We had the good fortune of connecting with Ash Cheatham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ash, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
When you only focus on the positive side of things, it creates unrealistic expectations on yourself and your life. It paves the way for disappointment, frustration, and even feeling like a failure when you inevitably encounter negative experiences or emotions. Daily Dreadful emphasizes accepting who you are but also providing the means to make changes and move forward. ”Toxic positivity” as I like to call it, can create pressure to suppress negative emotions and feel guilty for even feeling them. Life is too complex to only be smothered with positive affirmations. You’ll never deal with your real shit. The reaction I’ve received from the counseling community reinforces this concept. As an example, here’s what the last mental health professional had to say when reviewing our work: “we don’t have enough material like this. We will recommend it to every one of our neurodivergent clients.”
Our books and journals create a therapeutic and safe space for their clients to use at home, continuing the “be real with yourself” work they’re doing in the office. At a glance, you could perceive Daily Dreadful to be negative. However, we are creating a place to be sincere and honest in a format that helps you dig deeper, process effectively, and finally allow space for awareness and change.
What should our readers know about your business?
Our focus is on helping people connect better with themselves while embracing their dark side. We are most excited about the Dreadful Disorganizer, our flagship product. The Disorganizer is a weekly planner specifically tailored for neurodiversity. I have ADHD, and I went through a ton of other planners that had parts that worked for me, but ultimately all lacking in some way. So I decided to make my own. We have included an hourly breakdown for each day, room for prioritizing, and plenty of space for your brain to dump. It features a monthly check in to help examine what went right and what went dreadfully wrong, with prompts on how to do better. We’ve had an incredible response to not only the Disorganizer, but our Dream Journal and Dreadful Devotional as well. Daily Dreadful’s books and journals provide the much needed sarcastic self-care alternative to the unrelatable rainbow and unicorn options.
How did you get to where you are today business-wise?
It’s not been easy. We are still just getting started. We had the idea last year. With the support of therapists using and recommending our products to their clients, that has been our biggest stepping stone. I have previous experience running multiple businesses with my husband, so when this idea started to form it was like the stars were aligning for me. I felt that I finally had learned the skills, had the experience and creativity, and now the self-confidence to ensure Daily Dreadful will be a success. With most of the basics in place, it will just take time. Right now is the exposure and growth phase and I couldn’t be more excited.
What are some challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way?
We over-ordered the Dreadful Disorganizer. Forecasting and balancing inventory for a product that is naturally seasonal is difficult – especially when you’re passionate and believe everyone should have one! So if you know anyone who still needs a weekly planner for 2023, I’m ya girl!
What is something you want others to know?
It’s ok to completely embrace yourself. I’ve spent years masking and hiding huge portions of myself to fit the “status quo” or blend in with the normies to be taken seriously in my previous roles. Which had a lot to do with having undiagnosed ADHD. After being officially diagnosed at age 31, I started learning coping skills and techniques that really impacted my life for the better. It’s become a passion to create something that will help others like me who are often underdiagnosed and underserved. Through TikTok we’ve created an online community that is impacting multiple groups of people, not only the neurodivergent. I’m constantly shocked to see the breadth of diverse people groups who resonate with our brand and products. Daily Dreadful encompasses everything I’ve stifled. I’ve learned to not only embrace but celebrate my dark and neurodivergent nature.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Houston’s Museum of Natural Science! The dino exhibit, butterfly house, and stuffed animal collection are all fabulous and permanent exhibitions. Whenever I’m in the Heights I love Lorenzo’s for their French dip sandwich and double fried fries. I’d catch my friends band, the Paper Gliders, at the White Oak Music hall if they were playing. Niko’s Niko’s is the best lunch spot in Montrose area with their DDD award-winning honey balls. When my husband and I go on weekend getaways we stay at the Houstonian. The hotel is full of rich history and gorgeous grounds.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Leave it to therapists to be your number one fans and supporters! I want to shout out to Natalie Wilie, my neighbor, who immediately saw the work I was doing and asked if I could present to their office (TX Harmony Counseling). Her office really took the time to pick apart the details of our journal and brand. Their assessment of our books highlighted how impactful they are for people who are neurodivergent and what parts in particular made them beneficial. I learned a lot! I also want to recognize Mikayla Williams, and her whole office at Mindful Movements Counseling. They have also been incredibly supportive and given valuable feedback, emphasizing the need for this type of material in the counseling space.
Of course, I need to give a shout out to my biz partner Henry Dillard. Without our initial discussion of ideas, Daily Dreadful wouldn’t be here. And my husband, Luke Cheatham. He is always pumping me up and ridding me of the doubts that creep in when you run a start-up.
Photo Credits to Ash Cheatham