ASHLEY MARGARET CRAFT
My name is Ashley Margaret Craft, and I am the calligrapher, designer, visionary, and writer behind the scenes of ‘Ashley Margaret’. The art I create is meant to tell great stories; it is timeless, organic, dainty, and honest. ‘Ashley Margaret’ preserves and pens intentional stories through bespoke calligraphy and design.
I am very proud to be a carpenters daughter where I learned the beauty of bringing something in my mind to life with my hands. My mom is an exceptional story teller, and I learned from her about the art of storytelling. I was born and raised in New England (just south of Boston, MA) and I will always be a northerner at heart. I married my best friend, Joshua Steven Craft, on July 2, 2016 in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and he is my greatest supporter and confidant. I studied public speaking in college, and I believe that we should each tell a great story with our one life. It would be my honor to pen and preserve your intentional stories!
SOME OF THE BIG AND LITTLE THINGS
Long walks and yoga
The smell of fresh sawdust
New England Architecture
Old wooden doors
Jujubes, and anything with coconut, toffee, caramel, or chocolate
Inviting people into our home
Dave Ramsey (I love his honesty, and his debt snowball has changed our life)
Law and Order: SVU (Olivia Benson is my spirit human)
Anything written by Charles Spurgeon and Maya Angelou
Christmas (I was born on December 23rd, and I came home on Christmas day in a stocking)
Joshua Steven Craft
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
My grandma Margaret was a woman I never got to meet, but I will carry her name forever with me. Everyone who knew her called her ‘Peggy’, and I have been told she was something fierce. My mom was only 16 when she passed away, and I never had the chance to meet the woman I got my creativity from. However, I feel like I know parts of who she was by how I have watched my mom live her life. My mom was only born with one arm, and she had every single reason in the world to make excuses for her life. But she never did. There was not one thing she couldn’t do. Growing up, I watched her break through any expectations people would put on her, even when the deck was completely stacked against her. The only time she would use her prosthetic would be when she would sew…and she was an exceptional seamstress. The thing that I remember most about her growing up though was her confidence, and because of that confidence, people never saw her missing arm. She would have friends who would know her for months, sometimes even years, and one day, it would just finally dawn on them that she only had one arm. They would get silent, and then look at her and say, “Where is your arm?!” She would always respond, “I have never had one; I was born like this.” She never lived handicapped, and because of that, no one ever saw her that way. As I look back, my mom never sat down and taught me confidence, or how to overcome, or how to persevere when life got hard; she LIVED it. And in living it, I learned those great lessons as I grew into a woman.
But, if I am being honest, despite all I was taught from her, I just ALWAYS thought I would get married young, have children right away, and be a stay at home mom for the rest of my life. How hilarious is the Lord that I sit here now, 29 years young, married, no kids, working full time in corporate America AND running a small business?
I think it is particularly hilarious because as I grew in the business world, you know what I realized? I am REALLY good at this. As I have learned more and more about my strengths, my giftings, my talents, and my passions, I saw that if all had gone according to my plan, I would have missed out on so much joy because I love with all my heart what I do at ‘Ashley Margaret’.
I have always been intrigued by small business ownership, as I grew up watching my dad run his own small business as a home builder and carpenter. Although I will never be a carpenter, the Lord has given me the gift of calligraphy, and I love the picture in my mind of carrying on his legacy from my heart through my dip pen. In the spring of 2015, I attended my first in-home dip pen calligraphy workshop by a sweet fellow calligrapher in Louisville, KY. I don’t say this often, but I fell in love from the first stroke. I soaked up every ounce of knowledge, and then, started practicing every moment I got. I want to sit here and tell you that this business was started with perfect planning and a perfect launch day and plan, but it was so far from that. My husband and I started our debt free journey on February 17, 2017, and as we looked at the mountain of debt we had to climb, we also looked at the ways we could each bring in extra money. I knew that with how demanding my full-time job was, I needed to hustle at something I LOVED…and so ‘Letter and Knot Co’ was born, the original name of ‘Ashley Margaret’!
My husband and I decided on the name and the business idea in our first home basement, while eating chips and salsa (Because we were broke, indebted newlyweds, and chips and salsa was what we could afford), all while watching Netflix. Gosh, it sounds so unglamorous and thrown together…and it WAS! Overtime, I have learned good, healthy practices in how to run a business, and in how to be intentional with everything I do, even if it means growing slow and growing well. I am so grateful for my time as ‘Letter and Knot Co’, but as my business grew, my talents grew, and my vision for this business became clearer. In December of 2018, I knew it was time to change my entire business to reflect who I am today, and where I envision this business going…and I have NEVER looked back, except to be continually inspired by the life of Grandma Margaret, my dad Mark, and my mom.
I hope that no matter WHAT you do, that this small story inspires you to start where you are, grow imperfectly, never forget your roots and those who have invested their life into you, and to remember that great things take time. The best is today AND to come, and I cannot wait to grow this business I love into something bigger than I ever imagined as I carry on the legacy of creative small business ownership in my family tree. I hope I ALWAYS continue to surprise myself with where I go and what I do…and you know what…
I hope you continue to surprise yourself too!