Posted on 10 October 2018
Meet Ashley Janelle - "Five years ago I launched Grecian Garb, an apparel company for black Greek letter organizations. The mission of the company is to help people best express themselves through what they wear while doing what they love. As the creative director, designer and owner/operator, I have been pushing the brand and myself to go beyond the average apparel store and maintain a memorable and respected company. Being a black woman in the tech industry fuels my passion to become more visible for other people of color, as a result, this platform was created. Design, technology, fashion and entrepreneurial savvy are only a few components that comprise the creative cocktail that is Ashley Janelle. I hope you enjoy the ride and I look forward to enjoying it with you all." ViA www.AshleyJanelle.com (SISS) Hi Ashley where are you from and where are you currently spending your time? (Ashley Janelle) I’m originally from and currently in Chicago. (SISS) Blogger, UX Designer www.ashleyjanelle.com #SISS Tell us more, who is @TheAshleyJanelle and what are you most proud of? (Ashley Janelle) I’ve built a brand on my platform AshleyJanelle.com, in brand design consulting, and blogging. As a consultant, I am working with companies to reshape their brands visual presence and create marketing strategies to help take them in a new direction. As a blogger, I focus on tech products and experiences and bring my expertise as a designer into how I review them. What I’m most proud of is being able to create the life that I want. I love helping brands visually enhance their companies and feel good about putting themselves out there. I also love that as a blogger, I’m able to work with companies and add my own creative flare onto their products and services. I don’t feel stifled as a creative because I’ve created so many avenues to express myself. (SISS) One year from now what do you hope to have accomplished (business or personal)? (Ashley Janelle) One year from now I hope to be working with tech companies and other brands to help market their companies. I would like to bring my expertise as a UX designer to help them make better products as well as help sell those products, especially to Black people. (SISS) How dedicated are you to fitness? What is your fitness goal? On your body, what is your favorite body part and what is your least favorite? (Ashley Janelle) I don’t have a particular fitness regimen or goal however my overall goal is to always be healthy. For me that’s eating better and being more mindful of what I consume. (SISS) What makes you the happiest? What is fun for you? (Ashley Janelle) What makes me happiest is seeing everyone around me doing well. Friends, family, everyone. We’re at a point now where many of us are seeing the fruits of our labor and it’s really nice. I also love to travel. I just recently returned from Greece so I’m already trying to figure out where I want to go next. (SISS) How do you deal with disappointment? How do you Keep Going? (Ashley Janelle) The best way I deal with it is to keep going. Disappointment is a part of life and it’s not something that’s going to ever stop. Knowing how to keep going in the midst of it and not fall too far off track is key. (SISS) What is your superpower? (Ashley Janelle) Getting “it” done. Whatever “it” is, I’ve got it. Whether it’s socially related or business related, I’ve pretty much got it under control. (SISS) What is your weakness and what do you do to overcome it? (Ashley Janelle) Something I’m still working on is being the first person to initiate conversation when I’m out at networking events. I’ve gotten a lot better, but it’s not something I’d say I’m the best at it. I try to overcome it by having conversation starters and listening to people when I’m talking to them instead of listening to reply. From that, genuine conversations happen naturally. (SISS) Can you tell us four things people don’t know about you? (Ashley Janelle) I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do I got when I was about 12. I’m a huge seafood lover. I hate road trips. I’m a book lover but I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to lately. If you have any recommendations let me know! (SISS) Got a Story to Tell? Can you tell us a quick story or moment/night of a relationship experience, a lesson learned? (This could be funny or serious). (Ashley Janelle) One thing that I’ve learned through relationships is to do your best to understand the other person. We have a tendency to speak before letting the other person finish or already having a rebuttal prepared. We can all stand to be a lot more open to different points of view in order to find some common ground. Many times we won’t find that but at least you took the time out to try to understand. Relationships and friendships would last a lot longer if we practiced this. (SISS) What’s your favorite quote? (Ashley Janelle) “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” - Maya Angelou (SISS) At Smart is so sexy we love to see women who are thriving in their career or business. What are you most passionate about? (Ashley Janelle) I’m most passionate about my design consulting services and portfolio review sessions. I would have loved to have design consulting when I was starting my businesses, as I believe I would have made less mistakes and saved so much time. However, I don’t regret it as they shaped the business person I am today and the way I approach business. As for portfolio review, the same thing applies as there is really an art to how they should look and be structured. I’m happy to be able to offer these services to others. (SISS) Who was the most influential person in your life and why? (Ashley Janelle) My parents are the most influential people in my life as together they show me daily what healthy relationships and compromise look like. Separately, my dad is the one I can always count on for financial advice and guidance. He’s the one who advises me on how and where to invest my money as well as financial do’s and don’t’s. With my mom I admire her relationship building as she’s really great with creating new relationships and maintaining the old. (SISS) Where were you five years ago? What advice would you tell your five years younger self? (Ashley Janelle) Five years ago I was a few months post college graduation and had no idea what direction my life was headed in. I wasn’t completely sold on going the route of what a “web designer” was at the time because it encompassed a decent amount of coding. Today, design and coding can be split in different focuses. I would tell my younger self to have fun exploring various aspects of the visual design field while still working your retail job. Even though we all want the job right after college, it’s okay to take your time and really see what your options are. Post college internships and other training are not beneath you. (SISS) Can you take us through a typical day? From Waking up to going to bed, Can you give us a play by play of a typical day for you? (Ashley Janelle) A typical day for me is getting up at about six-thirty am and getting ready to head to work. My commute is about an hour and half so during that time I’m usually scrolling social media and coming up with new ideas for content to create. I’m also taking notes on things that I think my audience would be interested in. While at work I’m usually in meetings where I’m reviewing designs with my development team and talking next steps on various projects. I can also be in usability studies talking to users about how they’re using our products and learning about their success and pain points. In between meetings is my time to actually work on designs and collaborate with my team. After work I usually try to decompress while having dinner with friends, watching TV, or some kind of online content. After a couple hours I’ll start working on ideas that I have whether it be a blog post, content that I need to shoot with my photographer, responding to emails, etc. (SISS) What is your favorite meal? What is your favorite book and/or the latest one you’ve read? (Ashley Janelle) My favorite meal is either tacos with chips and salsa or fried cat fish with collard greens, sweet potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. I’m currently reading “Influencer” by Brittany Hennessy. (SISS) When do you feel the sexiest? (Ashley Janelle) I feel the sexiest when I’m confident in whatever it is I’m doing at the time. Whether it’s shooting for my blog, speaking in front of a group of people, or just taking a break from it all having with friends. (SISS) Is there someone on social media that inspires you and is a great follow? (Ashley Janelle) Morgan DeBaun @morgandebaun, the Founder and CEO of Blavity. I admire her story and how she worked so diligently on creating Blavity before and after her 9-5. I love her IG stories seeing how she runs her company, manages her team, and goes from city to city pitching the company for funding. She’s one of those people who whenever I see her doing something new, I’m reminded I don’t have time to just sit around. (SISS) What does Smart is so Sexy mean to you? (Ashley Janelle) To me it has nothing to do with looks or what designer handbag you’re wearing, but instead allowing your knowledge and hard work get you where you want to be. (SISS) Thank you so much for sharing with us Ashley!