We love our community, so each month, we’re bring you an interview to shine a light on some of our incredible, inspiring SC Sisters. August’s feature is DIY and sewing blogger Ashley Strickland-Horne!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m originally from the West Suburbs of Chicago and migrated to Arizona my sophomore year of college. In high school I took my first sewing class and I should have known then what type of sewer I would be. Most kids picked a pair of pajama pants or a little bag to make, but I decided I wanted to make a pillow with arms, a cover, side pockets and piping. Can you tell I love to be extra? This passion continued in college when I got to study theater and costume design. I designed my first set of costumes for a student play and that was one of my proudest moments. Fast forward to now, and I am still sewing and not really following directions, but making my own path. This has driven me to inspire others to try their hand at sewing and think outside of the box.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I wanted a safe place for introverts like myself who found that making their own clothes was a great form of self expression. Not speaking for every introvert in the world, but for me personally it can be a challenge sometimes staying engaged in conversations. I think about any and everything all the time, but sometimes my lips don’t say what I’m thinking and it can be frustrating. With blogging, I can take my time to figure out what I want to say and how I want to say it. And I was surprised to learn there were many others out there like me. For my subscribers, creating clothes can be an ice breaker because if someone compliments an item they made it boosts their confidence. They don’t even have to tell anyone it was handmade or that they spent hours on one part that should have taken them ten minutes. The compliment can be a form of encouragement that they needed to keep going, which may bring out a smile and spark a conversation with a stranger. And that is why I keep blogging.
What motivates you?
My husband and mom are two of my biggest supporters. They always ask about my projects or let me bounce ideas off of them. And they celebrate my victories with me. It keeps me going on days when I feel like I have no clue what I am doing. Over the years, I have also made friends in different parts of the world in the sewing community. We’ve become each other’s support system, which has been refreshing. And we celebrate when someone is killing it, which can motivate us to get off the couch and work if we see something we want to try and make. I truly believe the arts and craft world can help spark inventions and new ideas in general because there are no guidelines on what you can create. It’s truly inspiring.
How do you stay true to yourself in the online space?
Taking breaks is a must for me. I deal with fibroids, blood clots and anemia. Depending on what’s going on in my life my body may tell me, “not today,” and I have to be okay with taking the rest. Self-care for me is a top priority because one thing can lead to another if I am not careful. By taking these breaks and stepping away from social media and the internet I am able to be present and hear about what my family and friends are doing. And that is what builds lasting relationships: being in the moment.
What are your dreams/goals for the future of your blog?
My dream is that my blog becomes a resource for sewers, sewists, seamstresses and more. I want it to be a community, where my subscribers become confident in themselves, make friends and share their passion without judgement. With my blog, I want to have my sewing patterns available to the group and encourage them to experiment with the designs like I do. It will be a space that challenges and encourages creativity.
What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Creating the content has been a blast. I have been challenged, to say the least, to think of cool and exciting things to share. It has also given me a great appreciation for other bloggers because I didn’t realize how much went into it before. Not only do I have to get the material to sew, but I have to use my time management skills to sew the garment, get photos, take my sewing notes and write a blog post, plan my social media posts, write those captions and schedule everything out while of course making sure to engage with my audience. What’s important in all of that is that you have the passion for the content, and the rest will come.
What are your tips/words of advice for women who want to start blogging/break into the influencer space?
Just start. Get that domain, create that site and start writing. I suggest reading a lot. I personally have found the resources that Style Collective offers very helpful. My SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills have improved so much because of what I learned from this platform. And find yourself an accountability partner. That can be a family member, friend or someone you share a similar passion with. That way on days when you want to quit they can be there and you can be there for them, too. I guarantee you on the days when you feel like, “this is it, I’m done,” those are the days when you are so close. Many milestones have been crossed off my list because of this mentality to keep going.
Where can we find you?
“What’s important…is that you have the passion for the content, and the rest will come.”
What do you love about SC?
I really enjoy the Link Love section, where we can share our blog post. It encourages me to set time aside to read, which I love to do, and help others grow their blog. This group is the epitome of collaboration over competition. Additionally, there are the blog posts that Style Collective emails us that always seem to be right on point with what I need to succeed. For example, how to pitch to brands. I had no clue how to do this before. And finally there is the Facebook, which is where I have seen women come together for ideas for social media posts or just ask questions and actually get assistance. I really look forward to seeing how this platform continues to grow.