We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Watts and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My thought process in the beginning was similar to a lot of new small business owners, asking myself “what am I doing and is this the right direction for me”? For me, the answers were almost instantaneously as I recalled two great quotes: “you are your greatest investment”and “I got my start by giving myself a start” by Madame CJ Walker. When I knew that this was direction I wanted to go in, I decided to start planning and setting goals for both long-term and short-term. While I may not have known exactly my long-term goals at that moment, I knew I could set some short term goals and develop them as a grew.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Something that I noticed immediately about the realm of illustration and art is that it varies in style, which is perfectly ok because there is some thing out there for everyone! For me I knew that I also had a passion in designing with patterns and styles that I could then be replicated to stationary or fabric or other surfaces, so I wanted to be multi functional and purposeful. It took me some time to reach that vision but I can definitely say that is what sets me apart and what guides me. I overcame my challenges by reminding myself of my personal vision and my goals that I had set forth, and investing in myself timewise and skill wise so that I could reach those goals. I never lost sight of what I wanted to do as far as my creativity, and that was both illustrating and designing. I think for me having a separate calling for public policy and not- for profit leadership, everything was first hand for me, in terms of knowing my industry, the research, the leaders, the everything, it was mental step back if you will, to enter a whole new territory where I knew little to nothing. But everyone has begin somewhere! And you have have to get your start by starting. You knew that I wanted to emphasize black women as art and so I toyed with that concept until it conveyed my vision, before I knew it it became who I was.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Funny you ask, I just celebrated a birthday 3/22, and had an amazing staycation. For me relaxation is key to my life and self-care as I maintain dual roles in 2 completely different industries. I would begin with a facial and massage, accompanied by mimosas at ZaSpa located in Hotel ZaZa of Memorial City. There restaurant, The Tipping Point, is also great to swing by after for a quick bite to eat and great cocktails. Some other great grabs nearby is Rouxpour in Memorial, Savoir in The Heights. I’m a sucker for a good brunch, so A’Bouzy is definitely on the list. I am also a sucker for a good drink, some great outside options keeping in mind COVID are Truck Yard, Axelrad, Heights Bier Garten, Present Company and Amahle. I love looking at SolcietiHtx to see what new visiting attractions and events are in town. Some other favs are visiting my fav nail tech House of Gel in the Heights, and visiting the Houston Museum of African American Culture.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Where do I start!? I have a lot to be thankful for and haven’t done this with out the support of my fellow art and illustration community, my best friend who also has a small business in brand building and management, and my family.

Website: Artbyashw.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/artbyashleyw?igshid=2aihm7gofvai

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artbyashw/

Other: https://society6.com/artbtashw

Image Credits
Brandi Mathis- The Luminary Space

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