Ashley Carson, owner of Ash Boutique in Westboro, established the roots of her vision as a child when she sold friendship bracelets in her neighborhood. Realizing that she had a knack for design and sales, she enlisted her friends to make more bracelets to earn even more money.
“I remember this lady stopped by my driveway and bought all the bracelets, $10 worth,” Ashley said. “I was so excited! But then I didn’t have anything left to sell.”
Even at that young age, Ashley recognized that she needed to create a marketing and promotion plan so she could adapt to meet her customers’ needs in her future endeavors. Her first job was in retail and her entrepreneur soul continued to bloom.
Some boutiques work only in a storefront, while others use different approaches to sell. Ashley began to sell jewelry and accessories out of her home while raising her children and coping with an illness in the family.
“I did that for about six years,” Ashley said. “I always wanted a store. I saw someone moving out of the space where my store is now located, so I pulled over and called the landlord.”
When Ashley saw that storefront available in Westboro Mart, she knew she couldn’t pass it up. Even if she wasn’t quite ready to plunge into entrepreneurship, she knew that a place like this would not stay on the market long, and this was her chance to go all in.
Timing was not perfect, however. She found out she was pregnant with her third child when she put up the “coming soon” sign. Ash Boutique in the Westboro Shopping area sells clothing and accessories out of its storefront, while also selling online, through an e-commerce app and through a VIP social media app. This allows her customers to have a deep understanding of the products, while also learning more about the people selecting the items.
For Ashley, running a successful boutique also means mentoring others to open their own retail locations. She understands that the more Topeka has to offer its potential customers, the better off all businesses will be.