Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashlee Maltbia-Burgess.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As far back as I can remember, I have always had a passion for fashion. To me, that included sneakers, t-shirts, denim, you name it. But growing up in a household where my Grandmother was raising me and my sibling, we couldn’t always afford to get every pair of new sneakers. I’d say to myself that when I got older, I’d own a sneaker store and have whatever sneakers or clothes I wanted. I was probably eleven or twelve when I said that. I’m from New Jersey where the legal working age for teenagers is sixteen, so it wasn’t until then that my grandmother let me get a job and I started buying my own clothes and sneakers. That is where it started for me. I was spending my paychecks on any Air Jordan, throwback jerseys, and hats I could get my hands on. Yes, those are all men’s clothing, I’ve always been as society would call it a “Tomboy”. I hate that term. Anyway, I never liked tight form-fitting clothing it just wasn’t my thing. I wanted so badly to wear a tux to my senior prom but I didn’t. I wore this ugly gold dress and it was the last time anyone had ever seen me in one. It was also the last time I’d let anyone tell me that men’s clothes are ONLY for men.
Fast forward to my early twenties, I’ve played basketball since I was nine and it’s allowed me to see so much of the world. Going to places like Europe and seeing how women in Italy and Japan were wearing men’s clothing and making it there own warmed by heart. I didn’t feel out of place wearing my baggy t-shirts and oversized jeans I felt at home. The only time women were accepted when wearing these types of clothes in the states was when celebrity women like TLC and Aaliyah would dress in oversized clothing and straighten their hair with a face full of makeup. Why? Because no matter what women always have to be appealing to men. Why do we have to attach gender to clothing? To me, fashion is an art form, a way to self-express and I believe that can be done without having to stick to shopping on one side of the store.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a clothing line as a whole is hard, let alone starting one that identifies as “Genderless”. I was my own worse enemy. I let the fear of what people would like stop me from doing what my heart desired. I had to tell myself that although I wanted to build an all-inclusive brand that not everyone would be interested in. Once I let go of the self-doubt, that is when the name of the brand came along. TILLER Time. Is. Low. Live Everyday Righteously. We don’t know if tomorrow is promised. Do what you feel now, do it the right way, do it with morals, values and pride. Do it RIGHTEOUSLY. Doubting myself was the biggest struggling.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with TILLER ATL – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
TILLER ATL is a streetwear brand with a message and that message is to “Live Righteously”. We create garments that can be worn by anyone, you will not find a Men’s or Women’s tab on our website, but you will see men and women wearing the same garments but in their own way. I don’t want to box the brand in by saying it has a specialty. So far we have sold T-shirts and hats but this is just the beginning we have much more in store. As a new brand, I am proud to say that I have created the opportunity to give back. During my launch, I used a portion of my pre-sale proceeds to help families that were in need during COVID-19. That won’t be the last time either. I want to do my part in anything I do. I work in law enforcement and for some its a paycheck for me, it’s a way to give back; it’s a way for me to use my voice. It’s the same thing with TILLER.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I think like any new brand Tiller is looking to grow. Right now, everything is E-commerce. The goal is to try to get some of our pieces into local boutiques and stores. Wish ATL is one of my favorites here in Atlanta if in the near future, I could have some TIller ATL merch on their shelves, I’d be happy. The products that were sold during our launch were to get the name out there. I am working with manufacturers to continue to provide quality pieces that people will enjoy.
- Address: 6655 Tara Blvd Jonesboro, GA 30236
- Website: www.tilleratl.com
- Phone: 470-558-6223
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @tilleratl
- Facebook: Tiller ATL
Holland Reid Photography