Asking for a Friend with Ashby Vose
There aren’t many people in the world like Ashby Vose. She is an editorial strategist for an incredibly cool company called Dia & Co— a plus size clothing subscription box company. She has not only structured their influencer program, but she has innovated what that program and what those partnerships can look like. I met Ashby a few months ago on a trip to New York. We got to hang out for a little while, shoot a Facebook live for Dia & Co and then share a train ride back to Brooklyn. What struck me most about Ashby was that talking with her was incredibly easy. It felt like we had been friends for years. Maybe it was all the emails we’d exchanged or the fact that we’d been internet friends for a while but it was so relaxing in a week full of meeting new people. Ashby has a robust and growing online presence and I think that’s why— she’s always happy to be your bestie whether that’s on the internet or otherwise.
Excited to have her here today.
What are a few things that you want us to know about you?
I’m Ashby Vose. I grew up in Northern California and currently live in Brooklyn, New York. I’m a content creator obsessed with fashion and love to create content that empowers women to embrace themselves and their bodies.
Do you remember the first time you remember being emotionally affected by failure?
One of the first moments when failure really struck me was when I was fired from my summer job as a 16-year-old working in a smoothie shop. I only worked one or two days, and was devastated when I didn’t get to return to work. That was my plan for the entire summer. I worked tirelessly applying for jobs, driving everywhere I could think of to ask for an application and constantly following up. I knew I deserved the job, even though so many places wouldn’t hire a 16-year-old, but I was so determined. When I was let go, I frankly didn’t know what to do. I cried to my parents, I complained to my friends. One friend said, “It’s not like making speedy smoothies is a crucial life skill.” And something about that stuck with me—she was right. Never again in my life would someone be upset if I were too slow at making smoothies. It was both true and funny and it was the best way I could have possibly been consoled.
What’s the biggest accolade you earned while you were in school?
Getting into NYU was my biggest achievement and something that I was extremely proud of. It was my dream school, and it felt like a reach for me. When I got in, I instantly started celebrating with my family and went out to dinner where my dad ordered a few too many martinis and shouted at the waitstaff just how proud he was. Then, one week later, my boyfriend at the time broke up with me because I was planning on moving out of California for college. In one week I had achieved both my biggest dream and experienced heartbreak and devastation. Academic success got coupled with a failing relationship. Because, a little success often is coupled with a little failure.
What does your day to day look like in your occupation?
I write blog posts, work with influencers to create content on our editorial schedule, and create live video and other digital content that engages and inspires our audience. While I work for a fashion company, most of my work is really around fashion. Less about an outfit but more about how an outfit makes you feel, offering tips to our community on not just “how-to” but also why she can and should participate in fashion however she would like to. Every Thursday at 7PM I go LIVE from the Dia Facebook page, talking fashion and body positivity. I love featuring amazing guests and connecting with our community members.
What does your morning routine look like?
Before my alarm goes off, a kitty hops in bed looking for snuggles. I spend the last few minutes in bed petting a cat (I have two and they take turns waking me up) until the alarm sounds. I get up, go to the bathroom, and feed the kitties their breakfast. Recently I’ve been running in the mornings, since it gets dark early this time of year and I can no longer run after work. When I run, I play a great playlist that wakes me up, then come home and hop in the shower. I dry off, grab a granola bar, and put on my outfit for the day. Then I sit at my desk and listen to the New York Times’ podcast The Daily while I apply my makeup. Before heading out the door, I try to remember to bring my lunch or my workout clothes if I’m going to a workout after work. I often leave my lunch in the fridge, despite the sign on the door that reads, “BRING YOUR LUNCH.”
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Everything about you that makes you different and weird is actually your strength. You don’t need to be funny to be liked. You’re funny and a great entertainer, but you don’t have to be entertaining and fun to compensate for your looks. You look really great as you are. When your mama says you’re beautiful, she’s not just telling you that to make you feel good, she’s telling you that because it’s true. Instead of trying to look like the other girls on the team and praying to lose weight and doing extra workouts, try to embrace your size and your body. Coaches may think you don’t look athletic, but they know nothing. Oh, and take some art classes. You’ll love them. You’ve never considered yourself an artist but you know just how crafty you really are, you love craft projects. Lean into that. It’s great for your mental health and contrary to popular belief you can make money in a creative field. Stop stressing out over chemistry, it will never serve you well. Keep caring about your outfits, shopping, and makeup. Those things are not stupid or frivolous like your dad may lead you to believe. They’re empowering and you love them, so let yourself obsess over what you love because it’ll turn into something great.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
In California. After 7 years living in NYC, it’s time to move back to California and be closer with my family and closer with nature and sunshine. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing, but I hope it involves more on-camera opportunities in a meaningful environment.
