As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashli Pollard.
Ashli Pollard is the Founder and leader of Team AP Consulting and the CEO and Founder of the first-morning routine kit on the market, Me Time. After ten years working in the cutthroat industry of the fashion industry in NYC, strategizing for brands like Prada, Rebecca Minkoff, Sam Edelman, Kendall + Kylie, Hunter Boots, and more, she is now working to help optimize, streamline and add ease to online businesses.
Team AP Consulting ended its first full year at multiple 6-figures and surpassed the $1M revenue mark in the beginning of 2022, with the expansion into working with celebrity talent, and major brands and opening new divisions. This is fully due to the marketing strategy Ashli brings from the corporate world, her decades of launch experience, and her fearlessness around failure (and without one dollar of fundraising).
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I’ve always loved the fashion industry, and even though I majored in Fashion Merchandising, I still wasn’t given enough of the industry insider info that I wanted at the midwest university I attended. So I would give myself homework all the time to better learn the industry. I wrote papers on the trends we saw on the runway or on the red carpet. I would create presentations on how Tavi Gevinson was changing the industry at the young age of 10 years old. I was creating mood boards and inspirational collages from magazines while studying the ad placement and how that potentially affected their mentions in a magazine.
I was so in love with all things fashion and ended up writing to the Editor in Chief of Seventeen (at the time Atoosa Rubenstein) and telling her that I was planning to take her job one day while asking her for advice. Lol, BOLD! She actually wrote me back with such great insight, and that gave me the permission I needed to leave my hometown, move to NYC, and give it a fair shot.
When and how did you get involved in the fashion industry?
Yes! I started in the fashion industry in 2011 as an intern at People’s Revolution and Oscar de la Renta, where I worked in PR while waiting for a full-time job role to open up for me. I got referred to Gucci Group, where I started in Wholesale and ended up loving it. I loved the analytics; I loved the relationship building, seeing new products, and contributing to the next line; it was all so exciting! Over time, my career expanded and took off, and I was lucky enough to work at places such as Prada, Rebecca Minkoff, Sam Edelman, Kendall + Kylie, and more. After my 10 years in the industry, I started my own consulting agency for female-led small businesses, where I’m super passionate, and now I’ve started my own product line, Me Time!
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I think my interest in fashion came honestly from being bullied, believe it or not. There’s something about being made into an outcast that either has you dying to fit in or embracing how you stand out, and I was very much the latter. I decided to find the weirdest, craziest, most off-the-wall things in any store and make them look my version of cool. I ended up being a trendsetter even though people would ridicule me at first for my funky jeans with wild embroidery, but over time, other people started to buy what I was wearing. It may not have been that I fell in love with fashion as much as I fell in love with expression, and the modality I chose was fashion.
What is your best and worst fashion moment?
Worst and Best have to be the same lol, 7th grade, these denim jeans were made from frayed denim square patches paired with a butterfly halter and butterfly clips in my hair (can you tell I was a 90s kid?). That or my head to toe Von Dutch, which should’ve been burned on the spot.
What does fashion mean to you?
A protective shield – something you wear that makes you feel most aligned with who you are and how you feel that day so you can walk into the world feeling powerful and confident.
What is your first fashion memory?
Christina Aguilera’s blonde + black hair with low-rise jeans. I lived for it.
Name your favorite fashion designers of all time?
Favorite: McQueen, Ghesquiere for Balenciaga, Christopher Kane, The Kooples, Zadig + Voltaire, Anine Bing
List some of your design influences, both past, and present.
My style used to be very rebellious + unique. If I had seen it before, I wouldn’t want it. I wanted to make ugly cool and weird into trendy. Now that I’m older, I crave my Steve-Jobs-Esque uniform of well-fit denim, a slouchy Elwood tee, a great Veronica Beard blazer, and my Hermes flats. Easy, timeless, well-made pieces.
Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?
I don’t love warm colors, but it’s my preference. I don’t want to judge anyone’s choices, though; to each their own.
What do you think about work ethics, and what kind of ethics you believe in following while working with fashion?
I think what we see lately on social media is a rise in anti-hustle culture, which to me is overworking your employees and yourself past the point of exhaustion, continually choosing work over your life, and I, too, think that you have to be smart as someone ambitious to ensure you have balance. I do also believe in the hustle. I believe in working really hard for those first few years of your career to network, make connections, open your own doors, learn a lot, and advocate for yourself while also understanding what a busy season / off season looks like in your industry, so you enjoy the slower times. My code of ethics with work is that every quarter I take 4-5 days off – which helps me ebb and flow through work. I plan it in advance as well so that I don’t fill up my schedule, and then I can’t really take off anymore. I also work around my own preferences as an entrepreneur. Me, I’m a night owl who loves my mornings. I prefer to work from 10 or 11 am until about 7 and then get some minutiae or fun stuff done while watching tv from 10pm-midnight. I don’t set the alarm; I naturally wake up any time between 6:30 am-8 am, and I have a workout and a shower; I make breakfast and move slowly through my morning. It’s the best.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Oh wow, I have absolutely no idea. If you asked me two years ago, I didn’t have an agency, my own business, and especially my own product line. I saw myself as the President of Sales for a major brand. Now? It’s tough; so much is unknown. I do see myself working – I’m ambitious, and I have a million ideas, so I would say doing more work that feels playful. I’d love to launch a cookbook.
How would you describe your personal style?
I definitely have a Steve Jobs uniform where I’m either in a sweatshirt and biker shorts or ripped jeans, a tee-shirt, and a blazer. When I feel like tapping back into my fashion roots, I would say I’m feminine with some kind of edge. Too girly for me needs some black combat boots or a chunky belt with a chain.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
Oh, an integral one! Ask anyone in New York where they get their most style inspo, and they’ll say the streets. Seeing people’s styles gives so many ideas (and also permission!) to play. Now for people in smaller towns or cities or not near a fashion-forward city, they too can experience street style by seeing what other people are styling for themselves that day.