31 Days of Dreamers & Doers | Ashley Knox
Say hello to Ashley Knox, Founder of Identity By Design Mag.
Identity by Design is a platform celebrating creative identities through Art, Culture and Technology. Raising the awareness of artistic culture and innovative thinking in the urban community through collaboration, events and exposure; Identity by Design provides an outlet of expression for ALL artists and free thinkers; a platform dedicated to those who Dream AND Do.
AK: The idea is to continuously raise awareness of the hidden gems in this city that so many unfortunately are not privy to. I want to help awareness of the talent around me not just by simply posting them on a website/platform, but by interacting with these creatives and entrepreneurs. Me personally, I get a lot more motivated and interested in a business/product/service when I see it in action. Not just reading about something, but being able to indirectly or directly experience it.
AK: Identity by Design is first focused on collaboration, content creation and exposure. Development, guidance/direction, and production follow. Being able to help someone see a vision through is extremely fulfilling. There are so many people who simply need a nudge in the right direction or to hear that they can actually do that big idea they think is crazy. People need motivation.
What is your earliest memory being involved in your business?
Years ago, I worked at a Coach store back when I lived in California. While I was there, I stumbled upon one of the coolest look-books I'd seen. It wasn't just pictures of the clothing on nameless models, the look-book also had these cool stories about the models. The look-book inspired me to want to make what I then called a 'Cool Book' of people in Omaha. Artists, business owners, innovative thinkers who were doing cool things were going to go in the book, almost scrapbook style. In between then and now, I started out booking local artists photoshoots, that went on to writing press releases, building websites and I decided I wanted to know as much as I could in the field. That original idea morphed probably 50-leven times before actually being launched as Identity by Design in 2015.
What makes you so passionate about this lane?
I am in love with seeing people grow. I think so much about what could've helped me when I was younger or how I could've propelled my ideas forward faster or stronger if I had certain influences or mentors around me. I also think a lot of the millions of times that I felt like I couldn't do an idea that was 'too crazy' or just simply wouldn't work because there didn't seem a real need for it. Again, people just need a little motivation sometimes. I just want to help people feel and know that they can really do anything they put their mind to if they really believe in it. Coming up with strategies, timelines, projects, etc to make those goals happen is they way I attempt to be that motivation. And not to get too deep, but having a goal or dream to live and work for/towards can truly be the difference in a person feeling useless in the world opposed to waking up everyday feeling motivated. I know that from experience and I think that's why I care so much.
AK: My journey was tough, and I think it's important that I say - I HELPED MAKE IT TOUGH. I didn't believe in myself or love myself enough to push myself into action behind these ideas that I thought were amazing. I had a lot of self doubt and I'm the worst kind of perfectionist. I didn't finish a lot of things, because I simply couldn't decide what I wanted to do or what was important, etc. I also gave way, way too much of my time away to other's ideas (something I'm always working on). Of course it always ok to help others, but you simply can't forget to help yourself. I blamed a lot of things around me and if I was justified in some of that, I wasn't making sure that I was holding up my own end of responsibilities. Lessons upon lessons. I had to work on me personally to get things going. Not caring so much if people were paying attention or if I was doing it 'right enough'. I learned that if I continue to do these things because I love them/it, I'd be happy in the end regardless and hopefully on the way, I helped a few folks.
AK: I will say that I absolutely pictured myself in this position ten years ago, doing something in this field. I see myself still going a lot further. This is still only the beginning.
How do you hope people feel after working with you?
I honestly hope that they feel like they can do anything in the world. That all it takes is a little faith and hard work. I hope they feel more knowledgeable than when we met. One important thing, I hope that they've gained clarity afterwards. That is one of my goals, to help with vision and organization. It is so, sooooo hard to function with a cloudy head!!!
STILL LEARNING THIS! (LOL)
AK: I think the highlights of my career are still to come for the most part, but simply launching IxD will always be a highlight. I feel like I sat on it for so long before doing so. Randomly enough, this 31 Days Segment is also a highlight. It is something that I have finished from beginning to end, the way that wanted to do it. Sometimes it's the small W's.
Being invited to speak at a youth symposium put on by Jermaine Ballard was an absolute highlight. That made me feel good to know someone, if only one person, had been watching and thought what I was doing was enough to talk to groups of young kids. That was also a highlight because I was able to see so many kids that were asking for a certain type of creative direction they felt they didn't have access to and it's something that I want to be able to help provide in one way or another. Makes you feel you're on the right path.
Anything you'd go back and change?
I would honestly go back and change a lot. I wouldn't be so hesitant. I wouldn't have doubted myself so much or been 'afraid to be great', as a friend once told me. I'd have started every thing sooner. And a really big thing that I would change is, I would've tried a lot harder to find a mentor. So important.
Like many have said before me, Just. Do. IT. Just do it. If you believe in it, then do it. What's the worse that can happen, you try and idea and it fails? You just try the next one after.
Build a strong support system!!! This is imperative. You cannot do it alone. No one does it alone, that's not how it works. You will save a lot of time if you learn that early.
Most importantly , believe in yourself and love yourself. You cannot forget to give yourself just as much attention as you give others.