It’s a random Tuesday and you have the day off and no plans, what do you do to fill those hours?
Once I’ve cleaned the apartment and done my chores, I’d blast music and paint. I started a little side-hustle painting leather handbags to sell on Etsy. I always want to spend more time working on them and marketing them than I have to spend. (You can check out the shop here.)
If you’re comfortable, would you mind sharing one failure from the six months?
I have failed to put the time and energy into my social media profile lately. I have continuously abandoned it, and I haven’t been cultivating my own community. I have poured so much energy into Dia’s social content and the Dia community that I’ve felt I’ve had no energy left for me. After doing some deeper reflection, I realize that my priorities are a little out-of-whack. I should be spending my time and energy on myself. I won’t always be working for Dia, but I will always be working on me and I shouldn’t put myself to the backburner. I wish that my own social media content didn’t feel like work, but I’m going to learn from this and prioritize cultivating my own community, my own content, and my own brand because that’s what’s going to further my career more than anything I can add to my resume.
If you’re comfortable, would you mind sharing one success from the past year?
I started my own little business, my own side-hustle. Because I have a lot of experience in the start-up world, I’ve kind of always had a pipe dream of starting my own company and being an entrepreneur. I started my own little Etsy shop in May, selling hand-painted leather handbags. I’ve just broken even and am finally making money (not much, but it’s something!) and have learned so much through the process. Check out my little shop and see if there’s something that catches your eye!
Who is the most ‘successful’ person you know?
Nadia Boujarwah. She’s Dia&Co’s CEO and Co-Founder.
What do you think makes them ‘successful’?
Nadia has been every size from a 12 to a 22. She couldn’t find a prom dress that fit her size 22 body so she made her own. This problem of finding clothing that fit became a problem that she would work fiercely to solve. Now, she is the CEO of a company that exclusively serves plus size women. She’s not just doing because she sees a white space in the market, she deeply believes that plus women deserve to love themselves and is selling more than clothing, she’s selling community and a sense of self-worth. Dia’s vision is to spark radical self love through style. Now, Nadia (and Co-Founder Lydia) have over 900 employees and are running a company backed by Sequoia. But still, Nadia and Lydia are down to roll up their sleeves and work late nights and have never lost the scrappy start-up mentality. It’s empowering to work for a female-founded, mission-driven company.
Describe your relationship with failure?
Well, I hate it. I’m an all-in kinda gal. I don’t half-ass anything, I’m a whole-ass person. So when I fail, it usually hurts a great deal. I get that sinking feeling in my chest and have a hard time swallowing. I feel a lot, and when I fail it hurts a lot. But I’ve never not learned from a failure. I learned a lot from getting fired at the smoothie shop and what I’ve learned most about myself through failure is that I’m incredibly resilient. Yes, I’ll be devastated when I fail. I’ll feel broken. But after some time has passed, I’ll pick myself back up and try again. Every time I fail, I’m surprised by just how resilient I am and ready to gear back up to give it another go.
Describe your relationship with success?
I’m not so great with the big picture perspective, I’m very detail-oriented and it can be hard for me to take a step back and reflect on success or even realize that I’ve had success. I’ve noticed though, that the people in my life that I keep close, like my boyfriend, generally are better at seeing big-picture than I am. My boyfriend is constantly reflecting on my success and looking at how yesterday’s wins can project future success. I am trying to slow down and be mindful and reflective because otherwise I’ll miss all of the incredible success that I’ve created. I used to have my success measured by my dad. He was always encouraging me to try out for the team or to put in the extra effort to get the grade and get into the good college, but now that I am where I am–a college grad with a stable job in a fulfilling and creative environment–my dad has less input and less control over my life. But, he sure does tune in to every video to say hi and will give me a few pointers and complements once the video is complete.
What parting words do you have for us?
My aunt died last month, and it’s something that has been weighing heavy on my heart. Being so far away from my family during this difficult time has left me craving some family time. So, I’m hugging my friends a little longer and even doling out kisses on cheeks to everyone that I love dearly. One of the most incredible tasks that my aunt achieved during the last year or so of her life was to train my grandparents to say, “Love you!” when at the end of a phone call. Now, they are sure to say, “Love you!” even though they’re of a stubborn generation that doesn’t openly show their love (and frankly they very seldom used to say that phrase). So before it’s too late, tell your loved ones how much you love them and even take the time to train the stubborn ones to do the same. You never know how long your loved ones will be around to tell them one last, “Love you!”
One last question: Where can I get a good slice of pizza?
Daddy Green’s in BedStuy, Brooklyn. It’s classic New York pizza but with a sesame seed crust and it’s 2 blocks away from my apartment, so get it to-go and eat it in my backyard with me and the kitties. And yes, it’s the kind of pizza you fold.