Over the last year we’ve been preparing for our biggest addition to our little family…and well business too! And that’s the welcoming of our little girl Isla Mae. It was actually a year ago today that we found out we were expecting and we couldn’t have been more excited, scared and happy with this news.
As most of you know, running a business and having a baby is a bit different than a traditional working environment. While my friends were looking forward to having a year maternity leave (hello, Canada), our reality looked very different. Seeing as both Dallas and I are self-employed we couldn’t just shut our business off for the year. We had our office, amazing team and clients to look after.
So we started the planning process and here are some tips of what’s worked for us:
We started saving! Luckily we had nine months to begin figuring out how this was going to work and for us we wanted to have a backup plan, just in case. We were thankful we could save almost a years salary so that we could take on less and not feel financially stressed.
Work now, so you can work less. We took on more work during my pregnancy so we could reduce our client in-take closer to my due date. Since I was due on New Years Eve, we decided to take on no new clients in December, only one in January and then 1-2 a month going forward for the first year. This allowed us some extra time with our baby and I was able to hand off some responsibility to Caryn and Amber on our team.
Expect the unexpected. We lost one of our developers only two weeks after Isla was born and it was pretty stressful figuring out what we were going to do. Hiring and training a new team member with a newborn was not something we could take on. While we still had Dallas (obviously), it put more pressure on him during Isla’s first few weeks as he was taking on more work. In the end, our staff stayed on freelance which was very reassuring and in the end worked better for us. It’s true what they say, everything does work out in the end.
Enjoy your baby. While not everything went as planned, we’re both super happy with how things have been going with our business and being new parents. Our team is beyond amazing and have taken a more active role in our projects. Plus Dallas and I doing things 50/50 with Miss Isla has been so fun. She gets both her parents and we get the personal satisfaction of our work – which is SO rewarding to us.
Now for a little fun! Besides being a Graphic Designer, over the years I’ve fallen in love with Interior Design. I have to say that I think #interiorlust on Instagram and Pinterest has set the bar pretty high and fuelled having everything picture perfect. That being said, when we found out we were expecting a girl, I was in heaven. I knew I wanted to create something special for our little girl so I enlisted the help of our talented client Alyssa from CoCo+Jack, a local interior design firm.
While we were working on her branding and website, they were also developing a box design service. Something a bit more affordable than traditional interior design. What was amazing about this was I could fill out a super fun questionnaire about our style and ideas I had for the space. With some quick measurements and photos, Alyssa was able to virtually develop the most beautiful and detailed design plan. We received a box filled with wallpaper, textiles and carefully selected furniture. The entire design was pulled together in a mood board and room layout so we could envision the space. Needless to say, we were blown away and started pulling the room together.
The icing on the cake was that WayFair come onboard and sponsored our glider chair and wool rug. Have a look at our newborn session we had with Crystal Hahn Photography in our new nursery.
When I compiled this list, I was BLOWN away!! I simply cannot believe we’ve been lucky enough to be involved with so many amazing business owners, just this year alone. These people trusted us as their branding agency and made working together beyond amazing. Our team at Ashley & Malone truly worked their tails off delivering design and development work that we’re so proud to stand behind. On top of that, we opened our virtual doors to some amazing new places around the world: Milan, Italy, London, UK, Melbourne, Australia, plus cities all over North America…and next year we welcome even more beautiful destinations (and hopefully some travels too)!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your love and support!
Join me in celebrating these amazing
clients and the beautiful brands they’ve built!
Afternoon Espresso – Fashion Blog
Amazae Events – Planning Company
Atelier Intensive by Brooke Keegan – Wedding Planning Education
Beverly’s Bakery – Retail Bakery
Bridentity Crisis – Wedding Blog
Cameron St. Photography – Brand + Video Photography
Celia Grace – Bridal Gown Designer
Coco & Jack – Interior Design
Corina Raznikov – Wedding Photography
Dean & Willow – Bridal Boutique
DeClare Cakes – Wedding Cake Designer
Distinct Occasions – Wedding + Event Planner
Embrey Press – Stationery Designer
Ehricka Wallace – Senior Makeup + Photography
Frances Designs – Interior Design
Holly Truhlar – Grief Practitioner
Intertwined Events – Wedding Planners
Italy Inspires – Wedding Industry Education
Janine Duff – Copywriter
Just Write Studios – Wedding Stationery + Calligraphy
Krista Fox – Wedding Photographer
Laura Jane Studios – Live Painter / Fine Artist
Living Fresh – Wedding Florist + Retail Boutique
LVL Weddings & Events – Wedding Planners
Miss Design Berry – Custom Wedding Prints
Modern Art Catering – Catering Company
Monika Hibbs – Lifestyle Blogger
One Social Events – Wedding Planners
Refined Romance Events – Wedding Planner
RO & CO Events – Wedding Planner
Simply Sera Events – Wedding Planner
The Art of Etiquette – Vow Books
The Long Weekend – Travel Blogger
The Sweet Bash Co – Sweet Table Designer
The Wedding Planning Academy – Wedding Planner Education
Tie the Knot Hair – Wedding Makeup and Hair Artist
Trattoria Timone – Italian Restaurant
Twist Me Pretty – Fashion Blogger
UK Alliance of Wedding Planners – Wedding Planner Eduction
Unveiled Hawaii – Luxury Wedding Planners
Victoria York Designs – Wedding Stationery
Vino & Vows – Lifestyle Blog
Willowbrook Farm – Event Property
WINK! Weddings – Wedding Planners
You & Lu – Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger
Yorkshire Pudding – Catering Company
It was a pinch me moment when Monika reached out about collaborating on her new blog design. I had been following Monika Hibbs for quite some time, even back during the launch of her first features in The EveryGirl and The GlitterGuide, so it was so fun to be able to dream up this design for her! She came to us with not only an amazing vision, but incredible photography and a hand calligraphy signature to work with.
The inspiration was a combination of an editorial magazine layout, mixed with the down to earth vibe of her lifestyle brand. We created her brand and website experience so it felt relaxed, welcoming and a place where a reader can really get to know Monika. I don’t know about you, but coming to this blog makes me think of having coffee (or wine) with a good friend.
Welcome! I’m Ashley, design-aholic, creative director and lady boss for Ashley & Malone. You’ve stumbled upon my favorite place on our site where I get to share the work we create that helps our clients businesses grow! In our blog you’ll find some Websites and Branding we've developed for the the Wedding and Lifestyle industries, you will also find some business tips, inspiration and insight into our little design agency.