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Exploring Life & Business with Ashley Woodcock of American June

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Woodcock.

Hi Ashley, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’m just an American girl with a love for Tom Petty and my 2 year old daughter, Riley June. I got my body back the way I want it, opened a boutique/event space in downtown Austin and am going to prove to myself and the world that you can build your empire at any stage. I’m not afraid to be bold and wear what I want, yet I also have multiple degrees and am smart as hell which many don’t give me credit for because of the way I look. I want to break every “rule”, make people feel comfortable in their own skin and find something they love at American June during an experience that makes them happy and thriving. Born in Philly, partied in LA and landed here in Austin, I’m a fierce Gemini with a lot to say and a whole lotta love to give. So here’s my story…

At my wedding, my maid of honor gave me the greatest compliment I’ve ever received. In her speech, she told our guests that one thing to know about me is that I am fiercely loyal. This loyalty shows itself in the extreme dedication I give to my work, the love I give to my family and friends and the confidence I give to myself in knowing that I can achieve the goals I set while encouraging the people around me to do the same. I have carried myself in a very gracious and disciplined way throughout my career and will be forever thankful for the opportunities that I have been granted. I was fortunate to build a strong educational background at Villanova University and understand the foundation of business. However, there was another side of me that I did not get to explore there; a creativity of which I was itching to scratch the surface. Thus, at 23 years old, I went against all my better judgements (and my Dad’s wishes), and resigned from the prestigious Big Four accounting firm where I worked. That’s when I drove from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to go back to school for fashion.

I put myself through FIDM working styling jobs, runways shows and spending late nights managing a local sports bar. I even embraced the spirit of entrepreneurship when I started a runway production company, but when my partner left and I was forced to dissolve our LLC, I needed a fresh start. That is how I found myself working as Director, Finance & Operations of a technology company for nearly six years – I guess my Dad was right to encourage the business degree after-all!

While my time at the technology company was rewarding, it has always been a goal of mine to get back into the Fashion industry and find the right place to bring my personality and experience. Fast forward to 2018 and I find myself in Austin, TX, laid off during a global pandemic with a newborn. After my daughter was born, I suffered from extreme postpartum anxiety and knew that I had to get back to work – not just for me but for my daughter as well. So I asked myself, why the hell did I work in Finance when I hated it? Oh yea – to make money and save money. And good thing I did because I invested it all in American June. Located in the heart of Austin, American June is not a store, we’re a destination. We are a vibe. We are a safe space, we are uniquely weird, and we are 100% authentic. Haters gonna hate but there’s nothing but love over here. We support all and encourage uniqueness and diversity. By carrying a diverse portfolio, our hope is that mothers, daughters, young professionals and students alike can all shop together and find something at AJ that inspires their wardrobe. We’re all about bringing people together through fashion and embracing who we are, whatever our changing moods may bring. Most importantly, we want to send all the good vibes. American June is for everyone. No pronouns necessary, no amount of trauma too deep, we love all of our babes and they come in all colors, shapes, genders, ages and sizes. We have one rule at AJ – leave judgment at the door.

American June now presents our brand new podcast. She’s a good girl which embraces real talk without barriers as we level our way through discriminations that we won’t allow to define us. She’s a good girl contains a series of conversations hitting fashion, mental health, self-love and diversification with a raw and fearless good girl. Episodes releasing starting March 31, 2022. Our good girls go to heaven by bringing their bad girls with them xx @shopamericanjune @shesagoodgirl_aj

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Outside of the obvious financial strains that a new business (that opened during Covid) in the retail industry faces, there are three main challenges that are top of mind.

1) Austin is changing – for the good, the bad and the ugly at times. What I mean by this is if you ask someone what South Congress looked like three years ago, they would say local shops and boutiques with unique and eclectic items. And while some are still hanging on, we now have to compete with the likes of Hermes, Reformation, and Aviator Nation. Not only do we want to be able to still “keep Austin weird” but we also want local business owners to be able to afford the increasing rent.

2) American June is for EVERYONE – but getting the word out on that can be challenging. We have a big lips logo that is definitely in your face, and with splashes of hot pink and pop art covering the walls, this is definitely a vibey place and sometimes it’s hard to get people through the door. However, once they do, we are able to show them that we don’t just carry mesh shirts and bodycons, we also have cardigan sets and denim overalls. And to be brutally honest – no matter how many promo cards I hand out, posts I do on social, it’s extremely hard to get the word out. We’re here Austin!

3) Enforcing that this is a judgement-free zone.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about American June?
1. Styling: While my FIDM degree is in Fashion Design, I spent most of my Fashion career as a stylist which I absolutely love to do! No offense to Stitch Fix, but in my world, Fashion isn’t an algorithm. I not only consider someone’s body type, etc., but I feel their energy, I get a taste of their vibe and I can pick out pieces that look amazing on them but they would have never picked out. It actually just happened with the last client that came through the door as I write this. Because of this, I do personal styling for free. If you’re local, you can make an appointment to come in and I can either have a preprepared rack for you or we can get to know each other so I can learn your style. For clients outside of our area, they can DM with questions, sizing, additional pictures or ask for suggestions based on an upcoming life event.

2. Mary Jane’s Playhouse: Mary Jane’s Playhouse is our super fun event space in our backyard. With a covered patio painted rainbow and matching pop-up bar, it’s perfect for any intimate outdoor event. Featuring happy rainbow colors, a stage (w/ outdoor electrical), picnic tables, and even a runway. The covered deck is a bonus to help stay cool in the Texas heat. We’ve hosted concerts, speaking panels, vendor pop-up markets, runways shows and we also rent out the space for others to use as well (i.e., music videos, short films, company happy hours, etc.).

3. Shop Local: We are all about supporting the local artisans in the community and want to offer them just as much of an opportunity as we have been afforded. This is why we work with Shelfleet, a company that partners us with locals that can’t afford their own space so that we can rent out shelves and rack space to them from within our store. I also allow local artists to hang their artwork on the walls at no charge (as long as it agrees without vibe).

4. Podcast: We just launched our brand new podcast called She’s a good girl. Check it out on our website, Spotify, Deezer and more!

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Two local groups come to mind:

(1) The Austin Business Woman Network

(2) Cool Grls Crew

I’ve had a positive experience meeting and networking within both of those groups. Personally, I am always more than willing to take on interns or mentees. The more we can knowledge share the better!

Pricing:

  • Dresses: $45-$80
  • Tops: $25-$50
  • Bottoms: $45-$70
  • Accessories: $15-$70

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Photographer: Jorge Montemayor Stylists/AJ Employees: Aimee Contreras, Maleah Piedra Models: Ashley Woodcock, Hope Elizabeth, Lauryn Edgerton Glam: Joshua Anthony Muralist: Michael Peschka

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