We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Jade and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley Jade, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind the success of my brand is going the extra mile for each guest that comes into my studio. What I have learned throughout my career as a cosmetologist is that hairdressing is more than a craft.
Hairdressing and make-up artistry is a craft in the form of a self-care service we offer to our community. Self-care is essential for each and every one of us, though we tend to put it off because of many other things on our to-do list. I make it my absolute priority that guests who enter my private hair studio leave better than when they first enter. Maintaining the consistency of what keeps my guests coming to my business is the secret I have learned as a small business owner. As Maya Angelou said in her famous quote; ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. My number one priority is to make sure every person feels empowered about themselves after visiting my studio.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The journey of becoming a cosmetologist began eleven years ago when I was nineteen years old. I was working at a Virgin Mobile kiosk five days a week at a mall in Alberta Canada. I was also supporting myself through finishing high school by self-taught homeschooling through modules provided by an academic outreach center all while living on my own. I would see a teacher once a week to drop off completed modules and receive a fresh stack of newly printed and stapled modules three years straight. The only way I would be accepted at the beauty college in my province was to obtain a high school diploma and then submit an application. I held on to this dream close to my heart for a long time, and I am very glad that I persevered.
As much as I would like the story to end there, I must admit that getting into beauty school was the easy part. The art of Cosmetology was not a walk in the park. In fact, it took me a total of four months to grasp my shears correctly during a haircut. I have cut my hands multiple times as an apprentice, and have worked long hours of training under several master stylists. When I say training, I mean performing haircuts and hair color services free of charge. Nothing entices a stranger more than a free beauty service, and that is exactly what I did to help sharpen my skills as an amateur. After completing my apprenticeship as a journeyman in Alberta, I wanted to expand my options as an artist nation-wide. I applied to challenge Canada’s provincial Red Seal Hairstylist exam and met my long-term goal. I was and still am authorized to work as a Cosmetologist throughout my entire country, yet I was still hungry for more. I worked for the next couple of years at a high-end salon in the city I lived in, and eventually that fire inside that held my passion close for art began to dwindle.
One day as I was looking outside of a frosted window during a snowstorm, a cute boy messaged me on instagram. He invited me to hang out in California for a weekend. At that age, I was a little more carefree and nothing exciting was holding me back from going on a weekend getaway. It was also in the middle of winter where I was living, so why not?
I came to California to meet him, and ended up moving to be with him. That big move changed the entire course of what was in store for the rest of my life (and career). It was as if a reset button was pushed the moment I packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles. I was sent back to beauty school to relearn and earn my license all over again, but in another country. This time I had to learn about nails and facials, something completely out of my comfort zone. I then had to challenge the state-board practical exam and written exam. I was rusty since it was six years after I had last taken a beauty school exam, but in the end I was 100% academically refreshed. I continued on by assisting one more master stylist in Pasadena California. She was tough, but a good kind of tough. She pushed me at the core of who I wanted to be and who I did not want to be, professionally as an artist and as an individual outside of my career. She challenged me on a day to day basis, and I loathed it.
But what she taught me at the time I was restarting my career had a profound effect on who I am today, what my values are, and how I run my business. She taught me to always ask, and never go straight to assumptions. I remember the day I assumed a hair color formula was what I had remembered. She pulled me to the side and explained to me that making assumptions are one of the biggest downfalls in becoming successful. I am glad that younger version of me listened, because I needed someone to mentor me the way she did. She also taught me how to handle business with difficult interactions, and how to establish boundaries. It was one of the most monumental times of my life where I had to revisit how to be resourceful and resilient because that was the only option available. It may be surprising to hear that I am truly grateful for that chapter in my life and that I lived through it, because it has taught me the strength I did not know I had. The strength I needed to learn earlier on in order to build the life I have always wanted. Which is here in beautiful sunny San Diego.
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.
San Diego is such a beautiful place to live and not a day goes by that I would prefer to live any where else. The weather is great all year round, and the commute to get to places doesn’t take very long in comparison to the other large cities I’ve lived. Every now and then, I have friends who come to visit San Diego. Our favorite places to go for a nice stroll is Balboa Park or the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park has a lot of picturesque architecture with a twist of history all in one large park. It is also conveniently located right beside the famous San Diego Zoo! The variety of wild life all in one zoo is also quite amazing. I highly recommend visiting these top two places for anyone who wants to get a taste of San Diego. La Jolla shores is also one of my most favorite areas to visit as well. The cove is located in La Jolla and you get to see families of sea lions sun bathe and relax together. You might also be lucky enough to watch a baby sea lion practice going on and off the shores with it’s parents!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My inner circle has always been a main source of inspiration and unconditional support throughout my journey as an artist. As a matter of fact, it’s the most integral part of my success, as I am a firm believer of the saying that we become who we surround ourselves with on a daily basis. It really is true when they say it’s not about the destination, it is also about the journey. I can honestly say that at the time the idea of opening my private hair studio emerged, I was in low spirits. Without the encouragement and constant support from my sister Kim, good friend Moriah, and my best friend/husband John, I never would have made it to where I am today. Ashley Jade Artistry would have been just a wish, had I not made the decision to take a leap of faith from those who loved me and encouraged the actions needed to follow my dreams. The journey to my success has been a rebirth on all fronts of my life, including my newfound long term goals as an artist, a first time mother, and a wife all while running a successful business.