You know how much I love sitting down and chatting with amazing girl bosses in Nashville — it's the very reason I created Lashville. I was excited to meet up with this particular girl boss to learn more about her journey and what it takes to succeed in opening your own small business. After spending a short time pursuing what she thought was her dreams of working in Nashville's music industry, Ashley Wilson quit her safe corporate job to pursue the uncertain world of entrepreneurship. In spite of not having a background in fashion, Wilson successfully launched the Nashville-based online boutique, Everest & Co., in July 2016. Learn more about her journey below!
Meet Ashley Wilson, Owner of Everest & Co.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Wilson
Lashville: What made you decide to open your own small business?
Wilson: I've come up with a lot of business ideas and my dad is a big business guy. Most of the ideas I was not interested in enough, so I never really saw myself laying the ground work for it. Then I actually emailed a boutique in town asking them how they started their boutique, just because I've always been interested in how people start their businesses. I thought I'd be totally down to pick out clothes, take photos, do social media, steam clothes, pack orders, and write posts. All the ground work seemed awesome, and I'd love to do it. I always loved clothes but I'm not a fashion guru. I've always been a late adapter to trends because I want everyone else to try it before I do. So, it wasn't so much the fashion part that intrigued me as it was the marketing, social media and community aspect of it. The name 'Everest' came from an article about starting your own company. It said that starting your own business is like you are standing at the bottom of Mount Everest trying to figure out how you are going to get to the top. I wanted the name to be ambiguous so it could be whatever and travel with me throughout life. I launched Everest and Company July 31, 2016.
L: What does it take to run your own online clothing boutique?
W: Everything! Its really hard to prepare yourself to have so many hands in so many different aspects of the job. I do all my photos, editing, social media, website graphics, outreach to girls and bloggers on Instagram, setting up and running local markets, finances, monthly taxes, and clothes buying. I always say if this doesn't work out then at least it's been a learning experience.
L: Where do you get your inspiration for your store?
W: A lot of it at the beginning was the whole concept of what 'life at the top' means. I want it to inspire girls to go travel the world in cute clothes. I want the clothes to be a part of your life. My motto is 'we want you to run the damn world in our clothes.'
L: How would you describe the Everest & Co. style?
W: Buying wise I stay true to what I would wear and what my friends would wear. I don't really look to big fashion designers for inspiration because people know what's trending. Because I'm a late adapter I'm not going to buy a jean skirt right now even though its trendy because I can't see myself wearing it. That's who I am and I can't change that.
L: What sets Everest & Co. apart from other online boutiques?
W: I want to be super honest in describing pieces and how they are going to fit instead of just trying to sell. More so, I just want it to be a community. I want to be apart of my brand. I'm a young 20-something that went outside the norm, quit my corporate job before I even got my feet wet in it, and inspire others to do the same. So, it's not just a place to come for clothes, but a place to come see a real human that's running a business and trying to make it work. I just want to be everyone's best friend.
L: You started your own podcast, as well. What made you want to start it?
W: I always wanted to do a podcast. Everyone was like you shouldn't do it now when you are just getting started, but I was like these beginning girls are who I want to talk to. I don't really care if they don't learn something from it. I just want that girl to feel really cool that she's on a podcast. At some point I'd like to do it every week or multiple times a week. I feel like everyone has a story. I just want to hear it so I can put faces to the names I'm sending packages off to.
L: What is the most challenging part of your job?
W: Definitely the comparison game. I can steam, pack orders and do repetitive tasks very easily. I really love doing every task I have to do for Everest, but a girl can get down on herself, for sure. Some weeks you're in a funwk and others you aren't. It makes you not creative which hurts your graphic designing and Instagram that week. It comes and goes in waves, and that's the hardest thing.
L: What is the most gratifying part of your job?
W: I get notifications on my phone when people order, and when it shows up I say out loud every single time 'someone from this place ordered.' I don't know when that would get old. You don't know these people, but I just want to reach out to these people to see how they found out about me. It's really fun to see the different states pop up.
L: What are your goals for Everest & Co?
W: Short term goals are getting more traffic and orders. Long term goals are incorporating a charity aspect of it or my own clothing line that in turn gives back to a charity.
L: Any advice for other women wanting to start their own small business?
W: Just do it! It's hard to pull the trigger. It takes money, time, energy and tears, but I always say 'just try it.' What's a year in the grand scheme of things? I think everyone should quit their jobs and do things for yourself. It's indescribable!
All looks coming soon to Everest & Company!
Follow Everest & Co. at Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, + Pinterest!
Check out Ashley Wilson's #LifeAtTheTop podcast featuring fellow girl bosses and women like you who just love cute clothes!
Happy Wednesday and thanks for stopping by!