We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Richelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind the Joshua Tree Bottle Shop’s success is customer service. Prices are easily visible on every display and/or bottle in my shop. We never want a customer to select a wine without help and then get to the register only to find out it’s a $50 bottle when they were only looking to spend $20. That’s a terribly uncomfortable situation that I think most wine drinkers have been in before and it sucks. Everyone in the shop is educated by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET); we know and love wine and want to be as knowledgeable as possible for our customers and the community. We’re also finally putting out informative shelf talkers for every wine just in case someone wants to browse on their own. We want to teach a little something and hopefully introduce our customers to an affordable wine that they wouldn’t have otherwise known about, while having fun doing it!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve done a little bit of everything. I graduated high school and did real estate school over the summer before starting cosmetology school to become a hair stylist. Then a few years later I enrolled in a 6 month studio makeup course in New York City. I was a makeup artist for photoshoots and events while also working as the assistant manager at a large salon. My life changed directions as it does and I found myself living in Baltimore, where I couldn’t get the same industry jobs that I had in NYC. I found myself at a crossroads and decided to pursue a degree in Nursing. That time in my life was complicated and traumatic but has become one of my greatest accomplishments, as I still managed to graduate – and with Summa Cum Laude latin honors. Fast forward 5 years, I’m a Certified Mother/Baby Registered Nurse and Lactation Counselor. At the beginning of the pandemic I was in the process of switching nursing jobs and that’s where my wine story comes in. I’m now Level 2 Certified in Wine by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and the managing owner of an awesome wine shop in the high desert. Change is inevitable, life isn’t easy and sometimes bad things happen. But I haven’t been handed anything in my life that I haven’t been able to figure out. There is a solution to everything, even if that solution is simply patience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There really is something for everyone in Joshua Tree. Staying somewhere with minimal light pollution is key. Seeing the night sky is one of the most magical experiences you can have here and is not to be missed. Day hikes in the park. When people tell me they came to Joshua Tree and didn’t go into the park it’s very difficult to hide my horror. Joshua Tree National Park is like stepping onto another planet. One new high desert experience that I am obsessed with (and tell everyone about) is Mon Petit Mojave’s drive-in concerts. My husband, Jason, and I went several times last year and are so grateful to everyone involved for creating such a fun experience in the high desert. When they were looking for sponsors for this year it was a no-brainer for the Joshua Tree Bottle Shop to get involved. There’s a lot of really great new restaurants popping up.. our neighbors The Dez, who have a lot of gourmet options and charcuterie plates to pair with our wines; Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown for really awesome tacos, spicy fresh pickles, cocktails, and atmosphere; Giant Rock Meeting Room has some of the best pizza I’ve ever had (and I’m from New York City!); and the always mind-blowing La Copine. Some other experiences include sound baths at the Integratron, catching a concert at Pappy and Harriets, and checking out any (or all) of the awesome shops and art in the area.
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?
My husband and business partner, Jason. He’s a serial entrepreneur, software developer, and has personally opened two other wine stores 15+ years ago – one that he still owns today. We’ve had a house in Joshua Tree for a few years and have always thought about opening a wine shop there. At the start of the pandemic a location kind of fell into our laps that was just way too good to pass up but Jason was in the early stages of building a new software company and didn’t have the time to devote to opening another wine shop. I decided to take it on personally and know that I couldn’t have achieved the success that we already have, in such a short time, without his guidance and support. He’s a wealth of knowledge and I am so grateful I can pick his brain, pretty much whenever I need to.