"I quit my job and I needed something to do."
On a whim, that something for Ashlyn was to make a sign and hang it on her back door. After a neighbor complimented her sign, she decided to try selling at a craft show. People told her to not get her hopes up since it was her first run at it.
"I took 43 signs and sold every single one."
Averaging one to two shows a month, she says she experiences ups and downs in sales like any business owner. "I've had shows where I've made a lot of money, and shows where I actually lost money," she says. "Number one thing is don't get discouraged."
I asked Ashlyn to give practical advice to a craftswoman wanting to start selling her work.
"You have to pay attention to what shows you're doing. They might sound expensive, but chances the fee you pay for your booth is going towards advertising the show, bringing in more people to buy your stuff." She described some successful shows where good advertising led to great sales, and then I asked her to tell me about the worst show she's had. "The one in Hale." It was at an Eagle's club, where she sold one sign in two days.
"My booth was stuffed in a corner, I had to crawl over a folding table to get to it, and the only advertisement for the show was that one of the vendors stuck a "Craft Show" sign he was selling in the lawn in front of the hall."
We're sitting in her kitchen, nearing the end of our conversation, and Ashlyn is telling me about a recent craft show.
"My favorite part of the whole weekend - this girl comes into my booth with her husband and she's staring at me. 'You look so familiar!' she says. Turns out she had gotten a hold of me two years ago because she was pregnant, and she wanted me to make a ruler for the baby's room with his name on it. And she's like, "Do you want to see the baby?!' And she took out pictures to show me, and one of the pictures was of the baby's room and I could see the ruler was still up on the wall. It's always fun to see where my stuff went and who it belongs to. It's fun to see that this means something to people."