Career Spotlight: Ashley Dodgen McCormick (C'05)

Ashley Dodgen McCormick

Founder and Designer, ASHA by ADM

Describe your current profession.

I am the CEO & creative director of the jewelry company, ASHA, which I founded while a student at Georgetown.

Tell us about your creative process. How does one of your jewels go from idea to product?

I love to weave travel into my brand story and use the culture, art and architecture as a reference point for my collections. I traveled to Marrakech last spring to find inspiration for my spring collection. Marrakech is an incredible city – its mix of cultures, vibrant colors and incredible scents that line the air are intoxicating. I brought my mother with me, and we explored the Medina (the old walled city) for three full days and found exquisite textiles, pottery, intricate inlaid bone-work -- not to mention lots of ancient Berber jewelry. The Islamic architecture with its curved arches and pointed quatrefoils as well as the impressive mosaics in some of the historic Riads were hugely inspiring.

What has been the most challenging or rewarding moment in your career?

The most rewarding experience has been inspiring young girls to follow their passions and start their own businesses. I spoke to the middle school at Greenwich Academy (my other alma mater) on entrepreneurship and was touched to hear back from many of the students requesting summer internships despite their young age - and some are even starting to make their own jewelry.

What are your tips for fellow writers, artists, etc. who are having trouble finding inspiration?

Find your true passion – your story – and the inspiration will come easily.

Who do you consider to be your influencers?

In terms of business acumen I look to Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch, who have built fashion empires with a singular vision. I’m also intrigued by direct/online business success stories like Warby Parker. In terms of creative design, I am inspired by master jewelers like Verdura and David Webb.

What do you consider to be the most useful piece of career advice you ever received?

Do you what you love and work hard at it.

How do you think your time at Georgetown affected your professional ambitions?

Studying art history & my junior abroad in Paris and Florence (Villa le Balze) was the creative starting point for ASHA. That year of travel and exposure to so much incredible art and architecture propelled my wanderlust and creative thirst – and, thereby, my entrepreneurial ambition. While in Paris I met the head of Fine Jewelry for Chanel – Lorenz Baumer – and he graciously helped me get started with an atelier near Place Vendome. During my senior year at Georgetown I found production, started landing accounts like Henri Bendel, Saks & Calypso and the rest is history. It’s been ten years and I feel like I’ve only just gotten started.

Anything else you would like to add?

To learn more about my work, visit my website at www.ashabyadm.com or follow me on Instagram (@ashabyadm).