FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — For entrepreneur Ashley Turley, managing businesses is a skill that runs in the family.
Turley caught the entrepreneur bug around age 8, when she accompanied her grandfather to help with his various businesses.
Later, in middle school and early high school, Turley helped out on the weekends at a scrapbook store in Norcross called Best of Times, run by her mother and her mother’s eight sisters.
“I think I’ve always had an itch to do something on my own, because I grew up in an entrepreneurial-spirited family,” Turley said.
Turley grew up in Suwanee, first attending South Forsyth High School, where she dated her future husband, Chris, for a month before switching to Forsyth Central High School. The pair didn’t cross paths for another six or seven years after high school, but eventually got married and had three kids.
While in college at Southern Utah University and later Utah Valley University, Turley embarked on her first solo business venture, designing a line of kids’ swimwear. Later in her college years, Turley created a shaved ice business which she operated in Georgia and Florida.
Turley runs her current business, Whimsy Timber, with Chris. Launched in 2015, Whimsy Timber features customizable wooden home decor, crafted in a warehouse in Buford.
Turley had worked in decor for other companies, but desired to create something big box stores didn’t offer.
“We wanted to take it another step forward with personalization and customization options,” Turley said.
The Turley’s started offering flash sales for their most popular products, which helped to jump-start their decor company.
In May, the Turley’s launched Whimsy Wedding Box, a spin-off product line of Whimsy Timber offering personalized wedding decorations.
“We created a hashtag and a custom date, and it flew off the shelves,” Turley said. “We really thought there was a place for more of these types of items, where the bride, the bridesmaids, everyone can get involved and create their own pieces and make them their exact color and shape.”
The Turleys then came up with the idea to reward loyal customers while also giving back to the community.
Each month, the Whimsy Wedding Box crew will browse social media for pictures featuring the website’s products and choose a bride to feature as a “princess.” Next May, customers can vote for their favorite photo, and a May Queen will be crowned. The winner will receive a weekend bed and breakfast getaway, and Whimsy Wedding Box will choose a charity to donate to through the Whimsy Wishes Charity.
For the future of Whimsy Timber, Turley said she hopes to strengthen several product lines.
“I do want to get more refined in kid decor and weddings. We want to make each of the areas that we’re in stronger.”
“We’re both part of the environments where our families loved (running businesses),” Chris said. “We see this as a way to grow and keep our options open as far as any other businesses or opportunities that might present themselves along the way. I think our goal would be to grow this and have a bigger team.”
Turley said she could see one of her kids becoming an entrepreneur as well.
“Our oldest daughter is 6 years old, and she’ll come down to the office and help out for an hour here or there,” Turley said.
Turley appreciates the flexibility of owning her own business. She listed a few other aspects as her favorite parts of being an entrepreneur, such as being her own boss and using her creative ideas.
“I really didn’t ever see another way for myself, mostly because of how I grew up,” Turley said.
For more information on how to enter the May Queen photo contest, go to https://whimsyweddingbox.com/pages/page.