PHOTOS COURTESY OF ASHLEY ROSE CONWAY
Welcome to Flock & Gabble, Ashley! Tell us a little bit about you, and then tell us how you’d describe Craft + Cocktails to someone who’s never heard of it before.
Ashley: Craft + Cocktails is a destination for seasonally focused classic, original, and approachable cocktails. It’s a place where mixologists, budding at-home bartenders, and occasional imbibers can get recipes and inspiration mixed in with lots of fun. I also work with brands and blogs to create original recipes and images for their site, marketing, or social channels.
Is Craft + Cocktails your full-time job, side hustle, or hobby? What was/is your “other” career?
Ashley: It is my 3/4 time job, haha! It takes up most of my time, however, I also run a custom piñata company called Rose Paper Scissors, and I also manage a creative co-working/event space called Makeshift Society part-time. You can say I am a Jill-of-all-trades!
Which pieces of content are you most proud of, or would you want someone who’s new to your brand to check out first, and why?
THE ELDERFLOWER SPANISH GIN & TONIC This has been my most popular post by far! I think it’s because I took a familiar drink and made it fresh, new, and delicious. Plus, it is one pretty drink!
COCKTAILS WITH SFGIRLBYBAY Victoria is one of my friends, but when she asked me to do some posts for her, I think I may have squealed a bit! Victoria has been someone I have always looked up to and admired, even before I got into the blogging world. I was honored she wanted me to do a post for her a site, gave be full creative control and even let me get weird with this one. Moody, dark and Dutch Master still life inspired- it is one of my favorite and most extensive posts I have done so far.
It Was the Worst of Times: share your absolute lowest moment since starting Craft + Cocktails, and share how you overcame it. What would you say to someone who’s living their absolute lowest moment right now?
Ashley: This past December was my first holiday season freelancing. I had over-committed on projects (photoshoots, events, pinatas, bartending at parties, styling…) which resulted in me sleeping four hours a night, at most, for most of the month to try and get everything done. It was hard for me to totally focus on the project at hand, because I would be thinking of what I needed to work on next, hoping it would all pan out in the end. Low on energy, stress levels through the roof, and so much work mounded on my plate (AND trying to figure out how to do my taxes on top of that), I wanted to throw in the towel! Luckily I kept with it and got everything done. Phew!
The main thing that kept me going was the fact that I was doing work that I loved. Never ever do work that you are not totally committed to or your heart is not behind. Also, having a good support system is huge to get your through the lows and celebrate with you during the highs. My husband understood why I had to cancel any date nights that month, and stayed up with me while I worked on projects late into the evening. He also brought me wine when I couldn’t peel myself off of the couch! Editor’s note: good man. 🙌
It Was the Best of Times: tell us the most awesome, champagne-popping-est story of your journey so far.
Ashley: Without a doubt, my William’s Sonoma feature! Back in the fall, they reached out to have me not only do cocktail recipes to feature on their site, but they had me in their holiday catalog. They built out this gorgeous bar set to shoot me on, and I even had a hair and make-up person (can I have that everyday?!) You can see all my cocktail tips, tricks, and recipes here.
We loved your interview on Love + Victory – we especially loved how you credited your success to having the opportunity to learn from some incredible women running their own businesses. So, let’s play a game: pick a few of them, and for each, tell us one thing you learned from her + what cocktail she’d be and why.
Ashley: Rena Tom would be a glass of whiskey neat. No muss no fuss! Rena sticks to her guns and is one strong lady. She never waivers in her convictions, and she tells you how it is. It’s important to remain truthful to yourself, what you believe, and what you are passionate about. As someone owning a business, your business is very much a reflection of you. Staying true to who you are and not changing based on what’s perceived as popular will ensure your business remains authentic.
Erin Hiemstra is a woman of all trades and does it well — stylist, flawless fashionista, and social media guru, to name a few of her roles. She balances not only a large blog, but a full-time job, being a wife and new momma. And she does it all in such style! It’s nice to see you don’t have to compromise any one part of your life for another, you can have it all, it just takes a lot of hard work and a good pair of heels! Everyone on the team at the time actually came up with cocktails for themselves — Erin’s was a ginger & cucumber gin fizz!
Remain truthful to yourself, what you believe, and what you are passionate about. Your business is very much a reflection of you.
What app, tool, or other resource has had the biggest impact on Craft + Cocktails in the last year?
Ashley: Instagram, without a doubt! It has grown my business by putting my work out there where it is easily found. I have also made so many amazing connections (that sometimes have lead to work) I wouldn’t have otherwise made without the platform, whether in my city or with people around the world.
What hobby, activity, issue, cause, charity, or other organization are you super passionate about?
Ashley: My hobby? Eating and drinking! haha. On the weekends I love exploring, going hiking, taking a trip to the wine country, seeing a play, or going to a museum. I like to check out new things and not being from the west coast, there are so many things to learn about, see, and do for the first time here! I think experiencing something for the first time is harder as you get older, so I value the times that I get to do that.
What are your biggest, wildest dreams for Craft + Cocktails?
Ashley: I would love to do some style of cocktails on a film someday (is that a thing? I hope so!) I would love to create the cocktails for a fun event – I would not turn down the Met Ball! I also want to do some educational cocktail videos. I used to be a teacher, so I want to get back to teaching in a way. Also, I would LOVE to have my own book or two someday for sure. Let’s just say the sky is the limit over here, so I have lots of lofty goals!
Name three women who you think are totally killing it online.
Katey Yurko and Cynthia Linh, The Violet Fog I love what the ladies at The Violet Fog are doing! Katey and Cynthia have an online publication with smart and interesting articles for women with a focus on the Bay area.
Amanda Frederickson, A Life Well Lived Amanda is recipe developer and blogger. She works with William Sonoma and has her own blog where she creates food that is equally delicious and beautiful. She is also one of the nicest people you will meet!
Victoria Smith, sfgirlbybay She is without a doubt one of the most genuine, humble, sweet, and down to earth people I have ever met, even with running one of the most well known lifestyle blogs out there. I have worked with her a few times along with hanging out on non-work occasions – I am lucky to know such an inspiring and lovely person! The beauty she puts into the world is only a reflection of her own.