I am so excited to finally share with you a project over year in the making! Today, the ASHLEY bag launches on the LOUISE & ELEANOR website! The best part about this bag? She supports a cause I'm so passionate about! Read below for my interview with LOUISE & ELEANOR (there may be a little treat for those of you who make it to the end!!)
L&E: What is Simplicity and Coffee?
Simplicity and Coffee began as the answer to so many great questions! I had girl friends constantly asking me where I got that top, what handbag to buy for the season or how to style their newest pair of shoes. Instead of answering the same question over and over again, I wrote the answer down in one place and started sending people there! That was just over 4 years ago. Since then, we’ve evolved and gained clarity on who our audience is and how to best serve them! Today, Simplicity and Coffee is a lifestyle brand whose focus is to help women create a less cluttered/more functional lifestyle, providing them with the space to live life fully. We do this in a variety of ways, including product reviews, styling advice, and how-to guides that help you to simplify your life and reclaim the things that truly matter to you.
L&E: Who is Ashley?
How long do you have? ;) In a nutshell, I’m a So Cal native who loves the beach & it’s effortless, chic, laid-back lifestyle. I’m a fairly new wife to the most amazing mister, and a very new mom to a beautiful baby girl. I’m the creative force behind Simplicity & Coffee. I love investing time in my nearest and dearest, devouring novels, and always have room for a new handbag or pair of shoes!
L&E: How do you differentiate yourself from others in your space?
I think one of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was that “Anyone can be a blogger, but not everyone can be an influencer”. In my experience, an influencer has two key things: 1) an understanding of who their audience is and 2) an understanding of who they are as an individual. I keep my eyes on the people who are sharing this journey with me and on what makes my life full and happy, and that’s what – and why - I share.
L&E: You recently had an adorable daughter, Evie. What are some tips on how you manage work, home and family life? What's something you didn't know before you had Evie?
Oh man. This is a hard one. I feel like there’s so much pressure to not only have it all, but to do it all effortlessly. The truth is, most days I’m in athleisure wear with no makeup and my hair in a bun on top of my head, trying to record an Instagram Story before Evie loses her bananas again! I couldn’t do it all without the support of G and some other key people who make Simplicity & Coffee what it is. My biggest tip for managing everything? Anything you do well will be at the expense of doing something else poorly or not at all. Do consistent priority checks, and continue to create space for self-care. At the end of the day, you’ll always sacrifice something – the trick is learning that that’s okay.
As to something I didn’t know before Evie - I had no idea how much joy someone could bring into my life in the smallest ways on a daily basis. She is my light, and I am so grateful for the chance to be her mama.
L&E: You share on your blog about your husband, G. What keeps your relationship solid and what's an important lesson you've learned in your marriage?
First and foremost, we each have an active, invested relationship with Jesus. We need someone to be pouring into us so we can pour into each other, otherwise it’d just be two empty cups trying to fill each other up. The next piece is commitment. I think it was David Brooks who said that commitment is falling in love with something and building a structure of behavior around it for those moments when love falters. G and I love each other, and are madly in love with each other, but we know that love can – and will – falter. In those moments, at those times, the structure we’ve built around our marriage will hold us together and give us the support to grow through the difficulties and fall in love all over again.
L&E: When you think of LOUISE & ELEANOR, what word comes to mind?
Empowerment. I love that Louise & Eleanor is focused on empowering and encouraging women, and that they are so engaged in giving back to causes that do the same.
L&E: Why did you want to colloaborate with LOUISE & ELEANOR to create the "ASHLEY" bag?
It’s always been a dream of mine to design pieces that were uniquely me. This was one of my first collaborations with a brand, and I am so blessed that Megan was open to working together! I feel like this was a perfect partnership since we both believe strongly in supporting, encouraging, and empowering women. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity I had to do that with L&E.
L&E: For every ASHLEY bag sold, $5 goes back to A21. What is A21? Why does this foundation mean so much to you?
I’m so glad you asked! I first learned about the A21 Campaign in 2010, and personally had the opportunity to volunteer with them in 2013. Essentially, the A21 Campaign is an organization dedicated to freeing slaves of human trafficking and disrupting the demand. I love that they don’t just focus on supporting the survivors – they also have a legal team and prosecute the perpetrators, not to mention creating awareness programs and campaigns! Essentially, they fight the human trafficking disease on every front, and I am proud to partner with them to help put an end to slavery.
L&E: What's a tip that has helped you feel stylish and confident?
My biggest tip is to find your five style words! For example, mine are Structured, Classic, Minimal, Elegant, and Slightly Edgy. Those words define my style, so when I purchase items to add to my closet, I make sure they fit with at least 3 of those 5 – that way I know they’re my style, and I’ll feel confident when I put them on.
L&E: What are a few words of love you'd like to share with the world?
You are beautiful, you are loved, and you are worthy.
Thanks for making it all the way here, you guys! As a treat, my readers can get 10% off their purchase of the ASHLEY bag with code "ASHLEY10". Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for being part of this!