Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Ruff.
Hi Ashley, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
After getting my dream job straight out of college, I was gracious enough to be able to work at South Carolina Magazine in Greenville, SC as the art director. There, I was in charge of photographing most of the images for the articles as well as design, layout, and article management and overseeing the magazine.
Unfortunately, the magazine folded as many print publications have, and I began working for a marketing company where I directed a creative development team and managed 15 commercial accounts through art direction, design, and photography.
After a few years of working under someone and having multiple health issues from being overworked, I decided it was time I controlled my schedule. I began working for myself in 2009, and went full time in 2014, and haven’t looked back since.
In the 13 years, I’ve owned my business, I have moved across the state, to different states, and started and developed several other entities and passions through the lens of my company. Today, I work at home with the luxury of staying at home with our two little girls.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s been a mostly smooth road. I’ve invested in a few other businesses and events that I had thought would be a huge success that was not, but thankfully it projected me into where my business is today.
The biggest struggle I have had is restarting my business and making connections in each area where I’ve lived. It’s pretty easy to start back again because most clients are online, but meeting new faces is always my favorite.
I love to network and it’s been challenging to find where I fit in in the different cities.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a custom graphic designer and lifestyle photographer. I have several different realms within what I do, but the main aspect of my design work is creating a brand design for clients and businesses, from logos to websites and print material and beyond.
I also design wedding and event stationery for clients looking to have a dream stationery art piece that has custom fine art included, such as my watercolor or illustrations. I still take on several marketing clients and design whatever they need for the digital aspect as well as a print if need be.
Regarding photography, I photograph products for clients who need branding photography and have a large clientele of lifestyle photography sessions that I complete each year. Most of these are returning families so they are children and couples or a combination and I shoot during the cooler months of the year.
I am known for fine art, hand-lettering, calligraphy, and stationery design as well as branding and photography. I think what sets me apart from others is that I have a fine art degree. So I have multiple levels of design in each piece and I don’t purchase stock photography or digital images, I draw or create them myself.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Patience. It takes time to build a clientele, and it also takes wisdom to know how to work with people and manage a business.
It didn’t come easy or naturally, just with time. I have learned what type of people I like to work with and how I like to work with them.
I wish starting out I would have gotten a mentor to help me with all of the logistics of running a business.
- Lifestyle Photography: Starts at $350
- Wedding Stationery Design: Starts at $1250
- Business Branding: Starts at $775
- Custom Painting: Starts at $250
- Website: Www.image2impact.com
- Instagram: @Ashleyruff_art and @imagetoimpact_photography
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/imagetoimpact
Image to Impact