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Meet Ashley Avery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Avery.

Hi Ashley, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
A lover for natural things that was intrigued by other black-owned businesses that made and sold skincare and hair products with safer, non chemical-filled products that had benefits. I had just had my then six months old baby girl, new to Atlanta and did not feel comfortable with placing my baby in daycare so I could return to my 9-5 in an administrative role in healthcare. The opportunity was presented to me to open back up “SheaTree Naturals” from my boyfriend that I had this business over a decade ago that was a storefront in Asheville, NC but he was selling other black-owned hair and skincare brands that are now million dollar empires. I like the thought of watering this seed and growing it but in my way. I did not want to sell other companies products that were already hitting money-making milestones, I wanted to make and sell my own products. I started making soap that year, 2017, gave it away to friends and loved ones and they said it was amazing and that it was a great idea to put it out there to the world. I launched my website that year and incorporated other natural products over the years; shea butters, body butters, oils, beard products, body scrubs and a hairline. After receiving testimonials and having repeated customers continuously come back for me, I knew I was making an impact and a difference in people’s skincare goals. Attending different vending events allowed me to meet people in person, hear their struggles and goals, what they have tried and failed and building a customer family.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
In the beginning, it was not a smooth road especially trying to raise small children, attending school to focus on obtaining a Master’s degree in healthcare and returning to work in corporate America because being an entrepreneur is not the easiest task. The biggest obstacle is figuring the social media algorithms bringing in more followers that turn into repeated customers. Researching the area and signing up for events that will have enough foot traffic to at least make your vending fee. Learning who to trust with your hard-earned money to pay to run marketing ads to promote brand awareness. Questioning if your website looks professional enough for people to feel comfortable enough to support you. Taking the time out to set up systems to send out scheduled social media posts and emails to keep people engaged and believing that you have something that they need. The list could go on. It takes dedication and a deeper vision to grow a business when you are a one woman team.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I make natural skincare and hair care products that places a focus on making a change in your struggles. Rather it’s hair loss or the driest skin. I enjoy making handcrafted soaps and even offer 1 on 1 course to work with me to learn how to make your own soap. I have learned that so many ingredients that are beneficial for our well-being is right in our kitchens. The kitchen cabinet can be your medicine cabinet. Herbs and oils have healing powers with little to no side effects that can make a difference in our everyday lives. I am the most proud of still being in business, not quitting, not stopping, still going, still making goals, still have a strong vision. A lot of people quit before they even reap the benefits. No one said this was going to be an easy journey, sometimes I question it but then I let go and believed that my day is right in front of me of providing generational wealth and I must show up. I would like to shout out the events that I was able to be a vendor at that has helped me grow my business. MymilkandMoney in Conyers, GA, Goombay Festival in Asheville, NC, Newton County Fall Festival in Covington, GA, Vegan Festival in Greenville, SC, Charlotte Unite Festival in Charlotte, NC.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
For those that are starting out just know that being an entrepreneur is not for the weak and it is important to surround yourself around other like-minded people. Your customers and your support may not be your family and friends. Those people feel like they have to support you just because they know you. Your customers will be people that do not know you but you still have to make connections with them just like they are family friends so they can still be a part of you. Do not worry about the next person’s success stories or their journeys. Stop comparing yourself because your walk and journey is created for that particular person. Never get discouraged if someone else is selling or making the same thing you have created, there will never just be one of anything. People buy from people. That is why it is important to keep a presence. I wish I would have been involved more with social media and hired someone to manage my ads and website early in the game.

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