420 MINISODE Ashley Daly: Make Your Soul Smile
Women Innovating Networking Growing Scaling – that’s WINGS … I’m Melinda Wittstock, my mission is to help women take flight to soar to the success of our dreams in business and in life– and create and grow businesses in alignment with our passion and purpose. On this special Mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about self-doubt and how to manage it as an entrepreneur. After all, everyone second-guesses themselves – yet never is a person tested more than in entrepreneurship. You have a vision, a mission, and yet along the way not everyone is going to “get you” or understand your business – even well meaning people like family members. Somehow somewhere, entrepreneurs need to find the strength to carry on, stay laser-focused on execution yet flexible enough to learn and pivot.
Here with us today to provide her insights and inspiration is …
Ashley is on a mission to make fashion fun – “candy for your soul” as she puts it, and one day she simply walked off the stage after a keynote to 1,000 of the world’s top marketers at an annual event she’d hosted for 10 years… and left the corporate world behind. Suddenly there was no team, nothing on her calendar, and her vision for her company BeCandylicious with its bright and playful designs.
Ashley will be here with her advice on how to stay true to yourself in just a moment on our Mentoring Minisode and first …
And now to the inspiring Ashley Daly.
Ashley doesn’t believe in thinking small. She says she wants to “Dress every human being on the planet”, have fun doing it, and inspire women to “becandylicious”. She says the name of her company is like a mantra, candy for the soul and inspiring joy and kindness.
Today she shares why it is the best time ever to be a female entrepreneur, plus how to stay focused on vision, mission and execution … while retaining the flexibility you need to block and tackle in entrepreneurship.
Melinda Wittstock: Ashley, welcome to Wings.
Ashley Daly: Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you. I think what you’re doing is great and I’m just fascinated always by figuring out what is inspiring people in their entrepreneurial careers or in their lives. What’s inspiring you right now?
Ashley Daly: Yeah, it’s a great question. First of all, so much inspires me. I get inspired daily. But I think one of the things that really stands out the most is really the population’s emphasis on self-love, inclusivity, and participation. I remember growing up we were taught that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. And I think just with the proliferation of social media and all these platforms, that that seems to have dissipated or faded, and a world where we can filter and augment our realities simply for faceless likes and follows.
So for me, it’s really inspiring to hear and see more people start to promote kindness and again, that self love and tolerance, and participate in causes that matter to them.
I think right now, there just seems to be such this divisive nature in our world. But at the same time, I also see a lot more tolerance than we’ve ever seen before. And it seems to help soften the nastiness that’s been creeping around our world. And for me, our brand is all about celebrating the things that make our soul smile. I really couldn’t think of a more relevant time for us than now. So the world is talking about love, it’s talking about inclusivity, it’s hungry for it. So it’s nice to go back to all those things that made us smile, those bright colors, just the reminiscent smells of candy, whether it’s literal or metaphorical. And that really plays a role in the designs that I come up with. So I get inspired daily.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that. I love just this bright colors brings back memories of like childhood candy, fun. Getting people into that mindset is beautiful. And to do that with fashion is just so cool.
So everybody always has challenges in their businesses though, right? And in our lives, especially as women, we try and juggle. So we have so many balls in the air at all given times. And I like to de-stigmatize this because failure. And fear, and challenge is all part of the entrepreneurial journey. So what are some of your challenges right now?
Ashley Daly: Yeah. So there are several. And I think on the positive side, one, there’s never been a better time to be a female entrepreneur, just with the #MeToo movement and the emphasis on the power that women have. We still have a long way to go, but it’s shining a brighter light on us right now.
But I think there are so many challenges being a woman, especially being a female founder. I think one in particular is for me in the retail sector is trying to stand out in a saturated market. Really whether it’s the media or its even female empowering events or other brand owners, there’s just so much emphasis on who you are. And I alluded to it before in what inspires me that we just live in this social media driven world of likes and followers.
So there’s this whole emphasis on celebrity, whether that’s TV and film or it’s YouTube, Instagram influencers. But for me, it’s not enough it almost seems like just to be a mom and a female founder there. There’s always that celebrity angle to almost any media that we participate in, or try to get involved in. Those are always the questions.
So I think that there just seems to be, that’s what we’re being judged on often times at the onset. Right? So it’s a little bit harder to dig past that. And I notice that. When people are like, “Let me check out your Instagram first.” And then they’re looking at how many followers. “Look, you’re doing pretty well.” Or, “I’m a million plus.” And then you’re like, “Yeah, I’m nowhere near that.”
