It takes a village to raise a.....brand
Hi friends! Welcome back to the Ask blog, if you don't know me, my name is Alisha and I own Ask Apparel, along with my husband Kevin. We run our business out of a tiny lake town in central Arkansas and have for the past three years. We started out the same way many others have, we bought a Cricut, a crappy heat press from Amazon and spent months learning how the heck to do all the things and how to do them properly. Well 3 years later, here we are, we figured it out lol. We took the uphill, in the snow both ways approach to business, aka, let's just figure it out as we go, and that's exactly what we did, we used youtube and other online tutorials to learn graphic design, how to properly use HTV, how to screen print, how to sublimate, etc. And for two years the team stayed pretty tiny, myself, Kevin, our daughter, a store employee and my wonderful sister who helped me nearly everyday in the beginning, just working everyday, trying to constantly make it better and trying to keep up. In the baby stage of all businesses, money is tight, you are putting everything back in to upgrade equipment (I swear I still have press elbow from our manual press lol) and so hiring help was just not in the budget if we were going to meet the goals we had set.
So that meant doing it all, running the shop, making the shirts, doing the designs etc, until one day around Christmas in 2018, ya'll I broke, and I mean BROKE, I called a friend and asked if she could come sit at the store for me and I literally sat in my car in a parking lot and cried for like 3 hours, correction I SOBBED for 3 hours, my sister came and talked and it didn't matter what she had said, the tears were exhaustion, fatigue, pressure (mostly self induced) and they had a mind of their own and what they wanted was to just cry for a while. My sweet friend just said "take your time, get it out and I've got you here" and that was what I needed in that moment, but it was time, it was time to take the scary step, it was time for my husband to quit his 15 year career job as a foreman for an electric company to come to Ask full time, he was exhausted too from driving 3 hours a day to work and then working all day and spending the evenings learning screen printing, helping me bag, learning the ins and outs of shipping etc. But that was so scary!! His job was the safety net, if Ask fails we will be fine bc his job will be there, well it was time to pull the rug out and go all in, and in April the following year Kevin gave his notice, and packed away the steel toed boots (which he was fine with lol) and we focused on the future of Ask, and started to dream the BIG dreams.
As 2020 was approaching we started to plan the launch of Ask Apparel to the wholesale marketplace, giving stores across the country the opportunity to buy our tees to sell in their stores, keep in mind this is still just me and Kevin making tees in the game room of our house, and we were NOT PREPARED lol, it started off slow and just continued to grow, even when COVID hit and we had to close the doors to our retail store we were still getting wholesale orders, and quickly outgrowing our upstairs game room. So it was time for yet another scary step, we needed a production facility and we needed HELP, after months of looking and waiting to see the impact COVID could have on our business we found just the right place, and as I had done with the store, I made a crappy drawing of how we would lay it out, and with the help of several friends, family, and others we moved all of our equipment out of our house and into our new facility and it felt like we could BREATHE for the first time in months, fast forward to now, we have taken the space next door to out facility to make room for a warehouse and offices. Kevin and I may have built Ask but there is no way we could have ever done it alone, and we are so blessed to have the amazing team we have now! And each and every one of them are essential to the team, and I couldn't be more grateful to all of them for not only working SO HARD but for loving Ask the way we do. We are now a team of 9 and that team is steadily growing to make way for all the new things we are doing in 2021.
I hope you've enjoyed learning a bit about our story and would love to know what you'd like to see from our next blog! Ask have never been about the trends of the season, or what's hot and what's not, so I'm sorry lol there won't be any blogs about that, but what you can expect is real talk from me, because my real dream is a community of women, supporting and leaning on each other and not an unrealistic standard that can never be achieved.