We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Stephens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
Inglewood has always been home. Growing up in the city, I have always felt a sense of community. Gentrification didn’t exist for me during my childhood. I could go anywhere and see faces and families like mine. Inglewood could be classified as a happy medium. We weren’t rich, we weren’t poor, but with hard work and dedication, the life I imagined was within arms reach. As a child, I got to try my hand at a lot of different trades. My parents did a great job of instilling in me positive work ethics. My natural curiosity combined with my Stephens Family drive, I always knew I wanted to be my own boss. I started working at age 15, my first job was at McDonalds. My very shift I was on fries all day (I was tired and felt defeated). I told my dad I wanted to quit. He took a deep breath and looked at me and said “you don’t quit, you started the job and you will finish it”. Til this day that has stuck with me. We all will face some form of discomfort in a job. The key is don’t quit. Today I have taken these life lessons and applied them to my business practices for blkbyash. With the love and support of my parents, sisters, family and close friends I have been able to successfully create a brand with meaning and intention.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I created blkbyash because I believed there was avoid missing, a message that wasn’t being shared. Black voices weren’t being heard, seen, or celebrated during the time. What sets blkbyash apart from other apparel brands is our mission is clear through the intentional messaging on all merchandise. These messages are important and were meant to create conversations about what is going on in Black America. We provide quality products with excellent customer service. The ideas behind blkbyash came easy because they were on my heart, and I knew I wanted to create something meaningful. Customer satisfaction is one of my top priorities. I want the customer experience to be easy from start to finish, from purchase to wear. blkbyash is a black owned female apparel company inspired by being black in America, and bringing culture to the closet.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
This sounds like the plot twist from last week’s Insecure episode, LOL. Perfect question! A week long trip to Inglewood/ LA with Ashley, would look like this: Monday – Hit up the Culver City stairs, breakfast at Pann’s, run over to the Slauson swapmeet for some gold jewelry Tuesday – The Fox Hills mall, lunch at Mike’s Deli, then stop by Harriet’s cheesecake for a snack and later dessert, grab dinner at Friache signatures for Taco Tuesday Wednesday- Coffee at the Hilltop Inglewood, spend some time walking down Market street, then grab lunch from Dulan’s Thursday – Breakfast at Moby’s, hit up the Grove for shopping, dinner at Harold & Belle’s, OneLA Thursday Service online hits on Thursday nights Friday – Morning yoga at Crenshaw Yoga and Dance Studio (shout out Karli and Adriene!), brunch at the Serving Spoon Saturday – Nice bike ride in Manhattan Beach, find Lady on the Rocks for some drinks at home and then dinner at Ruth’s Chris Sunday – Sunday service at the City of Refuge, breakfast at Roscoe’s (the one on Main & Manchester)
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?
First shout out goes to God, the most high. Secondly, I would like to shout out my family and my team; my sisters Melissa and Shelby, and my cousin Taelor. Finally, I would like to dedicate this shout out to my Grandfather, William C. Stephens. My grandfather was unapologetically black, and I too have kept that same energy while creating products for blkbyash.
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