Jackie Ashley is the brainchild and Founder of New Zealand based scent company, Ashley & Co.
Jackie has long been fascinated with senses, with the curiosity growing from her childhood having spent time abroad in Hong Kong. It was amidst the heady scents of incense, the rich colours of the bustling city, and the aroma of street-food vendors that Jackie developed a passion for the sensory experiences.
With the business having enjoyed over a decade of success, being stocked worldwide in countries such as Singapore, UAE and the UK, and an ever-growing product line with a catalogue of over 50 products currently, the brand is looking to Australia to expand their global presence.
Tell us about Ashley & Co.
We call ourselves a modern day scent company and create products that embrace scent – spanning Body, Hair, Home and Essential Cleaning supplies. We feel that Ashley & Co is not beholden to any particular trend. Instead we thrive on considered simplicity. Our aim is for our customer to fall in love with a scent, and then be able to shop that scent throughout the Ashley & Co range, comfortably weaving products into their day, to uplift and bring joy.
What inspired you to start Ashley & Co?
Ashley & Co was founded 16 years ago, so we’ve been around quite some time in New Zealand, more recently in Australia.
Inspired by my surroundings, past experiences and things I love led me to experiment with scent in the home. At the time more luxury scented products for the home were limited to candles, potpourri and a small selection of boutique hand wash. Being a new home owner, I wanted products that were accessible, creative yet not overly showy and most importantly effective. Our Home Perfume, reed diffuser was our first product, which has naturally led into many scent extensions.
Tell us about your career and background.
I was really creative as a child, but upon leaving school I chose to follow a science path similar to my Dad. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I knew it was now or never to make change and pursue my passion. With the help of my husband, Ben, a graphic designer, I was able to invest all my time and energy into a new project and beginnings of a business.
Describe a typical work day for you.
A typical work day involves a bit of pre work related banter at home with Ben before getting into the office post drop offs.
My main role now is in product development from product conception, development through to sampling and production. There is a lot of focus on keeping the momentum of a new projects going with many moving parts, in between various meetings, and discussions with members of the team. The day is of course never long enough!
What advice do you have for those wanting to start a business?
I know very well that when you start a business you begin by being the Jack of all trades, but when the time is right, surround yourself with great people who are good at what they do, leaving you to concentrate on where your skills and passion lie.
A friend gave me some great advice many years ago which I have become better at practicing; don’t to forget to celebrate the wins along the way, no matter how small.
What’s next for you, and Ashley & Co?
We have some exciting new products to be released later this year. We want to continue cementing our place in the home fragrance and bodycare space in existing markets and look at expanding into new ones, by creating and sharing products that can be enjoyed by many.