl of fruit or juice. Then I answer emails, check Instagram, Pinterest, etc., maybe post something on social media, then I start on my design projects for the day. My kids usually wake up around 7:30am and I’ll make breakfast and we all get ready for the day. My kids usually head straight outside to play (they love playing outside even if that means during the hot Arizona summer heat). I keep a close eye on them and hop on the computer and work a little more. My day is very touch and go because I do work from home. I work when I can, but my children and life as a mother dictates our schedule, not my design work. My family and children always come first, even if that means less sleep for me to meet deadlines. Twice a week I take my kids to a babysitter for a couple of hours so I can focus on uninterrupted work. 

What was a time you felt like you were doing this mom thing really well?

The times when we make memories together, when we get out and do things. When we laugh and be silly...when my kids are happy, then I know I’ve done a good job.  

What’s the hardest part about being a #startupmom?

There are many hard things about being a mother, entrepreneur, business owner and creative. When you're starting a business, no one tells you how much time it takes just to keep the business afloat - behind the scene things like answering emails, keeping records straight, and creating creative marketing, in addition to creating new products, designs, and publishing content to build a social media presence AND stay relevant. It’s a juggling act that is constantly in motion. For the longest time I was a one woman show, doing it all. I feel lucky now to have a business partner, help watching my kids, and in the very near future a few employees.  

What’s your most recent brag-able accomplishment?

The nature of the design world is the projects I create with my clients are usually completed months before they're released, talked about or shared with the public. What I can share with you without disclosing too many details is I just finished creating 20+ custom illustrations for one of my favorite clients, online boutique owner of Shop Buru and Mother extraordinaire Morgan Hutchinson. Which powerhouse Mothers the custom illustrations are of and for? Follow @shopburu on Instagram to find out soon as she gives sneak peeks and final reveals. 

Ashley Cooper at home with her family

What is the best advice you ever received from another mom?

Sometimes when your children are the most frustrated or disobedient is when they are in need of the most love, so hug them and tell them how wonderful they are.

How did you find your mom friends?

I am lucky to be surrounded by some really great moms locally who I either knew before they were moms or are my neighbors, but I love this day in age of technology which has allowed me to connect with so many other moms who I just adore and would not have known otherwise because of the difference is where we reside. 

Where do you get your news?

Online usually, I’m not a big TV watcher, but I will check CNN and Women's Wear Daily on the regular for important news. ;)

What do you do for “me time”?

A fun GNO (girl’s night out) is always my first choice for “me time." I have some good girlfriends who keep my laughing and entertained constantly, so a night with them is sometimes all I need to know that they can relate to all the things I am going through as a parent. 

What would you never leave home without?

Sunglasses and Sunscreen.

What is your favorite chartable organization or cause?

People Water and Saving Mothers.

Your family in three words

Fun, Happy, Love.

What’s on your To Do List today? 

Hahaha my to-do list today…Ready?!

Dentist appt fror Dylan

Send Final files to Brickyard Buffalo for Guest Editor feature

Email Business Partner with updates on projects inquires for the week

Answer all follow up emails

Add new projects to the monthly calendar for August and September

Call Lauren about NYFW

Add Pin inspiration for website photography for launch of new website on Sept 1

Dylan’s hair cut appt at 3pm

Work Out

Take a Shower

Finish Line Sheets for Ampersand Ave

Sign and send Contract for “secret project”

Invoice clients from last weeks projects

Call my brother and wish him a happy birthday

Switch and start a load of laundry

QT run for an ice cold fountain Dr Pepper (my guilty pleasure)

FaceTime with my husband

 

Stay up to date with Ashley by following her #startupmom story on Instagram and her personal blog, Facebook, Twitter and her check out her pages on Pinterest for a little beauty and inspo.

 



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