This week we sit down with mother of four and business entrepreneurial wonder woman, Ashley Fryer of LoveBird BabyNests® & WilderNest® Sewing Co. Starting just five years ago nestled in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada, Ashley has found her niche creating cozy and handmade nests for babies and toddlers that feature unique indie designs from the Spoonflower Marketplace. Ashley explains that her BabyNests and WilderNests (pronounced wilderness) are, “the perfect blend of soft and durable for all indoor everyday use and all outdoor use such as day trips to the park or beach, and of course camping!”
My day starts with…
“COFFEE…Haha! Well, typically my day starts quite early, waking up with my youngest baby. I spend most of my mornings answering emails, getting my big kids off to school and then heading to our workshop which is located downtown.”
I fell in love with making goods when…
“I started sewing and crafting when I was really young. I spent the majority of my younger years living in a small town in Saskatchewan with my grandparents and my great grandmother. My grandmother taught me how to sew around the time I started grade school and I have just always loved making everything and anything! My mom and my grandma were both very talented at whatever craft they were passionate about at the time and I believe I followed suit. I’ve gone through obsessive periods were I was making jewelry and paper crafts, but I always gravitated back to sewing. Sitting at a sewing machine is a very natural place for me to be and I LOVE it.”
When I’m in my workshop, I feel…
“Very energized and enthusiastic. There is always so much to do that hours literally go by in a blink. Before I know it our work day is over and it is so hard to pull myself away to head home. My workshop is a true extension of me and I feel a continual release of creative energy while I’m there which is really healing for me (and great for my family!) which I’m sure all artists can probably relate to! I guess you can say that my job doesn’t really feel like a job most days, more like a creative outlet.”
What was your inspiration for making BabyNests?
“My son Xander who is now almost 5 was my inspiration. I have the story of how I started making Nests on my website for anyone that wants the longer version! But basically, I started by designing a resting space for him so that I could bring him to work with me after he was born.”
What’s in your toolbox as a maker?
“Things I can’t live without; a few hand me down tools from my grandma that I still use daily including an alligator clip, a pair of tiny scissors, tweezers, my Pfaff of course and more coffee.”
My proudest accomplishment over the last year is…
“This is a hard question. I think maybe being a mother of 4 children and running a business full-time is an accomplishment in itself!”
What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
“Definitely overalls or dresses. I am in love with all clothing made of linen.”
Before starting a small business…
“I wish someone had told me, “If you want to be original, be ready to be copied.” It would have saved me so much wasted energy and time feeling like I needed to protect my design, my marketing and my ideas. As artists/ makers I feel like we all struggle a little in this area; it’s a vulnerable space. What we make, create and design often feels a little like our baby.”
How did you discover Spoonflower?
“Through a friend of mine that had fabric made with her late mother’s handwriting on it. At the time I was struggling to find fabric designs that expressed my personal taste as I wanted to stand out a little. Spoonflower knocked my socks off in that aspect. I’ve also been able to connect and collaborate with designers that speak my creative language and create designs that reflect what I want to offer my customers.”
My favorite Spoonflower textile to work with is…
“Spoonflower offers the only fabric that is the perfect blend of soft and sturdy for the product that I make so it’s all around win-win. I absolutely love Spoonflower.”
What has been an important resource to you as a small business owner?
“I think that when your business starts to grow, the most important resource is finding talented staff that respects you and your creative decisions. Having a strong team is invaluable.
Secondly, I would say your online selling platform. Having a good website is a direct representation of the quality of your product. Do your research and see what type works best for your business and its needs.”
How do you decide what kinds of designs to feature on your products?
“I really just spend hours browsing the Spoonflower Marketplace and then choose designs that pop out at me. I try to meet all the needs and styles that my customers gravitate towards such as always picking a new floral, a new outdoor design, something monochromatic, something a little masculine, and always gender-neutral designs.
Bright colours with a busy print are always a good choice as they hide the stains really well which is important for parents!”
At home, Ashley has a great love for simplicity and celebrates joyful moments spent growing plants, reading, cuddling her kids and dogs, taking baths, playing games or doing puzzles with her family.