A Doctor Told Ashley Alderson Three Words No One Wants to Hear. But It Was the Advice He Shared Next That Forever Changed Her Life.
How a shift in perspective shaped the future for this retail entrepreneur and cancer survivor
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Ashley Alderson, founder of The Boutique Hub, a platform connecting the global boutique retail industry. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
Ashley Alderson: My dad was the greatest guy and the hardest worker I know. He would give anyone the shirt off his back, always meant what he said, and had a zest for life. He was a jokester who taught my five siblings and me that we could do anything we set our minds to — if we weren’t afraid of hard work.
We grew up on a ranch where hard work, your word, and integrity means everything. This culture within agriculture is so important yet sometimes rare today. Be fair, kind, and generous with others. Your word is all that matters.
What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Ashley Alderson: Spotting gap opportunities, whether it’s a shift in the market, missing marketing juice, how small ideas can build a grand plan, or how one person’s talent can build a thriving empire. I love finding new ways for others to grow their dreams by spotting what’s right in front of them that they may not see.
What are the core values that guide your business, and why did you pick them?
Ashley Alderson: “Community over competition” is our guiding community principal. We believe that when we work together, there are more opportunities for everyone. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, businesses can grow most when they collaborate.
As a company, integrity is at the core of everything we do. We mean what we say, under-promise and over-deliver, treat others as we want to be treated, and look for the good in all situations. We are on a mission to change lives by giving people the tools to transform their businesses.
What did you learn from your favorite mentor?
Ashley Alderson: A mentor once asked me, “Are you the bottleneck of your business? Are you the CEO who can delegate and create boundaries in your life — or the solopreneur who tries to hustle and do it all?”
A business can’t scale with one person at the helm. I learned this when our company was growing, and I felt like there was too much to do and not enough time to do it, especially as a mom with a young family.
Since then, I’ve created boundaries, and I carve out quality time to enjoy time with my family and connect with our community. I challenge myself daily to focus on the 20% of my tasks that will get 80% of the results.
What was your biggest challenge starting in business? How did you overcome it?
Ashley Alderson: I wish I would’ve learned sooner the value of the MVP, or minimum viable product. In school, we’re told that we need to create an elaborate business plan and build the complete product before releasing it to the public. But in reality, you need to test your product immediately to validate if people even need it before you drain your savings.
Our first product didn’t work, but as we tested and pivoted, we found what did. The Boutique Hub is an evolution of that. Accept failures as opportunities for new and better outcomes than what you’ve planned.
How do you define great leadership?
Ashley Alderson: The greatest leader in history, Jesus, taught us that we are called to live as servant leaders. He taught us not to lead with just our words or in glory from the front of the room, but with bold action from the trenches, serving others with their needs at the forefront.
Many people want to lead, but few will put in the work it takes to humble themselves and lead. Great leaders listen and show empathy. They are forged in the moments that few people see.
How do you hire top talent?
Ashley Alderson: Early on, someone once told me to get the right people on the bus, and you can always change seats later. With each new hire, the scope of work is broad, but everything from the application questions to the interview revolves around culture fit with our team. Skills can be taught and roles can be shared, but culture is critical to our mission. We look for bright, creative thinkers who are motivated by impact.
How do you prevent burnout?
Ashley Alderson: As a mom of kids who are busy with sports, I’ve learned to create clear boundaries around my time so I can enjoy those family moments. Our kids are only young for so long, and I’m very deliberate about being present. We spend time riding horses, golfing, playing baseball, and just having dance parties at home.
I use time blocking and set days to accomplish critical business functions. I also start each day by focusing on my biggest tasks first, leaving emails until last, so I don’t get trapped by my inbox.
What are you working on right now?
Ashley Alderson: With so much change happening in retail, including the growth of independent retail, we are reimagining how retailers discover and shop wholesale. We provide leading education to help owners run successful businesses and stock quality products that fit their customers. Through collaboration and omnichannel relationships, we’re building the future of wholesale discovery at The Boutique Hub.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Ashley Alderson: Since I was young, I’ve always felt like I was called to help others and to be and do something different with my life. In 2006, I heard the words that no one wants to hear: “You have cancer.”
While everyone around me was in shock, one doctor’s words forever changed me. He told me that my attitude and outlook would be just as important as chemotherapy. I learned to shift my focus and realized that I’m the only one who can determine how I feel.
This encouraged me to spend my life teaching others to do the same. My wish is that by going all out with transparency, my journey will inspire others. I hope that I’ve lived that mission with integrity by doing what
I say I will, saying what I mean, and truly changing lives through the businesses and projects I touch.
The words and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee alone. What worked for them may not work for everyone. Any claims in this article have not been independently verified.
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