Meet the Maker: Ashley Owens of Black Sheep Goods
Managing motherhood and a booming business means no two days are the same. For Ashley Owens of Black Sheep Goods in Nashville, Tennessee, that means taking every day in stride, admitting you can’t do everything all at once and accepting there is no set schedule or typical day— and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
A life-long crafter, Ashley taught herself to knit when she was pregnant in 2013 to keep herself occupied and productive. Months later, she stumbled across a vintage loom at an estate sale and taught herself to weave. Much like knitting, weaving served as therapy, a creative outlet, and stress relief that she wanted others to experience.
As a self-taught weaver, Ashley immediately recognized the high barrier to entry weaving presented for those who wanted to try it. So she set out to create an affordable, all-in-one option to make it more accessible. After months of research, the Pop Out Loom Kit was born.
The Pop Out Loom Kit is a cornerstone of Ashley’s business, but she also exercises her creativity in weaving fiber jewelry, clothing, scarves, and tapestries.
As a business owner and mom to a 4-and-a-half-year-old boy, Ashley admits that some days are more productive than others. She uses those days as a reminder for herself that she doesn’t have to do everything all at once and encourages other entrepreneurs to adopt that same mindset. “If you start getting overwhelmed, back up,” she says. “Everything will be there tomorrow. You want to stay on a schedule, but you don’t want to drain yourself. Find a balance between family, home life, and your business, because all are important.” Ashley is speaking from experience – she started and grew her entire business all while raising her son at home. Impressive and inspiring to say the least.
Looking back, Ashley recalls the moment she secured 100 retailers of her loom kits as her first major accomplishment. “It was tough, but also a huge highlight because I managed all of the leg work – from building the website, writing the instructions, putting the kits together individually, the networking, PR, outreach, and relationship building,” she says. “Keeping with it and securing the 100th retailer was a big accomplishment because it affirmed there are people out there who want my product.”
Ashley embraces the idea of “community over competition,” doing her part to help grow the artistic community in Nashville by teaching weaving classes and participating in local arts and craft shows like Porter Flea and Franklin Sunday Market. She also purchases a majority of her fiber from SmART!, a local non-profit supply store whose profits go to programs that promote the health, happiness, and safety of adults living with intellectual disabilities.
Looking ahead, Black Sheep Goods has plans to expand in to a dedicated studio space in the next year and Ashley is constantly working on new loom ideas and products. You can stay up to date with what she and Black Sheep Goods are up to on Instagram and browse her extensive selection of handcrafted goods at her website.
Images supplied by Black Sheep Goods.