But I think that something that I struggle with now is how to, is the old term of how to cut through the clutter. But now you’re dealing with so many other layers of complexity in trying to stand out and talk about what your brand is doing. So that’s one of, I guess my biggest frustrations is that component of it. Is that sometimes the media seems to be more interested in talking about celebrities and influencers rather than the other real people doing other real meaningful things.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. It’s so true. And I think the hardest thing is that “comparisonitis” that we fall into. And it’s challenging not to because we’re social beings, you know? We’re all trying to do the best for our business, but it can be debilitating if you as a business owner just feel like you have to get so distracted by doing all of that rather than growing your business. It’s an interesting bind.
So along the way, you were a marketing executive for many years before you took a leap into entrepreneurship. And what are the top three pieces of advice that you would give women in business or women thinking of making the leap into entrepreneurship, or entrepreneurs right now that perhaps you wish you would’ve told your younger self? What would be the top three things?
Ashley Daly: Okay. So again, really great questions and there’s so much to unpack there. But I would say definitely number one for me is fighting through self-doubt. Self-doubt has just a nasty way of creeping its tentacles around your psyche, and it can be very debilitating. So I think anybody looking to really chase after their dreams and start their own business is just fight through that self-doubt. And focus on the desired outcome. Really visualize your goals, and then just work your ass off to make it a reality. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to swear, but you’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to put in that grit and that tenacity. I think it sounds so simple, but self-doubt can be really crippling. And as a new startup, you’re learning so much, especially for somebody like me who had a huge team behind me, an incredible, savvy teams. So anytime we wanted to execute something, it was very easy. And suddenly when I was by myself and starting this company, I was the one who had to have all the answers.
So really fight through that and trust in yourself, and trust in the process, and know that you’re going to get it. You’re going to wrap your arms around every single obstacle and move past that, and move to the next thing.
I think number two, and this is another big one for me, is use your personal filter. Everyone has an opinion, which is great. But you’ve got to trust yourself to know what’s best for your business. Really avoid being influenced by people that don’t completely understand your vision. I’ve had so many people throughout my process of creating [inaudible 00:09:05] delicious tell me things like they don’t know why somebody would wear donuts on their shirt because they never would. Or they absolutely hate trucker hats. Why would we make trucker hats? And I’d like to believe that it didn’t come from a negative place, but a place of genuine concern.
But again, you have to think about the lens that people are looking through. Is it micro or is it macro? And when you’re designing, you have to look at the macro, and look beyond just even what you tend to like.
So I think that’s a big thing is take a lot of that feedback in, but trust in yourself to make the right decisions. Because I do think it’s so easy to get swayed by people. I got so swayed that I started designing stuff that had nothing on it, because I got so nervous about what if people don’t wear donuts.
So anyway, I think that that’s definitely a big one. And I think three is clearly define your mission, know what your goal is. And with your mission, you’ve got to live it. You’ve got to believe in it, and you’ve got to execute it. And like I said before, it’s easy to get distracted, add more to your business, or veer off course because something else looks shiny or interesting. But it’s truly, it’s so important to stay in your single swim lane until you’ve reached the objectives that you originally set out to do. But again, you still have to remain flexible and agile in your approach to evolve as necessary and augment as necessary. But stay focused and put those action items in a plan. Stick to it, and execute it. So know your mission, believe it, live it, live those values, and know the goal that you’re trying to achieve.
Melinda Wittstock: I love it. So Ashley, how can people find you, work with you, pick up some wonderful clothing items? We all need good new BeCandylicious gear.
Ashley Daly: Yes. Yes. Because we are delivering an epic dose of happy all around the U.S. And now in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Panama, which I’m excited to say.
Melinda Wittstock: Excellent.
Ashley Daly: So yes can visit us at www.becandylicious.com, our website. We’re also on Instagram @BeCandylicious. Those are the two best places to go and see what we’re all about, and all the yumminess that we have to offer. Also for your guests [Melinda 00:12:00], we wanted to offer 30% off and free shipping if they use the code Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, lovely. Gosh, thank you so much. That is so generous. That is lovely. I really appreciate that.
Ashley Daly: Absolutely. And that’s one of the best deals we’ve ever done. So I just think it’s so great what you do, and I love that you’re supporting women like myself and so many other women. So it would be amazing to have your listeners running around in our awesomeness, our fun clothing.
Melinda Wittstock: I love it. Well, thank you so much Ashley for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Ashley Daly: It was awesome to fly with you. Thank you.