Take Time For Self Care

With Ashley Rouse

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I’m Ashley, owner of Trade Street Jam Co. I’m a strong, confident, passionate, giving and selfless woman. I’m a wife to my biggest fan, motivator and friend.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Lately, I’m really resonating with something John Henry told me. “As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.” I’m alwayyyyys uncomfortable about some decision or thing in my business, so that kind of keeps me balanced.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
You are perfect, babygirl! Do you hear me?! Perfect. God, I wish I knew that then.
What is your greatest fear?
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I specifically remember the moment when I was planning to leave North Carolina and move to New York with my then boyfriend. I needed my boss to give me a recommendation for transfer. He said, “I’ve worked in New York before. It’s a tough market out there. I don’t think you’ll make it.” I can’t wait for that moment when he sees me on tv or my product in stores and really feels something in his gut.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
You’re beautiful. So are your love handles. And your stretch marks. And make-up does nothing for you because you look better without it. And skinny is not in. And be selfish–take time for self care. Naps are important, don’t feel guilty about them. It’s okay to sleep in sometimes. It’s okay to stand up for yourself. Be bossy. Be a bitch. It’s not a bad thing. You’re in charge!
What is it like to be a businesswoman?
What do you love most about yourself?
My growth and improvement over the years. The confidence I have in myself. My honesty and transparency. My eyes, because there’s so much behind them.
What motivates you most?
My mother and my husband.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I don’t, lol. Honestly, I’ve been working hard on taking care of myself, and it’s something that I think people feel guilty about doing. I take naps whenever I can. I sleep until 8am on most days. I color, I watch movies. I spend time with my husband every chance I get. Sometimes I just enjoy being in the room with him. His whole being keeps me balanced. I also spend as much time as possible being creative.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Pray and spend time with God.
Why did you start your company?
My 9 to 5 just wasn’t doing it for me!
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
My mother, because she’s the definition of a beautiful woman, inside and out. I don’t have enough space here to even begin to elaborate. She’s perfection to me, even in her imperfections.

More About Ashley

Ashley Rouse founded Trade Street Jam Co., a minority & woman-owned small batch jam company. Ashley, who’s been a chef for almost 15 years, created the name for the company in 2008 while living in an apartment on Trade Street in North Carolina. Now, some 10 years later, Ashley and her Brooklyn-based company create fruit forward and clean tasting vegan jams that are low in sugar and high in flavor. Her jams are best used in craft cocktails, BBQ sauces, glazes for meats or vegetables, baked goods, yogurt, overnight oats, salad dressings and more! She uses locally sourced produce, teaches jam classes to kids at low income schools and is working on an initiative to use residual jams to feed the less fortunate, in an effort to support her community wherever possible.

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