This series was inspired by community, a way to get to know and support women in business, creators and dreamers. I am excited to dig in!
Meet Ashley Farrow owner of the instagram account @ shopreleases_babyandkids
I met Ashley last year when she reached out about our Parisian Collection. Ashley is a Mom with an aspiring love of community and supporting small shops in any way that she can.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your family and where you live.
My name is Ashley and I live in Scranton, PA (home of The Office if there are any fans out there!) with my hubby Daniel and our 2 ½ yr old daughter, Nora. Currently, we are struggling getting used to a new routine on top of an already hectic schedule such as the start of preschool, a new job/school for Daniel, starting my own business (while also working for my family’s business), and trying to balance that with family time and activities. Our favorite season is Fall and I don’t want it to pass us by! :)
Was there a main factor that contributed to your love of small shops?
I discovered the small and handmade shop community on instagram while pregnant with my daughter about three years ago. I just loved the styles, colors, uniqueness, and quality of the clothing that I wasn’t seeing anywhere else (especially not the big box stores). I started following a few shops (I think Carrie from @sweetasapril was one of the first I found) and then kept following all the tags to discover even more shops. I began to notice that these shops and customers are actually a community of kind and supportive moms and it really became a place I felt safe to come and chat about the struggles I was having as a first time mom. There was no judgement, just compassion and knowing that I wasn’t alone. Over time, I also saw how much of an impact the small shop community has on the world, by using preloved material, using recycled or biodegradable materials for packaging, sourcing materials in more sustainable ways, employing people such as stay at home moms or people from impoverished countries to pay them fair wages, coming together to help donate products and set up auctions for those in need, and seriously I could just go on. I felt like I finally found my tribe, my people.
How long have you had your Shop Releases instagram account on IG? Do you have any other groups that we need to know about perhaps on Facebook or a blog?
I started this account at the end of last year. It’s definitely been a labor of love, because to stay relevant on IG and to serve my followers, I try to post as often as possible. I post to my stories all day long, which can definitely be time consuming so I do it whenever and wherever I can (on the treadmill, before going into work, waiting at the doctor’s office, in line at Starbucks...you get the idea...basically all the time lol) And I’m sure most shops or anyone trying to build their instagram account can relate. But honestly, I do it because I love it and I absolutely adore chatting with and getting to know shop owners and fellow shoppers. In my stories, I focus on posting new shop release dates/times, giveaways, sales, and brand rep searches. I also have those as highlights including other categories so you can find shops that sell shoes, bows, hats, tights, boy clothes, halloween, etc. I did start a Facebook page, but unfortunately haven’t done much with it yet. I am hoping to start a Facebook group soon to have a place for everyone to discuss upcoming releases and what not. A few of my girlfriends and I love discussing our favorite shop releases and plan what we’re going to get from each so I think it would be a great space for others to do that.
You generously spend your time promoting the new releases of shops on Instagram. Tell me a little bit about what motivates you to do this.
I started this account as a precursor to an app idea I had a year ago. As I started following the shops, I began to see and hear them talk about problems they were having with running their shop, such as trouble promoting on instagram, lack of accountability from other shops and influencers when collaborating, not having enough time to keep track of everything, etc. One day while in my bathroom getting ready for work, an idea just hit me on how I can help shops and even the customers. The ideas just kept flowing and I started writing them all down. Since then I’ve been working hard to build up this instagram account to continue to serve everyone, find and meet with app developers, investors, designers, and business contacts, and continue to refine the problems/solutions to build this app. It’s taken much longer than I imagined and I’m not a very patient person. So needless to say, I’ve had to learn a lot in the past year and work on getting past certain struggles such as severe anxiety when it comes it speaking in front of other people. I’ve had a ton of meetings that really tested and quite literally defeated me, but I picked myself back up and decided to keep moving forward and learn and grow as much as I can. Here’s where my girl Rachel Hollis comes in! :) But stay tuned, for much more to come.
I am sure through your account you must’ve made some wonderful friendships. Tell me a little bit about your experiences with the small shop community.
Oh yes, and that has been my favorite part. Getting to connect with other amazing mamas has been so wonderful. I love making friends that are located all around the world. I just hope one day I can visit them all in person!
You must find it difficult to resist buying everything that you share. Here’s the fun part. Tell us where YOU love to shop.
This has definitely been the HARDEST part. I love all the shops in this community and appreciate everyone’s talent so much. But I’ve been working on planning capsule wardrobes for my daughter so we aren’t drowning in clothing, overspending, and living a more minimal and less wasteful life. I do try to buy from many of the shops, but for Nora’s fall wardrobe we’ve shopped at @amuseme_shop (of course!), @gypsyandfreeshop, @shopfigge.kids, @dannieandlilou, @adelisaandco, canvas_house_designs, and a few others. I plan out the colors and look I’m going for and then try to buy a piece from each of our favorite shops. This way everything can be mixed and matched and I’m getting to buy beautiful clothes from many different mamas.