We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Yearby and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
In 2014, I woke up to my apartment in flames and essentially lost everything. Luckily, I didn’t lose my life and found my desire to create something. I started a walking food tour company called Foodie Foot Tours. This was my way of bringing my blog to life and sharing my dining experiences with others. Through that journey, I realized that my tour was just the blueprint for helping people step outside of their comfort zone while making it not feel so uncomfortable. Just like taking the guesswork out of dining, I created The Adventurous Bartender to help take the guesswork out of cocktails.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Building a business was not easy and creating a physical product has been even harder. With my food tour, I rely on other operating businesses to help create experiences but with this game, I had to rely solely on myself. I couldn’t afford a consultant to do the research and work for me. I had to research manufacturing, which was my biggest challenge. I went from buying dice at a local craft store, which was expensive for the amount I needed, to finding a manufacturer who could handle a bulk order. The process of engraving was another challenge. I tried to teach myself how to use certain tools and even took a class on engraving but it was too much for me to handle on my own. I eventually found a local company to do engraving, but at a price of $35 for a set, I couldn’t afford that forever. Luckily, my manufacturer also took on the engraving process. Everything else was fairly easy because it was replicating things similar to the food tour. I’m excited to have people unlock the creativity that they may not even know they have. I don’t consider myself a creative or artistic person but The Adventurous Bartender has definitely opened my mind to the fact that I do have a creative side. It may not come through on paper but it definitely comes through when I enjoy a cocktail I made while using the game.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, this is easy since Houston is such a food forward city. The options are really endless. I’m definitely introducing a visitor to Breakfast Klub, Harry’s, Ouisie’s Table, and Frenchie’s. I’m also one for a good libation so Julep, a’Bouzy, and Davenport’s will make the drink stop list. Most of my friends are down for a good instagram-worthy photo op so Waterwall Park, Present Company, Twilight Skyspace, Emanicpation Park, The Buffalo Soldier Museum, and you can’t miss the zoo. Honestly, you can come visit every week and find something fun, informative and new in Houston.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Shoutout is definitely dedicated to my husband. He met me right when I had this crazy idea to start a business and he stuck by me through so much. Two layoffs, sleepless nights, and so many other things happened early on and he always encouraged me. He always makes me feel like if someone can make anything happen it’ll be me and I’m forever grateful for a partner who believes in me more than I believe in myself.