GET ACQUAINTED WITH ASHLEIGH TIMCHENKO, FOUNDER OF SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS JEWELRY LINE FOSTERIE, NEW MOM, AND WORLD TRAVELER.
- What inspired you to start Fosterie?
My background is in the fashion industry inspired me, and though I stepped away when our daughter was born and we began traveling, I don’t think it’s something I can every truly walk away from. After 6 months or so of continually being inspired by new places, while also being exposed to different ways of life I wanted an outlet for creativity and philanthropy so Fosterie was born.
- In a nutshell, what is your company’s mission?
Aside from providing pretty products and quality items, I want to touch lives. There’s a quote I love (that I actually can’t quote at the moment) but it’s something along the lines of, if we learn something from someone it’s our duty to pass that knowledge along to someone else. I feel the same about life and business. From all the help and support I’ve received in my life, I want to be able to pay it forward.
- Why was it important to you to incorporate philanthropy into the framework of Fosterie?Through travel, my eyes have been opened to lifestyles and living condition vastly different from my own. And not just material things, but basic things like clean water and decent healthcare. I wanted to be able to provide support in a way that I know how. I’m not a non-profit expert, or great at coordinating volunteer efforts, but I know retail and through my products could offer proceeds to help organizations already doing amazing work.
- What was your biggest fear as you launched the company? How did you overcome it?
That no one would buy anything! I was terrified to push “publish” and make my site live. What if no one liked it or thought it was cheesy? I’ve written personally on my blog for years, and you would think that opening oneself up in that way would be scarier, but for some reason I was more terrified of putting my products out there than my life stories. Just before I launched, I emailed a few fashion industry friends for opinions. The feedback was positive and it gave me a boost of confidence to just go with it. You never know if you don’t try, right?
- Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry that you wear everyday?
Before we hit the road full time, I would have said my wedding rings. I have a sapphire stone and two bands that my husband and I designed together. They’re a favorite not only for the beauty but also because of the meaning. They’re locked up safely at home so I wear a thin gold wedding band and a Fosterie bracelet and/or necklace every day along with. Not just because they’re mine, but because they’re truly versatile, travel well (they’re small and lightweight), and add a boost of color and fun to my basic travel wardrobe.
- Describe the best part of owning your own company.
The many forms of freedom! Creative freedom means I can try new products and ideas that are truly my own. I can make mistakes, learn from them, and have successes, and it’s all just on me. Being based online, the freedom to be literally anywhere in the world and do this is a huge plus. Also, the freedom of time allows me to work at midnight, which is a must since I’m chasing a toddler during normal business hours!
- How has helping others - both through work and outside of work – impacted you?
Though I’d like to feel that my accomplishments in life so far were largely in part to myself, I’ve been helped so much along the way that it wouldn’t be fair to take all the credit. For this reason, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and abilities with others. Whether it’s speaking to a group of fashion students about my experience, sharing Instagram secrets with a fellow business owner, or providing proceeds to charity from the sales of my products, I’m a firm believer that there’s enough room for all of us at the top and that it doesn’t take much effort to lend a hand to someone who needs it.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I think it’s more of a mantra than advice but, “Comparison is the thief of joy” is one that always sticks out in my mind. Whether its business and career related or body image and beauty, modern culture focuses so much on comparing. Honestly, it’s a struggle sometimes not to, because I think most of us are usually just striving to be better and looking to others for inspiration, but there’s a very fine line to be aware of where inspiration quickly turns into comparison and becomes a joy robber!
- Do you believe clothing has the power to increase a woman’s confidence? If yes, please explain a time when you experienced this.
Absolutely! My whole career was built in the retail industry, which gets a bad rap for being vain. But more often, I’ve seen the positive side; from helping an interviewee with the purchase of a new suit, to helping a friend dress for a first date, and everything in between. Small moments can still be confidence boosters because no one likes to feel out of place with their clothing. Due to my career and affiliation with the fashion industry, I receive emails often (which I love!) asking how to dress for certain occasions, which outfit would work best for an event, etc. Sometimes it’s a matter of not knowing or having access, other times it’s a case of just needing a friend to say, “Heck yeah, you look amazing!” I don’t think clothing should be a crutch and the sole basis of our confidence, but if lipstick and a pair of heels help kick it up a notch, go for it!
- Please include anything else you would like our readers to know.
Though Fosterie started with jewelry, I’m slow starting to expand with other accessories so check in often for beautiful, one-of-a-kind items from all over the globe.