Ashley Rene Swathwood - Woman to Watch Class of 2015
Owner of Ashley Rene's-Prom, Pageant & Bridal
Classic Image Photography
Ashley Rene Swathwood is the owner of Ashley Rene's - Prom, Pageant and Bridal Boutique in Elkhart. Ashley Rene's is one of the Top 10 Prom stores in the nation, and an official wardrobe sponsor of Miss Indiana USA & Miss Indiana America. Ashley's gowns have graced the stage of Miss America, Miss USA, red carpets and more. She also works with pageant girls across the country on interview preparation, platform development, image and wardrobe consulting. Additionally, she has dressed thousands of area high school girls for prom and formals and her newest venture into bridal has allowed her to continue servicing clients and helping them find their dream gown on the most important day of their lives.
Just In A Day's Work:
What has been the proudest work moment in the past year?
A gown we worked hand-in-hand to custom design with the top designer in our industry, Sherri Hill, for Miss Indiana USA to wear to compete for Miss USA. The dress was voted "Best Gown" at Miss USA 2014.
What do you love about your job?
I get the opportunity to do what I love every single day. I am fortunate to get to work with young ladies and women across the country on some of the happiest days of their lives! I love to help select gowns that truly showcase the client's personality and make them feel beautiful.
What was the best business advice you have received and who gave it?
My father has always been my biggest inspiration in business. He has taught me that if you work hard, do what you say you will do and take care of your customers, the sky is the limit. Hard work and a good work ethic truly does pay off!
Who inspires you professionally?
Sherri Hill - She is the top designer in my industry and she has successfully managed her career and a beautiful family. She is also involved in many charity organizations and gives back with her gowns to "Operation That’s My Dress" which provides thousands of new gowns for teenage girls by partnering with the USO to honor children of military families for their sacrifice and courage.
Do you serve on any charitable organizations' boards or committees?
I have started an Indiana Chapter of Angel Gown's (Angel Gowns by Ashley Rene's) to provide gowns to area hospitals for families that lost a baby while in the hospital. These gowns are used for burial and final photos. We take wedding gowns we receive through donations and have volunteer seamstresses work together to offer families these precious gowns. There is no better gift that can be given to a grieving family than affirming the importance of the life of their child by offering them this precious gift.
The Balancing Act:
What does “success” mean to you?
Success is knowing that you have done everything you can do to succeed. Your word is the most important thing you have, and my clients know that I will always do what I say
and take good care of them. To be in a situation now to not only have my own store but to also be able to give back from that store and share my passion with others is incredible.
What’s your best secret to “having it all?"
Work hard - Put your blood, sweat and tears into something and give it your all. Surround yourself with a good team who shares your vision and passion. You simply cannot have it all without a kick butt team!
What is your favorite non-work activity or hobby?
Playing with my daughter or my two-pound Chihuahua and reading.
How do you stay organized?
I have lots of lists and a calendar/agenda with me at all times.
What is your favorite form of stress relief?
A long, hot shower!
10 SASSY Facts About Ashley Rene Swathwood:
Favorite TV Show:
Law and Order SVU
Anything by Nicholas Sparks.
Favorite Scented Candle:
Favorite Beauty Product:
Mary Kay Foundation Primer - It feels amazing!
What do you think makes up a Sassy woman?
Not conforming to what others want you to be, but yet comfortable in your own skin and your own style. If that means leopard print or red lipstick, then so be it!
What did you want to be as a kid growing up?
I always had a "fun dream" and then a "real career.” My fun dream was to own my own dress store, but my real career was to become an elementary special education teacher. I was starting my junior year of college when I thought I would take a few business classes. The rest is history!
Biggest Pet Peeve:
When people talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. I believe firmly in doing what you say you will do.
What makes you feel the SASSIEST?
A good pair of heels and red lipstick.
If you were a shoe, describe what you would be and why?
A rhinestone pair of Uggs because they are sassy, blingy and comfortable with working the sales floor on 10 hour days!