Unikool.it stories. The story Ashley Miller: a freelance print designer from Ohio.
My name is Ashley Miller and I’m a Freelance Print Designer. I’m originally from Ohio where I attended college at the world renowned University of Cincinnati DAAP program.
I then moved to NYC in 2006 and now have over 11 years working in the New York fashion industry with some of the most well known, exciting fashion brands. I not only do print consulting for other companies but I also started my own digitally print clothing line called, How Very Dare. I currently reside in Sleepy Hollow, NY with my wonderful husband, Wade and my awesome pup, Andi.
I’ve been a Print Designer for 11 years now. I started my career making children’s wear prints, which I really loved.
The artwork I was creating was so colorful and whimsical.
But my real passion was for women’s wear, so I quit my paying job and took and big risk to intern for free for Betsey Johnson. My risk paid off tremendously! A full time print position became available two months into my internship and I was lucky enough to take it! I worked at Betsey for 4 1/2 years. Those were the best 4 1/2 years of my career.
Betsey is the most inspiring, fun loving person you could ever work for. Everyday working there was a delight and I made so many lasting connections with talented designers and other industry insiders.
I not only solely created all the Prints/ Graphics for the brand, but I was also involved in every aspect of the company including marketing, branding and fashion show creation.
It was the best learning experience you could have. I was so inspired by how much I had learned that I decided to go out on my own and become a Freelancer. I also took all of the insight I had acquired about running a fashion business and created my own collection, How Very Dare.
Three years into my own collection I decided to take a break from it and focus on freelance consulting. My freelance client list is ever growing. I’ve worked for Marc Jacobs, Tibi, Catherine Maladrino, Donna Karan, Madewell, Rebecca Taylor, Kay Unger, Lisa Perry, Macy’s, American Eagle and was even able to assist with the first Fashion Show at the United Nations.
Life as a Freelance Print Designer is a bit crazy! But I love it! It fits very well with my spontaneous personality. Everyday is different. Personally as a creative, I find it much more fulfilling than a 9-5 job, I’m always working, always looking for inspiration and always creating. Some days I will end up working for 7 different clients. Some projects take hours and some take days. When pairing this with running a full time clothing business I would find myself working 20 hour days, but the motivation to create always kept me going.
I’m not looking for business partner, but I’m always looking for collaborations. If you’re a designer looking for some one to work with you on creating prints, I’m your girl!
I constantly find myself looking for the perfect dream job. Every company I freelance for, I always ask myself should I work here full time? Constantly contemplating if I should go back to full time to receive extra work benefits like 401K and health insurance.
There are so many pros and cons of each work place. Some have no work life balance but the product you’re creating is just so damn beautiful it’s rewarding.
While others have a great work life balance but I’m not so attached to the product. I find myself in this constant battle to find the perfect position, but then I realize that what I am doing is the perfect position for me.
Having my own business still allows me to have the benefits I need, even if I have to pay out of pocket for them.
I also get fulfillment out of working with so many new people all the time. It’s like “dating” every fashion company without the commitment of “marriage”.
I get 90% of my clients from word of mouth. I’ve only used fashion recruiters twice in my 11 years.
I feel like the more awareness I can get (as in even doing this interview with you) the more business I can acquire. My passion for what I do is tremendous, I would love to work with each and every designer no matter how big or small.
Primarily word of mouth, but socially media platforms are helping my business on a daily basis. Linkedin has been a really amazing way for designers all around the globe to get in contact with me. I’ve also been featured on Utelier which helped me to get in contact with you! The internet has really helped designers from around the world become closer than ever before.
Other freelancers are my competitors, I wouldn’t necessarily call them competitors, more like colleagues.
I never feel like some one is taking work away from me.
I’m consistently busy, so no need to look at others as competitors.
I think your project is amazing! There are so many designers around the world starting (or thinking about starting) their own business. Whether is be a clothing line, consulting, illustration, etc. It’s nice to have an outlet to turn to and see how others are making it in the industry. It can be very tough at times, but if you truly are passionate about what you do you will always succeed. Thanks for creating a space where like minded people can learn from one another!
My Tumblr (online portfolio): http://astarprints.tumblr.com/
How Very Dare (my clothing line project website) http://howverydareclothing.tumblr.com/Collection
Intagram: astarprints is my username