Ashley Carson Designs (ACD) is a true story of a passion turned business. What was merely a personal hobby quickly grew into something more after garnering attention from the jewelry she had designed for herself. Only two years since she’s launched, ACD has been featured in People, Style, Esquire, and Cosmopolitan Magazine, as well as trunk shows throughout New York City. We are thrilled to have Ashley Carson Designs at Artists and Fleas for a 5-week residency: April 2nd-April 22nd in Soho, and April 23rd-May 6th in Chelsea. We sat down with Ashley for a Q&A to discuss music, jewelry, and everything in between.
Introduce yourself to the Artists & Fleas community via your favorite musician or band:
It’s so hard to pick just one because I love them all so much! My favorites seem to come and go as much as the seasons. Last year, Santigold and Silversun Pickups were at the top of my playlists; but lately I’ve been throwing it back a bit and listening a lot to Led Zeppelin and Frank Sinatra!
What inspired you to start a jewelry line:
I really could not find what I was looking for on the market, and truthfully just wanted some unique, quality pieces to accessorize my wardrobe with. Anything I'd find would always turn and tarnish on me, so my frustration is truly what catapulted me to where I am today. I used to make jewelry when I came home from work as an escape from a long day. That passion quickly led me to discovering gold-filled materials and from there my mission blossomed.
What is your favorite jewelry trend at the moment?
I'm really loving long necklaces that are actually designed to be worn both over or under the ensemble. I love that this trend caters toward women with a busy or active lifestyle. I think a lot of times the reason we don’t wear jewelry is because we're worried it will snag, but layering it under a low cut chunky sweater or chic blazer totally omits this problem!
What is your favorite way to style your body chains into everyday wear:
I’m all about the casual, effortless jeans and a t-shirt or sweater look. I have a body chain complements my classically casual wardrobe because of the way I've tailored it. I wear it almost every day, even in the winter, and I’ll layer it with 2 or 3 choker/collar necklaces.
A mantra that you live by:
The flower doesn't dream of the bee; the flower blossoms and the bee comes.
What advice might you have for anyone looking to get into a similar career?
Well, first of all, and in any case, your mindset is everything. But honestly, the best business advice I ever heard was, “what can you do for others that no one else can?” I take this as, don’t copy what others are doing—you already have something unique to offer the world, and we need you to bring it; but it’s up to you to create it, build it, and show us how it can add value to our lives.
What attracted you to sell at Artists & Fleas?
I love that Artists & Fleas highlights the culture of the city through featuring local independent artists, the network and it’s created, and how it gives local brands the opportunity to showcase their work.
We're so excited to have you in both our Soho and Chelsea locations, what are you looking forward to most during your residency?
Meeting people! I love sharing what I’ve learned about the properties of the medium I’ve chosen to work with (14k gold filled), and how it’s really added value to my life since I can lead my active lifestyle without having to worry about tarnishing jewelry. When I’m at my trunk shows or in my shop, I love that I can help my customer by getting to know her, working with her one on one, and by styling her in jewelry that best complements her lifestyle.
Lastly, if you had to choose one song that captures the essence of your business/brand, what would that be?
There is something about the song “She Sells Sanctuary.” It’s by the band The Cult, however, I recently reconnected with it via Rogue Wave, who covered it, and I love their version of it too! And I actually got to see perform in NYC last week! As a brand that encourages women to elegantly express their femininity, my take on this song is something that the men who wrote this song find sanctuary in just that.